New Democracy Maps

LGBTQ Economic Security

LGBTQ people in the United States have the same worries as others when it comes to finding good jobs and saving for the future. But research consistently finds that LGBTQ people and their families are more likely to struggle economically, experiencing higher rates of poverty and food insecurity. While the reasons for this are complex, the discrimination LGBTQ people continue to face in many aspects of daily life—including at school, which may mean they are less likely to gain needed education; at work, which can result in unemployment or lower wages; and when seeking homes, which can result in instability—all contribute to this economic insecurity.  

Related Resources

Blog Post

4 Ways Companies Can Support the LGBTQ Community All Year Long

June 2023 - A new brief from MAP and CLEAR provides insight from the 2022 LGBTQI+ Economic and Financial (LEAF) Survey and outlines actions companies can undertake to help the LGBTQ community, according to LGBTQ people themselves.


The LGBTQI+ Economic and Financial (LEAF) Survey: Understanding the Financial Lives of LGBTQI+ People in the United States

March 2023 - This report by MAP and CLEAR shines new light on the financial experiences of LGBTQI+ people in the U.S. and fills in critical gaps left by many federal and financial industry surveys that fail to include LGBTQI+ demographics.


Non-Discrimination Laws: Employment

Employment non-discrimination laws protect LGBT people from being unfairly fired, not hired, or discriminated against in the workplace by private employers.


The Delta Variant & the Disproportionate Impacts of COVID-19 on LGBTQ Households in the U.S.

December 2021 - This report presents 2021 analysis of a nationally representative survey that finds LGBTQ people continue to be disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and the Delta variant.

Issue Brief

Uplift LGBT Carework in the American Jobs Plan

May 2021 - The American Jobs Plan creates a unique opportunity to provide vital services and protections for LGBT older people–two populations that too often feel invisible. This info sheet discusses how we can best support LGBT elders through the Americans Jobs Plan.


The Disproportionate Impacts of COVID-19 on LGBTQ Households in the U.S.

December 2020 - This report presents new analysis of a nationally representative survey that finds LGBTQ people are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.


Week #1: 10 Ways President Biden Can Support LGBTQ People

November 2020 - This brief highlights 10 actions the Biden administration can immediately start to ensure LGBTQ people and their families can be protected from discrimination.


What's at stake? Analyzing a 2019 HHS proposed rule allowing discrimination

December 2019 - This brief analyzes a new proposed rule allowing discrimination in HHS-funded programs and services.


Who Could Be Legally Fired If the Supreme Court Gives Employers a Right to Discriminate?

October 2019 - This infographic shows the percentage of people by race living in states without protections who would lose federal workplace protections if the Supreme Court rules that Title VII doesn’t protect LGBT workers.


The Domino Effect: What If SCOTUS Rules LGBT People Aren't Protected by Federal Law?

July 2019  - In light of the three cases the U.S. Supreme Court will consider in October 2019, this infographic shows the "domino" effect of what would happen if SCOTUS rules that Title VII doesn't protect LGBT workers.


U.S. Supreme Court Will Decide if Employers Can Legally Fire LGBT People—And Much More

July 2019  - In light of the three cases the U.S. Supreme Court will consider in October 2019, this infographic shows what will happen if the court rules that Title VII doesn’t protect LGBT workers.


Can LGBT People Be Legally Fired? U.S. Supreme Court Considers Three Cases That Could Take America Backward

July 2019  - This brief that describes three cases the U.S. Supreme court will consider in Fall 2019, how the Court could rule, and what the implications of the Court’s rulings could mean for LGBT people not just at work but in all areas of life.

New Brief

Are LGBT Workers Protected from Discrimination? Unravelling the Patchwork of Federal, State, and Local Employment Protections

October 2018 - A new brief examines the existing federal, state and local laws and court rulings that offer protections to LGBT workers as well as the gaps that leave workers vulnerable to discrimination because case law or legislation isn’t clear or explicit. This brief also examines the legal gaps that leave workers vulnerable to discrimination because laws don’t explicitly include the terms “sexual orientation” or “gender identity,” and courts have not interpreted sex discrimination provisions correctly.

New Brief

LGBT People in the Workplace

August 2018 - This new brief details the history, demographics and experiences of LGBT people in the workplace. In addition to outlining the barriers facing LGBT workers because of prejudice, the brief also examines the added challenges facing workers—lower wages, lack of comprehensive immigration reform, barriers to employment for individuals with a criminal record, a changing economic landscape—and how these challenges also impact LGBT employees.


The Power of State Preemption: Preventing Progress and Threatening Equality

May 2018 - The Power of State Preemption: Preventing Progress and Threatening Equality exposes the coordinated effort to limit municipalities from passing local laws, the special interests motivating these efforts, and the negative impact specifically on LGBT people. The report concludes that when preemption is used in this way to undermine people’s economic security, health, and safety, it jeopardizes local democracy and equality for all.


LGBT Employees & Title VII

Updated March 2018 - Several courts are considering cases brought by LGBT employees who have been discriminated against at work because of their gender identity or sexual orientation. This two page infographic offers an explanation of why Title VII of the Civil Rights Act is so important for LGBT employees and reviews the legal landscape.


