101 Statistics Reflecting LGBTQ Workplace Discrimination [2024]

January 15, 2024 0 Comments

What is LGBTQ?

LGBTQ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning. 

In the 1950s, around 90% of LGBTQ individuals hid their identity at work due to discrimination. 

Legal protections have improved, yet bias against LGBTQ people remains in workplaces.

Today, about 46% of LGBTQ individuals still hide their identity at work, showing some progress but ongoing challenges.

To ensure equal rights, more openness, education, and strict policy enforcement are crucial.

Let’s take a look into the current state of LGBTQ experiences in the workplace.

36% of LGBTQ staff face workplace discrimination, hurting finances

Top LGBT Workplace Discrimination Statistics: Editor’s Pick

  1. 36% of transgender employees reported a much higher rate of discrimination. [1]
  2. LGBTQ+ workers earn $0.90 versus straight workers’ $1.00. [2]
  3. 50% of LGBTQ+ women hear sexist comments or jokes about their gender at work. [3]
  4. Nearly half of the 8.1 million LGBTQ+ workers in the US live in states without protections against age discrimination. [4]
  5. Improving inclusion for transgender workers could increase consumer spending by $12 billion per year. [5]
  6. The banking and finance industry is ranked the most LGBTQ+ friendly. [6]
  7. 67.5% LGBTQ workers hear negative LGBTQ comments at work. [7]

LGBTQ Demographics: Who’s Likely to Experience Discrimination at Work?

Do discriminatory practices still undermine LGBTQ+ employees?

Unfortunately, yes – over 20% in the EU report workplace bias based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Recent studies illuminate concerning trends in biased treatment based on gender, race, age, and other factors.

Here’s what we meant:

Gender Discrimination

within the EU, 19% of LGBT men and 21% of women encountered workplace discrimination


  • 50% of LGBTQ+ women hear sexist comments or jokes about their gender at work – 1.5 times more than straight women and 2.6 times more than LGBTQ+ men.
  • Over 50% of LGBTQ+ women report experiencing sexual harassment during their career – 1.4 times more than straight women and 1.9 times more than LGBTQ+ men. [3]
  • LGBTQ+ women are almost twice as likely as straight women and male LGBTQ+ people to feel pressured to go along with sexual discussions, humor, or actions at work. [3]

Discrimination by Race and Ethnicity

27% of LGBTQ employees of color and those with disabilities faced discrimination at work in the US

Discrimination also widely affects LGBTQ+ people of color.

Furthermore, 29% of LGBTQ+ people of color experienced hiring discrimination based on orientation or identity, compared to 18% of white LGBTQ+ people. [1]

Discrimination by Religion

Among employees who encountered discrimination or harassment in their lives:

  • Religion motivated 63.5% of discriminated minority LGBTQ staff
  • Whereas 49.4% of white LGBTQ+ employees cited the same reason [8]

Discrimination by Age

Age is another factor, with nearly half of the 8.1 million LGBTQ+ workers in the US living in states without protections against age discrimination. [4]

How Much is the Wage Gap Among LGBT?

Do LGBTQ+ workers receive equal pay?

The data reveals a troubling wage gap.

An HRC Foundation study of nearly 7,000 full-time LGBTQ+ employees found they earn a median of $900 per week – just 90% of the $1,001 median weekly wage for straight workers.

This 10% gap means LGBTQ+ employees make only 90 cents for every dollar earned by their straight counterparts.

Read more to know more.

LGBTQ+ employees earn less than straight counterparts

Per the HRC Foundation, LGBTQ+ workers on average earn just $0.90 for every $1.00 a typical straight worker takes home – a sizable 10% gap.

Additionally, people of color and transgender individuals face wider income discrepancies.

Interestingly enough, LGBTQ+ Asian employees happen to earn on par with typical Asian workers according to the comparative data.

LGBTQ wage gap by race

However, Asian LGBTQ+ women endure some of the widest pay gaps compared to women of other racial groups.

LGBTQ wage gap by gender and race

Most troubling, trans women consistently earn the least income across all intersecting communities – highlighting the double barriers they continue battling. [2]

LGBTQ wage gap by gender identity

How Did Coming Out Affect Their Job?

Coming out at work can have detrimental effects on LGBTQ+ individuals’ careers and job prospects.

LGBTQ+ women face considerable underrepresentation in management roles, even compared to LGBTQ+ men. 

And nearly half of LGBTQ+ employees have faced unfair treatment due to their orientation or identity.

This includes being denied jobs, promotions, raises, and more.

