New report calls attention to the lives of LGBT workers of color

Despite her great job performance, Kristy Salazar's temp job never became permanent once she came out at work. Rosa Yadira Ortiz struggled to find that rare job at which she could be both Latina and queer, her fully integrated self, at work.  Jorge Gutierrez looks forward to the day when both ENDA (the Employment Non-Discrimination Act) and comprehensive immigration reform pass to make it possible for him to work in the U.S. without fear of being fired for being gay, or being deported because he is undocumented.

These stories of the intersected struggles of LGBT workers and the barriers we face are a highlight of the new report A Broken Bargain for LGBT Workers of Color released by the Center for American Progress and the Movement Advancement Project.

Congresswoman Linda Sanchez (D-CA) will hold a field hearing Monday, November 25th, 2013 at 10:00AM at the downtown offices of the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund to talk about the report and hear from national leaders and constituents about the discrimination LGBT workers of color face. She and others will urge House Speaker John Boehner to take action on ENDA (the Employment Non-Discrimination Act) that would halt this discrimination. The senate has passed the bill, but the House refuses to take action.

There are an estimated 5.4 million LGBT workers of color in the United States. The census data and survey data used in this report show that we tend to live in states with large ethnic populations like New Mexico, Texas and California for Latinos and that a higher percentage of us are raising families.

LGBT workers face the challenges of not being able to provide spousal benefits to our partners, not being able to take family leave to care for children, because our parental rights are not recognized and a host of other obstacles to full and equal participation in the workplace.

The report examines barriers that impact LGBT workers of color throughout their lives starting with unsafe schools for LGBT youth, the school to prison pipleine that sidelines many potential LGBT workers and the discrimination and harasment that impacts adults resulting in higher rates of unemployment and lost contributions for the community as a whole.

It would be great to hear more stories from other LGBT workers of color. GLAAD ( welcomes your stories about your desire to work, your contributions in the workplace and the challenges that can make your work day harder so that employers and politicians can do the right thing and make the changes in policy that the authors of this report recommend.