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Straight Allies Advocate for LGBT Equality in the Workplace

October 31, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO, WASHINGTON and NEW YORK, Oct. 31, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Straight allies, in large numbers, flex their support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) coworkers, according to the 2012 Out & Equal Workplace Survey. Representing over a fourth (26%) of all U.S. adults, self-identified allies to the LGBT community reported specific ways of expressing that support.

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Nearly three-fourths (73%) of heterosexual allies support policies that ban discrimination against LGBT people compared to only 22% of those who do not self-identify as allies. A solid majority (62%) of heterosexual allies declare that they speak up against anti-LGBT discussions, compared to only 10% of non-allies. Half (51%) of heterosexual allies also say they speak up when hearing anti-gay remarks spoken in the workplace, compared to only 12% of non-allies.

The annual 2012 Out & Equal Workplace Survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive® in conjunction with Out & Equal Workplace Advocates and Witeck Communications, among 2,562 U.S. adults, of whom 2,105 indicated they are heterosexual and 371 self-identified as LGBT. Beginning in 2002, this survey has become the acknowledged annual barometer of attitudes surrounding LGBT issues in the workplace and is the longest-running national survey of its kind.

The survey also reports that more LGBT adults are emboldened to stand up for themselves at work. Three of four (75%) of LGBT adults speak up against anti-LGBT discussions when they hear them, compared to 61% in 2011. In addition, two thirds (67%) of LGBT adults speak up or report instances when they hear anti-gay remarks at work, compared to 57% last year.

Most Americans, when asked, favor an inclusive working environment, with an overwhelming majority, 83% of heterosexual adults in agreement that an employee should be judged by how well he or she performs their job, and not by their sexual orientation. However, only half (50%) of LGBT adults agree that LGBT people are treated fairly and equally in their workplace.

“Ending all forms of discrimination in the workplace benefits all employees,” said Selisse Berry, Out & Equal Founding Executive Director. “It’s breathtaking to see how many more allies give stronger voice to our issues, and stand by us to defeat unequal treatment.” Berry added that, “We know our mission is strengthened when we see more LGBT employees able to summon the courage to speak up when they see or experience discrimination.”

Many corporations have been leaders in developing inclusive workforce policies, and some have also advocated public policies to ban employment discrimination and promote the recognition of same-sex relationships at the state and federal levels. While some fear the risk of backlash, the survey shows, however, that 7 out of 10 (72%) of heterosexuals would either remain neutral or actively support a company (or its CEO) if it takes a public stand in support of same-sex marriage or donates to causes working on behalf of marriage equality, for instance.

Given the disruptive and high-risk weather emergency this week affecting most of the Atlantic seaboard including Baltimore, the Out & Equal Workplace Summit took a pause on Monday, October 29 and all of its scheduled programs will resume in earnest on Wednesday, October 31 and the 2012 Summit will conclude on Thursday evening, November 1, 2012. All Summit sessions will be held in Baltimore, Maryland’s Convention Center. LGBT employees and straight allies, along with human resources and diversity professionals, representing a broad cross-section of the nation’s leading companies–a majority from the Fortune 500–are set to participate in this year’s Summit, focused on achieving workplace equality.

For more information about the Summit or to register, please visit www.outandequal.org.

TABLE 1
ALLY BEHAVIOR SUPPORTING LGBT
Please say how often, if at all, the following behaviors are true for you?