LGBT Policy Spotlight: Nondiscrimination Protections for LGBT People

January 2016 - LGBT Policy Spotlight: Nondiscrimination Protections for LGBT People examines federal, state, and local laws protecting LGBT people from discrimination, the perfect tool to educate everyone from elected officials to classmates to family and friends about the important need for basic protections.


LGBT Policy Spotlight: Local Employment Nondiscrimination Ordinances

October 2015 - LGBT Policy Spotlight: Local Employment Nondiscrimination Ordinances examines city and county nondiscrimination ordinances (NDOs) that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in private employment. The report details where these ordinances are geographically, their growth over time, and the gaps in coverage that remain.


Snapshot: Transgender in America

July 2015 - This new infographic, “Snapshot: Transgender in America,” gives a quick look at state-level laws and policies that impact the lives of transgender people and provides some key statistics on the challenges transgender people face.


Paying an Unfair Price:
The Financial Penalty for LGBT People of Color

April 2015 - Systemic failures to protect some students, recognize diverse families, and protect against discrimination create a devastating cycle of poverty for America’s 3 million LGBT people of color. Learn about the economic insecurity faced by LGBT people of color.


Paying an Unfair Price:
The Financial Penalty for LGBT Women in America

March 2015 - Due to discriminatory laws and stigma, LGBT women face lower pay, frequent harassment, compromised access to health care, and heightened violence. As a result, America’s 5.1 million LGBT women are among the most at risk of poverty in America.


Paying an Unfair Price:
The Financial Penalty for Being Transgender in America

February 2015 - Transgender people in the United States face clear financial penalties and are left economically vulnerable because of discrimination and hostile educational environments. Learn more in this companion report to Paying an Unfair Price.


Google Hangout:
Paying an Unfair Price

October 2014 - Watch video of the Oct. 1 live presentation and discussion with the authors and partners on Paying an Unfair Price: The Financial Penalty for Being LGBT in America.


Paying an Unfair Price:
Full/Condensed/Summary Reports

September 2014 - Outdated and discriminatory laws have serious economic impacts, causing LGBT people to have a harder time becoming financially secure and providing for their families. Learn more in the Full Report, Condensed Version, and Executive Summary.


Paying an Unfair Price: Infographics

September 2014 - From the pages of Paying an Unfair Price comes a set of shareable infographics, including: 'A Patchwork of Legal Equality' (the Equality Wheel), 'Anti-LGBT Laws Impact Poor People the Most,' 'Poverty in the LGBT Community,' and more.


Paying an Unfair Price:
Maria's Story

September 2014 - Watch and share this short new video based on Paying an Unfair Price, and learn how Maria, a lesbian living in Nebraska, faces added costs and economic hardships because of anti-LGBT laws in her state.


Issue Briefs: Protecting LGBT Workers

June 2014 - New state-focused issue briefs provide overviews of the unfair treatment faced by hardworking LGBT Americans who continue to lack essential protections against discrimination—and as a result, can still be unfairly fired from their jobs simply because of who they are.


A Broken Bargain: Unchecked Discrimination Against LGBT Workers

May 2014 - LGBT Americans continue to face unfair treatment, harassment and discrimination in the workplace, yet no federal law provides them with explicit legal protections. Learn how businesses and policymakers can help level the playing field and protect LGBT workers from employment discrimination.


A Broken Bargain for LGBT Workers of Color

November 2013 - LGBT workers of color face unique challenges, including educational barriers; hiring bias and on-the-job discrimination; unequal pay, benefits, and taxation--and extraordinarily high rates of unemployment and poverty as a result. Learn about actions that can help fix this broken bargain for LGBT workers of color.


An Impossible Choice: LGBT Workers & Family Leave Laws

November 2013 - Learn how discriminatory laws and unequal access to family and medical leave laws force lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender workers to choose between managing medical or family crises and holding onto their jobs and their livelihoods.


A Broken Bargain for Transgender Workers

September 2013 - The basic American bargain--that those who work hard and meet their responsibilities should be able to get ahead--is broken for transgender workers. Learn about the inequities facing transgender workers, and how policymakers and employers can help reduce and eliminate those inequities.


A Broken Bargain: Infographics

June 2013 - From the pages of A Broken Bargain come a set of infographics, including: 'The Broken Bargain for LGBT Workers,' 'Legal Discrimination Makes It Harder to Find and Keep a Good Job,' 'Transgender Workers Work As Hard, Denied Health Care and Leave,' and more.


A Broken Bargain:

June 2013 - LGBT workers might have the same job as a coworker, yet be legally fired, denied equal benefits and be required to pay thousands of dollars more in taxes simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Learn more in the 132-page Full Report, the 36-page Condensed Version, and the five-page Executive Summary


Issue Brief: The Need for an Executive Order

April 2013 - U.S. taxpayers send almost $300 billion per year in federal contract dollars to businesses in states that have not yet passed laws to protect LGBT workers from discrimination. An executive order would protect an additional 16 million workers and cover more than 20% of the U.S. workforce.

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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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