BY HILLARY ANDERSON
Guest blogger at ThinkProgress
As Americans scramble to complete their taxes this week, a report released today finds that the federal government funnels nearly $300 billion in taxpayer dollars to businesses in states where it’s perfectly legal to discriminate against LGBT workers. Although nine in ten Americans mistakenly believe that it is already illegal to fire someone simply for being LGBT, there is still surprisingly no federal law to protect LGBT workers from employment discrimination due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. To date, only 21 states and the District of Columbia have laws that explicitly prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Sixteen states of those states have employment nondiscrimination laws that alsoexplicitly cover gender identity. This means that in the vast majority of states, LGBT people have no legal protection from bias, harassment or discrimination on the job.
According to the report, in 2012 alone the federal government awarded $293 billion to contractors in states that have no state-level protections for gender identity/expression in the workplace, with $249 billion of that total going to states that also have no protections for sexual orientation. Anywhere from 15 to 43 percent of gay, lesbian, and bisexual people have experienced discrimination and harassment on the job. Even worse, a staggering ninety percent of transgender and gender non-conforming employees report have experienced harassment, mistreatment or discrimination on the job, or had to hide who they are to avoid it.
Read more at ThinkProgress.org
Hillary Anderson is an intern with the Center for American Progress.