Base: All adults who Always/Sometimes Support

                                                                          Total      LGBT        Gay/       Heterosexual      Heterosexual      Heterosexual Not LGBT Allies
                                                                                               Lesbian                        LGBT Allies
                                                                                               -------                        -----------
    I support policies that ban discrimination against LGBT people
    --------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                     2012        43%       76%          84%               41%               73%                              22%
                                                                     ----       ---       ---          ---               ---               ---                              ---
                                                                     2011        47%       69%          76%               46%               81%                              29%
                                                                     ----       ---       ---          ---               ---               ---                              ---
    I speak up against anti-LGBT discussions when I hear them
    ---------------------------------------------------------
                                                                     2012        30%       75%          79%               28%               62%                              10%
                                                                     ----       ---       ---          ---               ---               ---                              ---
                                                                     2011        33%       61%          75%               31%               64%                              16%
                                                                     ----       ---       ---          ---               ---               ---                              ---
    I speak up or report it when I hear anti-gay remarks at work
    ------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                     2012        28%       67%          71%               25%               51%                              12%
                                                                     ----       ---       ---          ---               ---               ---                              ---
                                                                     2011        31%       57%          71%               29%               60%                              14%
                                                                     ----       ---       ---          ---               ---               ---                              ---
    I keep informed about issues of importance to the LGBT community
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                     2012        23%       71%          82%               19%               42%                              10%
                                                                     ----       ---       ---          ---               ---               ---                              ---
                                                                     2011        22%       58%          78%               19%               45%                               7%
                                                                     ----       ---       ---          ---               ---               ---                              ---
    I donate money to LGBT causes
    -----------------------------
                                                                     2012         6%       36%          51%                4%                8%                               2%
                                                                     ----       ---       ---          ---               ---               ---                              ---
                                                                     2011         6%       35%          47%                4%               10%                               2%
                                                                     ----       ---       ---          ---               ---               ---                              ---
    I attend LGBT events
    --------------------
                                                                     2012         6%       42%          54%                4%                7%                               2%
                                                                     ----       ---       ---          ---               ---               ---                              ---
                                                                     2011         6%       32%          46%                4%               11%                               2%
                                                                     ----       ---       ---          ---               ---               ---                              ---

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding

TABLE 2A
NONDISCRIMINATION POLICIES – SEXUAL ORIENTATION
How strongly do you agree or disagree with the following statements?
“How an employee does his or her job should be the standard for judging an employee, not their sexual orientation.”

Base: All adults

                               Total      LGBT        Gay/       Hetero-
                                                    Lesbian      sexual
                                                    -------      ------

    AGREE (NET)                       82%       93%          95%          83%
    ----------                       ---       ---          ---          ---
    Strongly agree                    72%       90%          93%          72%
    --------------                   ---       ---          ---          ---
    Somewhat agree                    10%        3%           2%          11%
    --------------                   ---       ---          ---          ---
    Neither agree nor disagree         7%        4%           *            7%
    --------------------------       ---       ---          ---          ---
    DISAGREE (NET)                     4%        2%           4%           4%
    -------------                    ---       ---          ---          ---
    Somewhat disagree                  1%        1%           2%           2%
    -----------------                ---       ---          ---          ---
    Strongly disagree                  3%        1%           3%           2%
    -----------------                ---       ---          ---          ---
    Not applicable                     4%        1%           *            4%
    --------------                   ---       ---          ---          ---
    Decline to answer                  4%        1%           *            3%
    -----------------                ---       ---          ---          ---

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding

TABLE 2B
NONDISCRIMINATION POLICIES – TREATED FAIRLY IN WORKPLACE
How strongly do you agree or disagree with the following statements?
“Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are treated fairly and equally in my workplace.”

Base: All adults

                               Total      LGBT        Gay/       Hetero-
                                                    Lesbian      sexual
                                                    -------      ------

    AGREE (NET)                       38%       50%          50%          37%
    ----------                       ---       ---          ---          ---
    Strongly agree                    26%       35%          33%          25%
    --------------                   ---       ---          ---          ---
    Somewhat agree                    12%       15%          17%          12%
    --------------                   ---       ---          ---          ---
    Neither agree nor disagree        16%        9%           7%          16%
    --------------------------       ---       ---          ---          ---
    DISAGREE (NET)                    10%       18%          16%           9%
    -------------                    ---       ---          ---          ---
    Somewhat disagree                  7%       10%           9%           6%
    -----------------                ---       ---          ---          ---
    Strongly disagree                  3%        9%           7%           3%
    -----------------                ---       ---          ---          ---
    Not applicable                    33%       22%          26%          34%
    --------------                   ---       ---          ---          ---
    Decline to answer                  5%        1%           1%           4%
    -----------------                ---       ---          ---          ---

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding

TABLE 3
ACTION TAKEN IF CEO OR COMPANY SUPPORTS SAME-SEX MARRIAGE
If a company’s CEO or a company takes a public stand in support of same-sex marriage or donates to groups that are working to adopt same-sex marriage, which of the following actions come closest to what you would most likely do?

