Research Report

Self Identification of LGBTQ+ Employees

January 2015

In 2012, Gallup released the results of a new question on sexual orientation that revealed that 3.4 percent of U.S. adults identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Ninety-two per cent of adults did not identify, while 4.4 percent either “didn’t know” or refused to answer the question. The findings were based on 120,000 interviews and dovetail with the 3.8 percent average of a group of earlier, smaller surveys conducted by various entities in the United States from 2004 to 2008.

According to Gallup, “Exactly who makes up the LGBT community and how this group should be measured is a subject of some debate. Measuring sexual orientation and gender identity can be challenging since these concepts involve complex social and cultural patterns. As a group still subject to social stigma, many of those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender may not be forthcoming about this identity when asked about it in a survey.”

Harris Poll’s 2014 Out & Equal Workplace Survey shows that 55 percent of Americans don’t believe that employers should be exempt from complying with basic workplace safeguards for LGBT Americans. Such protections are stipulated in the 20-year-old Employment Non-Discrimination Act, despite the efforts of some organizations to gain religious exemptions that could negatively impact LGBT employees and potential employees.

This report provides an overview of the issue of self-identification for LGBT employees. It explains some of the difficulty in gathering information on the sexual orientation of employees, provides examples of how companies collect statistics on their LGBT workforce, and shares the practices of specific companies.

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Self Identification of LGBTQ+ Employees
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