By Parker Marie Molloy
Originally published on Advocate.com December 14 2013 12:24 AM ET
Sixty-six percent of Americans polled believe workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation should be illegal, with respondents between the ages of 18 and 29 demonstrating highest support for these protections according to a new poll.
The effort to ban discrimination on the basis of gender identity, an issue transgender Americans face with overwhelming regularity, sees less public support among the general public, with only 56 percent of respondents favoring the protections outlined in the current version of ENDA. The only age group with less than a majority of support for the anti-discrimination effort is made up of Americans 65 and up, according to the December 9 poll by United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection. This would seem to suggest overall improvement in transgender acceptance as younger generations gain political relevance.
A 2011 joint report by the National Center for Transgender Equality and National Gay and Lesbian Task Force highlighting the struggles transgender Americans deal with on a daily basis. The report highlights the startling realization that 90 percent of transgender Americans have dealt with workplace discrimination or harassment as a result of their gender identity at some point during their lifetimes.
The aversion to employing transgender individuals is apparent in the fact that these workers face nearly double the national unemployment rate when compared to the general population. All this is in spite of the results of a report put together by the Movement Advancement Project, National Center of Transgender Equality, Human Rights Campaign, and Center for American Progress, transgender Americans tend to be more highly educated than their cisgender counterparts, with 87% of transgender respondents to their National Transgender Discrimination Survey indicating that they had attained at least some college experience, with 47 percent signifying that they had obtained a college or graduate degree.
ENDA, which would create employment protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, passed the Senate by a vote of 62-32 in November. The House version of the bill currently sits on the desk of House Speaker John Boehner, waiting to be called to a vote. He’s stated that he sees “no basis or need” for the legislation.