LGBTQ+ in Corporate America: Fortune 500 Companies Lead the Way

Over the past decade, there has been remarkable progress in advancing LGBTQ+ rights in the workplace worldwide. As society’s understanding of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities grows, major corporations are actively creating inclusive environments for their LGBTQ+ employees. 

State of LGBTQ+ in Workplace 

 A notable trend observed during the last ten years is that highly successful companies are more likely to foster inclusivity and implement LGBTQ+ policies.  

While one might assume that this trend is driven solely by regulations, the reality is that it reflects a rapid shift in opinion among millennials and Gen Z, who are actively campaigning for LGBTQ+ rights. 

Milestones in the LGBTQ+ movement, such as achieving marriage equality, same-sex adoption rights, and fundamental rights for transgender people, have been influential factors in driving change.  

Subsequently, major corporations in the United States have increasingly embraced the principles of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEI&B).  

They have implemented well-defined policies to promote fairness and prevent discrimination, demonstrating their commitment to creating an inclusive workplace. 

The rise of companies promoting LGBTQ+ policies from 21% in 2012 to a staggering 83% in 2022 reflects the dramatic shift the LGBTQ+ movement went through.  

Key Political Milestones That Helped LGBTQ+  

While there are a multitude of reasons for the growth of LGBTQ+ on many levels, let’s discuss a few critical political milestones that significantly propelled the movement. 

1. Obama’s Support for Same-Sex Marriage: 

In 2012, President Obama made history by becoming the first sitting US president to openly express support for same-sex marriage. The Democratic Party also endorsed gay marriage during the same year, further highlighting the growing acceptance of same-sex unions. 

2. Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) Ruling: 

In 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional. This landmark decision granted federal benefits to same-sex married couples in the 13 states where marriage equality was already recognized.  

3. Marriage Equality: 

A 2015 Supreme Court verdict marked a major LGBTQ+ rights victory. The court affirmed marriage equality nationwide, declaring that same-sex couples have the constitutional right to marry.   

Marriage Equality, Obama’s support, and DOMA Ruling collectively contributed to the steep rise (2012-14) in the percentage of Fortune 500 companies adopting LGBTQ+ policies. 

4. LGBTQ+ Representation in Politics: 

The year 2018 saw a remarkable increase in LGBTQ+ representation in US politics. Over 150 LGBTQ+ candidates achieved electoral success in the midterm elections. These victories included the election of governors, senators, and members of Congress who identified as LGBTQ+.  

5. Trans Rights in the Workplace: 

In 2020, over 15,000 people gathered at the Brooklyn Museum to march in support of Black trans lives, mirroring protests across the globe. In the same year, the US Supreme Court expanded the Civil Rights Act to embrace LGBTQ+ workers, including transgender persons. 

The Takeaway 

The progress made in advancing LGBTQ+ rights in the workplace is a testament to the evolving societal attitudes and the tireless advocacy efforts of the LGBTQ+ community.  

Major corporations have increasingly embraced inclusive policies, recognizing the importance of fostering diverse and accepting work environments.  

While there is still work to be done, these milestones provide hope for a more inclusive future where everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, can thrive in the workplace.