Diversity Issues: Discrimination and Harassment the LGBT Community faces at work and school
University of Maryland, University College
DISCUSSION EMPLOYMENT – RESULTS INTRODUCTION SCHOOLS – RESULTS
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,
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.
Hunter, N. D ., Mallory, C., Pizer, J. C., & Sears, B. (2012). EVIDENCE OF PERSISTENT AND PERVASIVE WORKPLACE DISCRIMINATION AGAINST LGBT PEOPLE:
THE NEED FOR FEDERAL LEGISLATION PROHIBITING DISCRIMINATION AND PROVIDING FOR EQUAL EMPLOYMENT BENEFITS. Loyola Of Los Angeles Law
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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