Discrimination a Persistent Problem for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Alaskans, says American Civil Liberties Union
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tiffany McClain, LGBT Public Policy Coordinator, ACLU of Alaska, (907) 258-0044, x101
Jeffrey Mittman, (907) 258-0044, ext. 103
ANCHORAGE, AK, September 24, 2008 —The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Alaska released a report today revealing that many of the state’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) residents still live in fear of discrimination. The report shares the initial findings of an on-going survey of LGBT Alaskans.
A majority of respondents agree that discrimination is the largest problem they have personally faced as LGBT people living in Alaska. Some report having been harassed on the job, even fired, because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. But unlike other minorities who have been historically discriminated against, there are no significant state or local laws to shield them from such prejudice.
“The survey shows that LGBT people want the same thing as most other Americans. They want to be able to provide for themselves and their families without worrying about being refused or fired from a job because of who they share their lives with,” said Tiffany McClain, the ACLU of Alaska’s LGBT Public Policy Coordinator. “But in the state of Alaska they have no legal recourse if they suspect unfair treatment from an employer, landlord, or creditor.”
Responses to the survey have been collected via e-mail, online, and in person and include participants from Anchorage, Juneau, and Fairbanks. So far, 26% of respondents report having experienced discrimination or harassment in the workplace and an additional 18% have faced these obstacles outside of work. When the lack of legal recognition of their partnerships and families is counted as a form of discrimination, the proportion of LGBT people who have suffered the consequences of discrimination is even higher.
“We know that Americans are fair and favor equal treatment and ending discrimination,” said Jeffrey Mittman, Executive Director of the ACLU of Alaska. “As Alaskans hear about the families of their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender friends, neighbors, colleagues and relatives, they will want to see an end to workplace discrimination, and will support the right to visit a sick loved one in the hospital, or to protect the needs of children in LGBT families.” The initial survey findings can be found at http://www.akclu.org/AKCLU_LGBTresults.pdf.
This work is supported by generous grants from the Pride Foundation and the Tide Foundation’s State Equality Fund, a philanthropic partnership that includes the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr Fund, the Gill Foundation, and other anonymous donors.
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