Diversity and Inclusivity at University

Diversity Issues: Discrimination and Harassment the LGBT Community faces at work and school

University of Maryland, University College




LGBT employment discrimination and harassment is

a serious issue, based on the courts and the EEOC

the following scenarios can be considered gender

identity or sexual orientation discrimination: (Joiner

& Lyons, 2016)


 “Treating an LGBT employee adversely for failing to

hold or follow the employer’s religious beliefs.”

Terveer v. Billington, 34 F. Supp. 3d 100, 113 (D.D.C.



 “Permitting and/or refusing to investigate claims of

harassment based on sexual orientation by coworkers

and supervisors.” Koren v. Ohio Bell Tel. Co., 894 F.

Supp. 2d 1032 (N.D. Ohio 2012).


 “Failing to promote an employee based on LGBT

status.” Baldwin v. Foxx, EEOC Appeal No.

0120133080, 2015 WL 4397641 (EEOC July 15,



 Even with all the protections towards LGB and

transgender individuals in the workplace “as recently

as 2011, 90% of respondents to the largest survey

distributed to trans gender people reported they are

still being harassed at work”, (Pizer, Sears, Mallor &

Hunter, 2012, p.721)

Although, there have been several policies put in

place to protect sexual minority workers and youth in

schools, it is evident that there is still a lot that needs

to be done. Based on these results it seems that this

is an accepted practice and human behavior needs to

be changed. Right now there is a growing trend at the

state and local level to protect workers from

discrimination, however many states still do not have

these protections. This leaves it up to federal law to

put these protections in place, (Munoz & Kalteux,



To continue to yield positive results in youth campus

climate, queer theory, and new research methods

need to be put into play. This will help to examine,

policies and programs, and will allow for a

comprehensive research agenda, (Renn, 2010)

Use various existing surveys and studies to increase

access of data to LGBT and Queer research in

Higher Education. This includes studies that focus

on student behavior, such as Harvard Alcohol Study,

and the 2004 National Study of Living Learning

Programs, (Renn, 2010)


Recruit youth at social events where large sexual

minorities can be found to broaden participation

among youth for data collection on surveys, (Walls,

Wisneski, Kane, 2010)


Assess and investigate gender issues in the

workplace to “investigate the impact to the extent of

which someone’s transgender identity is central to

their self-concept on decisions and attidues

including job satisfaction, commitment and anxiety”,

(Discont, Martinez, Sawyer, Smith & Thai, 2016, p.



Utilize ground theory to “build a process model of

gender transition while at work, along with a career

decision-making model identifying occupational

barriers and influences that impacted occupational

attitudes and behaviors”, (Discont, et al., 2016, p. 4)

 Continue to study the LGBT policies and it’s

contributions to political science to have an

impact on political protections and rights


 Change the queering development of the

political agenda to rebuild LGBT movements for

change, (Drucker, 2009)


 Adults need to inform sexual minority children

that they are not alone by aiding them with

adequate, honest information about themselves

and others who are like them, (Talburt, 2004)


 Provide information to heterosexual and LGBT

students to decrease bullying, and cultivate self-

esteem in groups, (Talburt, 2004)

The two tables below show indications of two different

studies and how students feel towards LGBT

harassment in the higher education sector and youth


 Table 3 indicates how students feel towards their

campus climate in the Higher Education sector. It shows

that while “75%students feel safe, about half conceal

their sexual orientation or gender identity” to peers, and

faculty to avoid harassment and discrimination, (Ellis,

2009, p.733)


 Table six represents how sexual minority youth respond

to having Gay-Straight Alliance groups at their schools,

and whether or they feel safer being a member of these

groups. Based on the results, there is a not a significant

of those who did or did not experience harassment

between members and non-members based on sexual

orientation. There is also no significant difference

between feeling safe or unsafe vs. being a member or

non-member, (Walls, Wisneski, Kane, 2010, p. 322)



At some point in our lives we

have probably all dealt with a

form of discrimination or

harassment based on race,

socioeconomic status, level of

education received, appearance,

and gender. Think about how this

made you feel. Imagine if you had

to deal with this based on your

sexual orientation and gender

identity on a daily basis. “Sexual

orientation refers to whether or

not a person is homosexual,

heterosexual, or bisexual”, (Joiner

& Lyons, 2016, p. 13). “Gender

identity is how one perceives

themselves, and can be different

from their gender assigned at

birth”, (Joiner & Lyons, 2016, p.



Now ask yourself, who gives

someone the right to tell you how

to identify with your own gender

and how your yourself? These are

some of the issues that will be

discussed and presented. Along

with examples of discrimination

and harassment LGBT people

have to deal with in the workplace

and at school. There will also be

proposed solutions for how these

social science issues can be


INTERDISCIPLANARY APPROACH Most social science disciplines could work together to provide protection, and support to the LGBT community. The three that

I chose to discuss are:


Psychology – would look into how LGBT persons who are discriminated against and harassed are affected mentally.

Psychologists could also research how many youth attempt and commit suicide from being bullied at school, and the

impact this has on family life. Psychologists can provide safe spaces, similar to the Gay-Straight Alliances mentioned in the

Results section, to provide a safe place for children and adults to go to.

Political Science – can work with psychologists and sociologists to determine the types of laws and policies that need to be

put into place to protect LGBT people from discrimination and harassment in the workplace, and youth at school.

Sociology – this approach would focus on the social issues of understanding what homosexuality is, and the difference

between sexual orientation, and sexual identity. A sociologist could also look into how this relates to sexual deviance, and

how to some this type of behavior is not the norm, and the impact this has on society.




Ellis, S. (2009). Diversity and Inclusivity at University: A Survey of the Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) Students in the UK. Higher Education, 57(6), 723-739.


Discont, S, Sawyer, K. B., Thai, J. L., Martinez, L. R., & Smith, N. A. (2016). Trans Issues in the Workplace 101. TIP: The Industrial-Organizational Psychologist, 54(1), 1-4.


Drucker, P. (2009). Changing Families and Communities: An LGBT Contribution to an Alternative Development Path. Development in Practice, 19(7), 825-836.




Review, 45(3), 715-779.


Joiner, E., & Lyons, A. (2016). Creating an Inclusive Workplace for LGBT Employees. Corporate Counsel Litigation, 30(3), 13-16


Mucciaroni, G. (2011). The Study of LGBT Politics and Its Contributions to Political Science. PS: Political Science and Politics, 44(1), 17-21


Muñoz, S. T., & Kalteux, D. M. (2016). LGBT, the EEOC, and the Meaning of “Sex”. Florida Bar Journal, 90(3), 43-48.


Renn, K. (2010). LGBT and Queer Research in Higher Education: The State and Status of the Field. Educational Researcher, 39(2), 132-141.


Talburt, S. (2004). Constructions of LGBT Youth: Opening up Subject Positions. Theory Into Practice, 43(2), 116-121.


Walls, N.E., Wisneski, H. & Kane, S.B. (2010). Gay—Straight Alliances and School Experiences of Sexual Minority Youth. Youth & Society, 41: (3), 211-218.


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