Straight Allies Advocate for LGBT Equality in the Workplace: Poll Shows More Adults Today Speak Up Against Workplace Discrim.

Straight Allies Advocate for LGBT Equality in the Workplace   

Poll Also Shows More LGBT Adults Today Speak Up Against Workplace Discrimination 

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, WASHINGTON, DC and NEW YORK, NY– October 31, 2012 – Straight allies, in large numbers, flex their support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) coworkers, according to the 2012 Out & Equal Workplace Survey. Representing over a fourth (26%) of all U.S. adults, self-identified allies to the LGBT community reported specific ways of expressing that support.  

Nearly three-fourths (73%) of heterosexual allies support policies that ban discrimination against LGBT people compared to only 22% of those who do not self-identify as allies.  A solid majority (62%) of heterosexual allies declare that they speak up against anti-LGBT discussions, compared to only 10% of non-allies. Half (51%) of heterosexual allies also say they speak up when hearing  anti-gay remarks spoken in the workplace,  compared to only 12% of non-allies. 

The annual 2012 Out & Equal Workplace Survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive® in conjunction with Out & Equal Workplace Advocates and Witeck Communications, among 2,562 U.S. adults, of whom 2,105 indicated they are heterosexual and 371 self-identified as LGBT. Beginning in 2002, this survey has become the acknowledged annual barometer of attitudes surrounding LGBT issues in the workplace and is the longest-running national survey of its kind. 

The survey also reports that more LGBT adults are emboldened to stand up for themselves at work. Three of four (75%) of LGBT adults speak up against anti-LGBT discussions when they hear them, compared to 61% in 2011. In addition, two thirds (67%) of LGBT adults speak up or report instances when they hear anti-gay remarks at work, compared to 57% last year.

Most Americans, when asked, favor an inclusive working environment, with an overwhelming majority, 83% of heterosexual adults in agreement that an employee should be judged by how well he or she performs their job, and not by their sexual orientation. However, only half (50%) of LGBT adults agree that LGBT people are treated fairly and equally in their workplace. 

“Ending all forms of discrimination in the workplace benefits all employees,” said Selisse Berry, Out & Equal Founding Executive Director. “It’s breathtaking to see how many more allies give stronger voice to our issues, and stand by us to defeat unequal treatment.” Berry added that, “We know our mission is strengthened when we see more LGBT employees able to summon the courage to speak up when they see or experience discrimination.”  

Many corporations have been leaders in developing inclusive workforce policies, and some have also advocated public policies to ban employment discrimination and promote the recognition of same-sex relationships at the state and federal levels. While some fear the risk of backlash, the survey shows, however, that 7 out of 10 (72%) of heterosexuals would either remain neutral or actively support a company (or its CEO) if it takes a public stand in support of same-sex marriage or donates to causes working on behalf of marriage equality, for instance. 

Given the disruptive and high-risk weather emergency this week affecting most of the Atlantic seaboard including Baltimore, the Out & Equal Workplace Summit took a pause on Monday, October 29 and all of its scheduled programs will resume in earnest on Wednesday, October 31 and the 2012 Summit will conclude on Thursday evening, November 1, 2012. All Summit sessions will be held in Baltimore, Maryland’s Convention Center. LGBT employees and straight allies, along with human resources and diversity professionals, representing a broad cross-section of the nation’s leading companies—a majority from the Fortune 500—are set to participate in this year’s Summit, focused on achieving workplace equality.

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