Base: All adults

                                                          Hetero-
                                       Total     LGBT     sexual
                                       -----     ----     ------
                                         %        %          %
                                        ---      ---        ---
    DO NOTHING (NET)                          56       30          59
    ---------------                          ---      ---         ---
    Do nothing, since the CEO/owner
     is free to express their opinions
     or donate money to whomever they
     want
                                              39       18          41
    ---                                      ---      ---         ---
    Do nothing, because I just
     wouldn't care                            14        5          14
    --------------------------               ---      ---         ---
    Do nothing, since I would agree
     with the CEO/owner                        7        9           7
    -------------------------------          ---      ---         ---

    ACTIVELY SUPPORT THE COMPANY (NET)        15       48          13
    ----------------------------------       ---      ---         ---
    Actively support the company,
     since I would agree with the CEO/
     owner                                    11       42           9
    ----------------------------------       ---      ---         ---
    Actively support the company,
     since the CEO/owner is free to
     express their opinions or donate
     money to whomever they want               7       18           6
    ---------------------------------        ---      ---         ---

    BOYCOTT (NET)                             11       11          11
    ------------                             ---      ---         ---
    Participate in a boycott of the
     company                                   6        7           6
    -------------------------------          ---      ---         ---
    Encourage others to boycott the
     company                                   6        8           6
    -------------------------------          ---      ---         ---
    Urge local governments to ban the
     company                                   2        3           2
    ---------------------------------        ---      ---         ---
    Organize a boycott of the company          1        3           1
    ---------------------------------        ---      ---         ---
    Not sure                                  19       12          18
    --------                                 ---      ---         ---

About Out & Equal Workplace Advocates

Founded by Executive Director Selisse Berry, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates (commonly known as “Out & Equal”) is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization headquartered in San Francisco, California. Out & Equal is committed to ending employment discrimination for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees. Out & Equal believes that people should be judged by the work they do, not by their sexual orientation or gender identity. For more than 13 years, Out & Equal has been working with organizations to create places of employment whose cultures embrace the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees and those who support them.

Methodology

Harris Interactive conducted the study online within the United States between September 17 and 24, 2012, among 2,562 adults (ages 18 and over), of whom 2,105 indicated they are heterosexual and 371 self-identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (including an over-sample of lesbian and gay adults). Figures for age, sex, race, education, region and income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. In addition, the results for the gay and lesbian sample were weighted separately based on profiles of the gay and lesbian population that Harris Interactive has compiled through many different online surveys. Propensity score weighting also was used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words “margin of error” as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

About Witeck Communications, Inc.

Witeck Communications, Inc. (www.witeck.com) is a leading strategic marketing communications firm, specializing in outreach, respect and inclusion for diverse LGBT communities. With nearly two decades experience in this arena, Witeck Communications not only serves as a bridge between corporate America and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender consumers (LGBT), but also provides counsel to non-profit organizations that aim to educate the public on gay and lesbian issues or to better reach their LGBT membership.

In April 2003, American Demographics magazine identified Bob Witeck one of 25 experts over the last 25 years who has made significant contributions to the fields of demographics, market research, media and trend spotting for his pathbreaking work on the gay and lesbian market. His book, co-authored with Wesley Combs, “Business Inside Out: Capturing Millions of Brand Loyal Gay Customers” was published in the fall of 2006 by Kaplan Publishing. He has appeared in worldwide media outlets including Fortune, CNBC, Daily Telegraph, CNN, Reuters, Associated Press, Ad Age, the New York Times and the Washington Post.

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world’s leading market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll® and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers proprietary solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications research. Harris possesses expertise in a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing our client’s research investment. Serving clients in more than 196 countries and territories through our North American and European offices, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients–stay ahead of what’s next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

Press Contacts:
Stanley Ellicott, Communications Project Manager
Out & Equal Workplace Advocates
415-694-6509
sellicott@outandequal.org

Bob Witeck
Witeck Communications
202-887-8208
bob@witeck.com

Harris Interactive, Inc.
Corporate Communications
212-539-9600
press@harrisinteractive.com

SOURCE Harris Interactive


Source: PR Newswire