As anti-LGBTQ+ laws proliferate, workers say they want employers to be advocates

The majority of workers surveyed by an advocacy nonprofit said LGBTQ+ equality has worsened in the past year.

Published March 27, 2024

Ginger ChristReporter

Dive Brief:

  • Ninety-four percent of survey respondents believe LGBTQ+ equality has gotten worse in the past year, according to results released Wednesday by Out & Equal, a nonprofit focused on LGBTQ+ workplace equity, inclusion and belonging.
  • Of the more than 500 workers surveyed, 45% said they feel less safe in their state because of changes to LGBTQ+ rights, and 79% said anti-LGBTQ+ laws affect whether they would relocate for a new job in a particular state. 
  • Forty percent said they don’t feel comfortable talking with supervisors about how these legislative changes affect them and their families, the survey found.

Anti-LGBTQ+ legislation has been on the rise, and 2023 set an all-time high, Out & Equal CEO Erin Uritus said in a statement. 2024 is on pace to exceed last year, with more than 475 pieces of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation already introduced in different states, Uritus said. 

“…Now, more than ever before, the LGBTQ+ community needs action paired with authentic allyship. When and where public policy falls short, businesses and their leaders have, can, and must become changemakers,” Uritus said in a statement. 

Seventy-two percent of respondents didn’t think their company responded adequately to increases in LGBTQ+ legislation, the survey found. Workers said employers could offer support by offering flexible or remote work options, advocating for public policy, providing company-funded relocation resources, offering out-of-state travel and benefits and creating employee assistance programs for those affected by changing legislation.

“This research demonstrates that public policy aimed at curbing the fundamental rights of the LGBTQ+ community also curbs businesses’ ability to attract and retain talent, relocate employees with ease and generally be nimble in the market,” Out & Equal’s Chief Program and Partnerships Officer Deena Fidas said in a statement. 

In its annual Corporate Equality Index, LGBTQ+ rights watchdog Human Rights Campaign said queer and trans talent are in a “state of emergency.”

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