Study Reports One-Fifth of LGBTQ Workers Are Treated Unfairly in the Nonprofit Sector
Is there an anti-LGBTQ bias in your nonprofit organization? According to the study titled, “Working at the Intersections: LGBTQ Nonprofit Staff and the Racial Leadership Gap,” 19 percent of study respondents said that their sexuality had very/slightly negative impact on their career advancement, while 59 percent said there was no impact and 22 percent said that there was very/slightly positive impact.
The study included 4,385 respondents who identified themselves as full-time staff, part-time staff or board members of nonprofit organizations, with 921 respondents who identified themselves as LGBTQ. The study is based on 847 LGBTQ staff members.
When asked about specific negative experiences, one respondent said, “I have been fired twice—once early in my career when it was found out I was a lesbian, and then later in my career where I was forced to resign because it was found out.”
Another respondent said, “Except for the time my career when I worked at an LGBTQ organization, I have been bypassed for opportunities to engage with funders or national partners.”
In addition, 38 percent of LGBTQ respondents who were of color felt that there were barriers in their career advancement due to their race/ethnicity, compared to 5 percent of LGBTQ respondents who were white. When asked about social/economic class, 30 percent of respondents of color felt there were barriers, compared to 29 percent of those who were white.
While these members of the LGBTQ community who feel hindered in their career due to their sexual orientation represent approximately 20 percent, it is still an issue that should not be quickly dismissed. These individuals represent the LGBTQ movement that is spreading throughout the world like wildfire—and they are and have the potential to become leaders in the movement for social good. It’s crucial that we take a closer look at how we are treating our staff members and be mindful not to ignore the discrimination happening within our organizations.