Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Workplace Issues: Quick Take

POPULATION

It Is Difficult to Determine the Size of the LGBT Population

Stigma and methodological barriers make it difficult to get an accurate count of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) population.1 The following statistics are the best estimates from surveys around the world.

  • In Canada, 1.7% of Canadians between the ages of 18 and 59 are gay or lesbian, and an additional 1.3% are bisexual.2
  • In Japan, 8.9% of the population between the ages of 20 and 59 is LGBT.3
  • In the United Kingdom, 2.0% are LGB.4
  • In the United States, 4.5% are LGBT.5
Governments Often Measure Only Same-Sex Couples

Because it can be very difficult to measure the LGBT population, some surveys measure the number of those in same-sex relationships.6 The following percentages are the best estimates from such surveys around the world.

  • In Australia, 0.9% of all couples are same-sex couples.7
  • In Canada, 0.9% of all couples are same-sex couples.8
  • In Germany, 0.5% of all couples are same-sex couples.9
  • In the United States, 1.5% of all couple-households are same-sex couple-households.10

WORKPLACE

Most Countries and States Do Not Provide Legal Protections for LGBT Employees

Seventy-four countries prohibit discrimination in employment because of sexual orientation, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Mexico, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.11

  • There is no federal law protecting employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in the United States.12
    • There is no state-level protection for sexual orientation or gender identity in 29 of the 50 US states.13 This means employees can be fired for being LGBT.

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