Majority of Americans Support Federal Nondiscrimination Protections for LGBTQ People

Seventy percent (70%) of all Americans say that a federal law is needed to protect LGBT people from discrimination in employment, public accommodations, housing and credit, according to a new survey conducted by The Harris Poll®. This reflects a slight increase from 2016, when a similar Out & Equal commissioned Harris Poll survey reported 67% of Americans in favor of this policy.

Significantly, and by a similar margin, 68% of Americans say they are likely to shop at or support businesses that take a public stance in support of LGBTQ equality. These and other poll results were reported in the 2018 Out & Equal Workplace Survey, released in part today. This study was conducted online between September 13 and 17, by The Harris Poll® in conjunction with Out & Equal Workplace Advocates among 2,006 U.S. adults, of whom 184 self-identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender. First launched in 2002, the unique Out & Equal Workplace Survey is a highly trusted barometer of attitudes surrounding LGBTQ issues in the workplace and the longest-running national opinion survey of its kind.

Erin Uritus, CEO of Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, which commissioned this research in partnership with The Harris Poll®, reacted to the outcomes: “What began as a ripple two decades ago is now a sea change in corporate America. The mission of Out & Equal has always been to educate, advocate and transform workplaces – and today we congratulate corporate leaders transforming our society with their outspoken dedication to equality.” Uritus added, “We see unmistakable evidence here that Americans strongly favor businesses, with their wallets and their words, when those businesses also stand up for equality principles.”

The newest Harris Poll research for Out & Equal also revisited 2016 attitudes on employer responsibilities towards their transgender workers, specifically finding that:

  • 74% Americans believe employers should learn everyone’s pronouns and preferred name and use them in the workplace (73% in 2016).
  • 65% Americans believe that employers should intervene when an employee regularly misuses a co-worker’s pronouns or preferred name (63% in 2016).
  • 58% Americans believe that regularly misusing a colleague’s pronouns or preferred name is a form of workplace harassment (59% in 2016).
  • Significantly, 54% Americans believe employers should make health insurance coverage available to transgender people who wish to seek gender affirmation surgery (44% in 2016).

The 2018 survey explored new ground as well by asking Americans their perceptions of gender identity, with 4 out of 10 believing that one is either exclusively male or female, but nearly one-third (31%) concluding that there is not an exclusive binary definition of gender. One quarter (28%) of those surveyed say they are not sure.


Half of LGBT Americans (51%) surveyed say they have moved or considered a move to new locations to live in a community more accepting of all sexual orientations/gender identities. In contrast, 89% of non-LGBT Americans say they have not moved nor considered such a move for those reasons.

2018 Out & Equal Workplace Summit
The 2018 Out & Equal Workplace Summit takes place this week in Seattle, Washington, successfully attracting a record 6,000 attendees from more than 32 countries. LGBTQ executives, 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 participating in this year’s Summit, focused on achieving workplace equality and inclusion.

For more information about the Summit, please visit

For complete results of the 2018 Out & Equal Workplace Survey, please visit


This Harris Poll was conducted online (in partnership with Out & Equal with guidance and support from Witeck Communications) within the United States between September 13 and 17, 2018, among 2,006 adults (ages 18 and over), of whom 184 self-identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender. 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. 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, The Harris Poll 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 The Harris Poll 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 Poll, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

About Out & Equal Workplace Advocates

Out & Equal Workplace Advocates is the world’s premiere nonprofit organization dedicated to achieving lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workplace equality. Out & Equal collaborates with Fortune 1000 companies and government agencies to provide a safe, welcoming and supportive environment for LGBT employees.

For over two decades, since 1996, Out & Equal has worked with executives, human resources professionals and Employee Resource Groups to provide leadership and professional development, education and research.

Out & Equal hosts an annual Workplace Summit, where employees and experts from around the world gather to share strategies and best practices to create workplace equality, inclusive of all sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions. For more information go to

About The Harris Poll®
The Harris Poll is one of the longest running surveys in the U.S.  tracking public opinion, motivations and social sentiment since 1963 that is now part of Harris Insights & Analytics, a global consulting and market research firm that delivers social intelligence for transformational times. We work with clients in three primary areas; building twenty-first-century corporate reputation, crafting brand strategy and performance tracking, and earning organic media through public relations research. Our mission is to provide insights and advisory to help leaders make the best decisions possible. For more information, or to see other recent polls, visit us at and follow us on Twitter @HarrisPoll.

About Witeck Communications, Inc.

Witeck Communications, Inc. ( is a leading strategic marketing communications firm, specializing in outreach, advocacy and engagement with LGBTQ communities.  In 2003, American Demographics magazine identified Bob Witeck one of 25 experts over the last 25 years who has made significant contributions to demographics, market research, media and trend spotting for his path breaking work on the LGBTQ market.