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LGBTQ people lack legal protection against job discrimination

The impact of job discrimination is often intense for people in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning community. This is because federal and many state laws do not offer questioning and transgender individuals protection from job discrimination. Thirty-one states do not offer inclusive protection. This includes New York, which only prohibits employment discrimination based on sexual orientation.

According to the National LGBTQ Task Force's head of the Trans and Gender-Nonconforming Justice Project, it is very common for LGBTQ people to be refused or fired from jobs because of who they are. In a 2011 survey, Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, the majority of the transgender participants reported workplace discrimination or harassment. Ninety percent said they had to hide their identities or were harassed in some way.

Overall, it is more likely for people in the LGBTQ community to lead impoverish lives. Additionally, about 33 percent of African-American and Latin American transgender people make less than $10,000 per year. A representative for the Center for American Progress says transgender people, particularly women, are often excluded from housing, jobs, schools and shelters because of their identities. An estimated 28 percent of transgender African-Americans are unemployed. According to a 2014 survey, the unemployment for all transgender people was 14 percent.

Even when help is available for questioning and transgender people who experience job discrimination, pursuing claims is often difficult. In addition to living in poverty, many of them are too afraid of deportation or negative interactions with authorities to ask for help. A Puerto Rican transgender woman from Florida says years of oppression is the reason. She was refused a job during an interview when the interviewer discovered she was transgender. She has lost many other jobs for the same reason.

Many LGBTQ people continue to fight for equal rights in all aspects of their lives. Those who experience employment discrimination or harassment could talk to employment lawyers about their legal options.

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