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Sexual Orientation Policy Tally

The term “sexual orientation” is loosely defined as a person’s pattern of romantic or sexual attraction to people of the opposite sex or gender, the same sex or gender, or more than one sex or gender. Laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation primarily protect or harm lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. That said, transgender people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual can be affected by laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation.

Gender Identity Policy Tally

“Gender identity” is a person’s deeply-felt inner sense of being male, female, or something else or in-between. “Gender expression” refers to a person’s characteristics and behaviors such as appearance, dress, mannerisms and speech patterns that can be described as masculine, feminine, or something else. Gender identity and expression are independent of sexual orientation, and transgender people may identify as heterosexual, lesbian, gay or bisexual. Laws that explicitly mention “gender identity” or “gender identity and expression” primarily protect or harm transgender people. These laws also can apply to people who are not transgender, but whose sense of gender or manner of dress does not adhere to gender stereotypes.

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Federal Government Funnels Almost $300 Billion Each Year to Businesses in States that Allow Workplace Discrimination

Executive Order Would Protect Taxpayer Funds and LGBT Americans According to New Issue Brief

Washington, D.C., APRIL 9, 2013 – American taxpayers send almost $300 billion per year in federal contract dollars to businesses in states that have not yet passed laws to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans from workplace discrimination, according to a new brief released today. Subsidizing discrimination with taxpayer money is a lose/lose proposition for taxpayers and LGBT employees—and it breaks America’s basic bargain that workers will judged and rewarded based on their contributions and capabilities, according to the brief’s authors: the Center for American Progress, Freedom to Work, the Human Rights Campaign, the Movement Advancement Project, and Out & Equal Workplace Advocates.

Issue Brief: The Need for an Executive Order details how in 2012 alone, $249 billion was awarded to businesses in states that have no state-level nondiscrimination protections for sexual orientation, and a total of $293 billion contract dollars flowed to businesses in states with no protections for gender identity/expression. In addition:

  • Of the 25 states in which businesses received $5 billion of more in federal contracts, a substantial majority (60%) have no employment protections based on sexual orientation. And, more than two-thirds (68%) have no employment nondiscrimination laws explicitly covering gender identity.
  • 73% of the American public supports equal job opportunities for gay and transgender employees.

“With no federal employment protections, too many LGBT workers are at risk of losing their jobs and their livelihoods,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “The permanent solution is to pass an inclusive ENDA. In the meantime, we hope President Obama will issue an executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT Americans.”

“With no federal law protecting LGBT workers against discrimination, an executive order would fill the significant gaps in protections that leave far too many workers without a job to support themselves and their family. Should President Obama take action, we would likely reach a tipping point in terms of nondiscrimination coverage for the LGBT workforce. With broad support from the public, even from a majority of Republicans, workplace nondiscrimination should be a no-brainer,” said Winnie Stachelberg, Executive Vice President of External Affairs at the Center for American Progress.

“With the stroke of a pen, President Obama can protect American taxpayers and LGBT employees,” said Tico Almeida, President of Freedom to Work. “More than 175,000 Americans have already signed Freedom to Work’s online petition because they don’t want our government to subsidize corporations where talented employees fear getting fired just because of who they are or who they love.”

The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just and free America that ensures opportunity for all. We believe that Americans are bound together by a common commitment to these values and we aspire to ensure that our national policies reflect these values. We work to find progressive and pragmatic solutions to significant domestic and international problems and develop policy proposals that foster a government that is “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

Freedom to Work is a national organization committed to banning workplace harassment and career discrimination against lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgender Americans through public education, policy analysis, and legal work.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

Founded in 2006, the Movement Advancement Project is an independent think tank that provides rigorous research, insight and analysis that help speed equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Out & Equal Workplace Advocates is committed to creating safe and equitable workplace environments for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees. We believe that people should be judged by the work they do, not by their sexual orientation or gender identity. Every day, we work to protect and empower employees to be productive and successful—so they can support themselves, their families, and contribute to achieving a world free of discrimination for everyone.

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Media Contacts:
Calla Rongerude
Movement Advancement Project (MAP)
(415) 205-2420

Crosby Burns
Center for American Progress
(202) 741-6369

Paul Guequierre
Human Rights Campaign
(202) 423-2860

Tico Almeida
Freedom to Work
(917) 566-8871

Teddy Witherington
Out & Equal Workplace Advocates
(415) 845-1206

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