Study: 55% of Americans OK with Gay, Lesbian, and Trans Coworkers

Most don’t care about sexuality and gender expression at work

A new survey timed to coincide with Pride shows when it comes to working with people who are lesbian, gay, and trans, most Americans say, “So what?”

Bospar Public Relations and market research firm Propeller Insights polled 1,010 U.S. consumers aged 18 and over in a five-day period in April. Fifty-five percent of those surveyed expressed no preference about their coworkers’ sexuality or gender expression.

“This is an amazing milestone,” Bospar executive Curtis Sparrer told NewNowNext in a statement. “I remember coworkers citing my sexuality [in the 1990s] as a reason why I shouldn’t be hired or promoted.”

The results bucked generally accepted belief that younger generations are the most accepting of coworkers who are gay and lesbian and trans. According to Bospar, people 75 and older outranked Generation X and Millennials as the age group most likely to not care about their colleagues’ sexuality or gender expression, although by only a few points: Gen X (35 to 54-years-old) at 59.%, Millennials (18 to 34-years-old) at 56.7%. Baby Boomers were the least accepting, with 47.9% saying they had no preference, compared to 60% for older Americans.

Parents scored highest in terms of having no preference, along with Latinos, the highly educated, wealthy, and Democratic voters. But Gabrielle Ferdman-Ayala of Propeller Insights said younger Republicans are more queer-friendly than older, perhaps pointing to a generational shift. “Just under 50% of millennial Republicans say they have no preference about with whom they work, while their political elders collectively fall below 40%.”

Getty

The firm responsible admitted to an omission in specifically excluding bisexual Americans from their survey. “We should have included them but unfortunately did not,” said Sparrer. “That was an oversight on our part and definitely something we will do for our next survey!”

The result that will be most disappointing for transgender Americans is how they fared compared to lesbians and gays: only 4.7% said they’d prefer to work with trans men, and 4.6% said trans women—at the very bottom of the preference list. Gay men scored more than double that level of acceptance at 9.8%, with lesbians at 8%. Straight men and women coworkers were preferred by more than 31% of respondents.

“I think it shows that we have a long way to, especially with the trans community. When I looked at the data it seemed to suggest that people wanted to work with people like themselves, which would explain why straight men and women did so well—since they are a majority of the country’s population.”

There are currently only 21 states with laws prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination against employees in private or public employment, and in 29 states, there is no state law prohibiting discrimination against LGBT people in private employment, according to the Movement Advancement Project. Two cases now before the U.S. Supreme Court could advance LGBTQ rights if the high court rules that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits sexual orientation discrimination and that sex discrimination applies to gender expression as well.

Mallory, whose real name has been changed to protect her identity, told NewNowNext in an online chat on Facebook that she was fired from a job in Southern California after disclosing she was trans. “I came out to my executives at my work last year and I was fired two days later.”

Getty
According to Out & Equal’s 2017 statistics, the transgender discrimination rate is three times higher than the national average. More than one in four trans Americans who held a job reported being fired, not hired, or denied a promotion within the last year because of their gender identity.

Alex L, who asked NewNowNext to not disclose his last name, is optimistic about the future, however. He is a trans man and the CEO of a startup who came out to former colleagues he recruited, since they only knew him as a female.

“’This is who and what I am,’” Alex recalled telling them. And the result? Each one, he said, has been “completely embracing, affirming and supportive.”

Ferdman-Ayala said the survey’s margin for error was +/- 3 percentage points.

Getty

Writer, producer and public speaker Dawn Ennis was the first out trans journalist in TV network news. A widow raising three children, she's the subject of the documentary "Before Dawn/After Don." You can find her on YouTube, Twitter and LifeAfterDawn.com.