Fields That Still See the Most Discrimination: How Do We Bridge This Gap?
Discrimination in the workplace may be illegal, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. For the LGBTI+ community, workplace discrimination is still something that runs rampant. While some industries, areas, and companies are welcoming and accepting of the LGBTI+ community, many others still have a long way to go.
Unfortunately, many people like to believe that the United States is much more progressive than it actually is. To many, it’s impossible to believe that employers can still discriminate against the LGBTI+ community. This kind of thinking eliminates the pressure from companies unwilling to make necessary changes. Without the right education, these issues can be brushed under the rug.
Understanding workplace discrimination is the first step in making a difference. Let’s take a look at a few of the fields and industries that see the most discrimination, then consider what we can do to help eliminate this thinking and behavior.
- The Construction Industry
The construction industry is no stranger to diversity issues. Because the majority of construction workers are straight, white males, anyone who does not fit this mold may face discrimination while at work. This includes members of the LGBTI+ community.
While most managers will not fire an employee specifically for being gay, many LGBTI+ members may still feel that they are not safe to come out to their managers or employees. This can cause serious anxiety, forcing them to feel like they need to live a double life.
- The Military
With the President of the United States trying to ban transgender individuals from joining the military, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the military finds its way to this list. While the military is another area that has had diversity issues in the past, it should also be held to higher standards.
An individual’s sexual lifestyle should not influence whether or not they are fit to serve in the military. When someone is brave enough to sacrifice their lives for the safety of their country and fellow citizens, they shouldn’t fear facing discrimination.
- The Oil and Gas Industry
The oil and gas industry is another field that is less inclusive to the LGBTI+ community. Just like the construction industry, most employees within this field are straight, white males. For individuals in the industry outside of this group, it may be uncomfortable to come out.
Unfortunately, the LGBTI+ community is not protected nationwide in the same way other minorities are. While there are national laws that protect against discrimination for gender, race, and religion, there are only statewide laws protecting transgender and gay individuals.
How to Eliminate Workplace Discrimination for Everyone
Although there is not a law protecting all LGBTI+ individuals from workplace discrimination and harassment, no one should feel uncomfortable in their workplace. For thousands of people all over the country, their office space is a hostile environment. Not only can this cause stress for the individual, but it prevents them from living a happy, fulfilling life.
Change begins with the proper education. When people are more understanding of the daily struggles that the LGBTI+ community faces each day, they can be more open and be accepting of the changes that need to be made. When we start holding our coworkers and employers accountable for their actions, behaviors, and thoughts, we may start to see real change.
Whether or not you’re a part of the LGBTI+ community, it is your responsibility to stand up for what is right. Don’t be afraid to file complaints or speak up if you see a coworker facing discrimination or harassment because they are LGBTI+.