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A Gay Lifestyle Can Get Your Fired!

Updated on October 27, 2009

Coming Out Can Cost You Your Job!

Employees need to be aware of adverse affects that can transpire when they choose to bring to expose their sexual orientation or gender identity. Often employers take dim views of personal sexual preferences, and may consider them as liabilities to the company's image.

Recently, the Oklahoma City Human Resources Society discussed workplace diversity with respect to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender employees.

One of the speakers who discussed personal experience had been fired by an employer because of gender identity. Another speaker had undergone gender reassignment surgery, and was prohibited from discussing the transition process in the workplace.

People who have relationships that are different, should not be forced to hide or live in fear of losing jobs. Employers need to be educated about gender identity and sexual orientation to better understand and accept personal lifestyles that may be different from their own.

There are some state and federal laws that prohibit employee discrimination when referencing firing based on race, religion, color, sex, and national origin. However, there is a growing awareness about protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workplace.

Currently, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, of 1964, does not provide for discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. However, a law to add “sexual orientation” as a protected class is expected to be passed, sometime in 2009.

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is a proposed federal law that would prohibit sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace. This bill would prohibit employers from making decisions concerning firing, promoting, or compensating employees based on sexual orientation or sexual-identity preferences. The ENDA also prohibits preferential treatment of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and quotas to require hiring of these types of individuals.

Although, discrimination about sexual preference is not explicitly prohibited under federal law, does not mean that employers should be flippant about sexual orientation or gender-identity discrimination.

Some states have enacted discrimination laws targeting homosexual, bisexual, and trans-sexual individuals. Other states only prohibit sexual discrimination in designated municipalities.

Fifteen states and the District of Columbia have laws in place to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity, in private employment. These states are: California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin.

Nine states in which only state employees are protected from discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity (by executive order or civil service rule). These states are: Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Montana, Pennsylvania, and Washington.

A complete listing of cities and counties that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity can be viewed at the Human Rights Campaign website (

The lack of openness in today's society causes anxiety and wreaks havoc within the workplace. When people don't know each other, they tend to fear one another.


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    • cherylvanhoorn profile image

      cherylvanhoorn 5 years ago from Sydney

      Great hub and there needs to be more of it. I worked with a lady who was becoming a lady. I knew her as she began her process and championed her as she fought for the basic civil right of being able to use the ladies toilets. There were people who so seriously took this as a personal affront it was ridiculous. There was no need at all for the fuss. It was not like she would be using a trough. She would be utilizing a stall which meant there was no chance that they would be seeing any salacious parts or be exhibiting them herself.

      After an intervention from a transgender activist group and the threat of a law a suit she was allowed to utilizing the ladies, much to the disgust of some people.

      For the life of me I could not see the issue. There is no need for this. It is fear and ignorance. She was a lovely lady and we had a great relationship and at varying times she would come in and thrust her chest out exhibiting her breast growth and the fact that she had gone up a cup size. It was a delight to see her becoming.

      Recently I have found myself in the position where one of my children's best friends is struggling with his sexual orientation. Watching the pain this child is going through is heart wrenching and I would not wish it on anyone-that is one for those who say that gays choose their orientation-the pain is a real and palpable thing and I have been fortunate in the fact that I have been able to assist this young man as much as I can through this difficult period of his life.

      The shame is not his to bear, it is ours. It is our ignorance and our fear that engenders this fear and it is something that we need to get past as a society before we can move forward as a species and we need to touch our humanity to allow for this to happen.

      Again I say the shame is not theirs but it ours.

    • creativeone59 profile image

      benny Faye Douglass 8 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

      Great hub, thanks for sharing. creativeone59