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Justice, Fairness, Inclusion, and Performance.

Pride Month 2024: A Focus on Progress at Businesses and Organizations

By: Lorenda Naylor

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The U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia (2020) ushered in historical employment protections for LGBT people. The word “sex” in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (as amended) now includes sexual orientation and gender identity.

The court’s decision provides LGBT employment discrimination protections for the first time in U.S. history. In addition, it prevents married LGBT couples, who were granted the federal right to marry in 2015, from being fired at work. In the LGBT community this was known as “married on Friday and fired on Monday.”

This watershed decision legally prohibits job discrimination and allows for legal recourse through the federal courts and continuing recourse through the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The ruling is also supported by President’s Biden’s executive order, and an additional 24 states, D.C., and three U.S. territories have passed laws codifying anti-discrimination employment policies based on sexual orientation and gender identity (Movement Advancement Project, 2024).

As a result, in the years since, the tide has turned on employer responsibilities and legal obligations for the public, private, and non-profit sectors. At a minimum, employment protections for the LGBT community must be legally enforced. Ideally, organizations should include diversity, inclusion, and equity into their organizational culture so LGBT employes feel welcomed and included. LGBTQ friendly organizations are often found out by word of mouth, on social media, or by rankings. Several national organizations provide employer rankings to assist its members in finding organizations that are supportive and inclusive of LGBTQ people. The Human Rights Campaign utilizes a Corporate Equality Index (CEI) as a benchmark on benefits, policies, and practices to identify the best U.S. employers for LGBTQ people.

This includes various industries in the private sector and the federal reserve banks. These standards include: 1) workforce protections, 2) inclusive benefits, 3) inclusive culture, and 4) corporate social responsibility.

When HRC started utilizing the CEI in 2002 only 13 companies met the benchmark standards.

Today, 545 U.S. employers meet LGBTQ CEI benchmark standards; signaling a significant increase for LGBTQ inclusion in the private sector. In addition, a 2022 report by GlassDoor (Zhao, May 24, 2022) reported the following U.S. employers as the best places for LGBTQ-identifying people to work: 1) Google, 2) Microsoft, 3) HEB, 4) Lululemon, 5) Deloitte, 6) Bath & Body Works, 7) Progressive, 8) IBM, 9) Walt Disney, and 10) Apple. In regards to the public sector, approximately 6% of federal employees identify as LGBT.

The Partnership for Public Service has also identified and ranked the best federal government agencies to work for based on leadership as well as diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).

Based on all federal employee viewpoints, the following three agencies/organizations rank highest on the DEI category: NASA (85%), the intelligence community (81%), and the Department of Health and Human Services (77%) (National Public Service for Partnership, 2024).

However, federal employees who identify as LGBT rate their federal experience on the DEI category lower, 65.3%, indicating a different perspective than federal employees in general. These reports are based on cross-sectional surveys and reflect a point in time count, viewpoints and perceptions are subject to change. As time passes and as agencies fully embrace the DEI culture, these rankings will likely increase.

The Bostock ruling (2022), which provides anti-discrimination employment protections to LGBT people, is a landmark decision that has galvanized both the LGBTQ movement and the DEI movement. It is expected to continue to have a positive and lasting impact on both private and public service employment for LGBT people.

Cited Reports and Where to go for more:

Human Rights Campaign. (November 2023). Corporate Equality Index, 2023-2024 Report: Rating Workplaces on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Transgender and Queer Equality.

National Partnership for Public Service. (2024). 2023 Best Places to Work in the Federal Government.

Zhao, D. (2022, May 24). The LGBTQ+ Employee Experience: Pride Month June 2022. GlassDoor.


American Civil Liberties Union


Human Rights Campaign

Movement Advancement Project

National Center for Lesbian Rights

National Center for Transgender Equality

National LGBT Chamber of Commerce

National LGBTQ Task Force


Prepared for the National Academy of Public Administration by:

Lorenda A. Naylor, she, her, hers

Professor & Faculty Fellow, Schaefer Center for Public Policy

CUSF, Executive Board Member

Program Director, Undergraduate Degree in Public Policy

and International Affairs

University of Baltimore

College of Public Affairs

10 W. Preston

Baltimore, MD 21201

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