LGBTQ women vs men by management level

26% of LGBTQ+ workers face multiple types of harassment in the workplace

The statistics concerning LGBTQ+ workers and their experiences in the workplace are alarming.

According to reports, approximately 1 in 4 LGBTQ+ individuals have faced sexual harassment, while 1 in 5 have endured physical harassment, such as physical violence, while on the job. [4]

Stories shared by employees highlight the offensive and threatening bias they encounter.

Particularly, openly transgender individuals face significant career challenges. 

over 50% of transgender employees don't feel comfortable being open about their identity in the workplace

According to McKinsey, over half of transgender employees don’t feel comfortable being out at work, and two-thirds stay closeted in external professional interactions. [5]

Moreover, half of transgender respondents couldn’t be themselves during job applications, unlike 33% of cisgender respondents.

They also feel less supported in understanding workplace culture, promotions, and being their authentic selves during hiring.

Despite these challenges, fostering greater inclusion for transgender employees could boost consumer spending by $12 billion annually. [5]

These findings emphasize the necessity of creating more inclusive workplaces, not only for ethical reasons but also for potential economic benefits.

Are there LGBTQ Friendly Industries?

Does your industry accept LGBTQ individuals?

If not, the banking and finance sector could be a viable option.

Recent data shows this industry is building a reputation as an LGBTQ-friendly workplace.

So if you’ve faced discrimination or lack of support in your current job, finance may offer more inclusive opportunities.

You deserve to be open about your identity at work. 

If your industry falls short on LGBTQ acceptance, consider polishing up your resume. More welcoming environments await.

The most friendly LGBT Industries in the US

Banking & financial tops as the most friendly LGBT Industries in the US. [6]

  1. Banking & financial
  2. Insurance
  3. Retail & consumer 
  4. Law
  5. Tech
  6. Business
  7. Food & Beverage
  8. Manufacturing
  9. Pharma
  10. Healthcare

Workers’ Insights

most LGBT value expressing orientation at work

We’ve compiled the experiences of LGBTQ employees at work, and here’s what we found: 

  • 52.7% of ethnic minorities want LGBT+ friendly employers. [7]
  • 67.5% LGBT workers hear negative LGBT+ comments at work.
  • While 39% hide being LGBT+ fearing worse treatment.
  • What’s more, about 1 in 3 want a more LGBT+ friendly employer.
  • Some (19%) leave due to lack of LGBT+ inclusion.
  • Fewer than half of employees are open with managers (37%) or HR (34%) about orientation. [7]


Can I be fired for being LGBTQ+?

No, it is illegal under federal law for an employer to fire someone solely based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects employees against discrimination on the basis of sex.

No. Denying transgender employees access to bathrooms matching their gender identity constitutes sex discrimination under Title VII. Employees have a right to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity.

Can my employer refuse to hire me because I’m transgender?

No. Refusing to hire someone because they are transgender is considered employment discrimination based on sex, which violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Employers cannot discriminate in hiring based on gender identity or expression.

Generally no, denying transition-related healthcare to transgender employees that is provided to non-transgender employees constitutes illegal sex discrimination under the Affordable Care Act.

What is the impact of LGBTQ inclusion in the workplace?

  • Increased revenue growth. Companies that implement LGBTQ+ inclusion policies see higher revenue growth. According to the study, this amounts to billions in savings annually across the US economy.
  • Greater innovation. LGBTQ employees feel more motivated and ambitious when their identities are welcomed at work. 
  • Expanded talent pool. Inclusive policies help companies attract and hire from a more diverse range of candidates.
  • Higher retention. LGBTQ employees are more likely to stay at companies that have implemented practical inclusion policies. This saves costs associated with turnover. 

Wrap Up

Even today, LGBTQ workplace discrimination is a big problem.

Although society has become more accepting, many LGBTQ people still experience unfair treatment, harassment, and inequality at work.

This article looks at the common challenges LGBTQ employees encounter, stresses the significance of welcoming workplaces, and suggests ways to make things fairer for everyone.

For further Intriguing statistics, facts and trends, check out our website.


  1. Catalyst. LGBTQ+ Workplace Issues (Quick Take) 
  2. HRC. The Wage Gap Among LGBTQ+ Workers in the United States
  3. Mckinsey. How the LGBTQ+ community fares in the workplace
  4. NBC News. Half of LGBTQ workers have faced job discrimination, report finds
  5. Mckinsey. Being transgender at work
  6. Spiceworks. Top LGBTQ Friendly Industries in the US
  7. HRD. Less than half of LGBT+ employees feel comfortable ‘being out’ at work
  8. Williams Institute. LGBT People’s Experiences of Workplace Discrimination and Harassment