Letters from a Lesbian December 2014

Dear World,

HRC, the Human Rights Campaign, the biggest LGBT civil rights organizations in the country has published the 2015 Corporate Equality Index. In it, 137 companies based in New York are listed. The numbers are increasingly positive for the LGBT community, which is good considering some rather sad statistics. Although we continue to push forward we are nowhere near full equality.

According to the American Psychological Association, similarly qualified gay men earn up to 32 per cent less than heterosexual men. As well, although only 5.9 percent of the general population earns an income of less than $10,000, a significantly higher 14 percent of the LGBT community falls within this earnings group.

The 2009 Census shows that the median income for a Hispanic family is only $39,730 compared to a white family’s $62,545. The website inequality.org published a report that showed that the median net worth of a white family in 2010 was $139,800. That of a non-white family was a stark $21,900. Lastly, according to the2012 Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average weekly income of a white male is $879. A Latino’s average weekly income is $592. For women, a Caucasian woman’s median weekly salary is $710 while a Latina only brings home $521.

As Hispanics and LGBTs, we have not yet achieved total economic equality.

So what does all of this mean for us?

Well, the HRC data shows that a whopping 366 companies have a top rating of 100. This is the highest number of companies to achieve such a rating since this survey began in 2002. That number alone shows us how much progress we have made in only thirteen years.

It is wonderful to see companies such as the Ford Motor Company, Hewlett-Packard, AT&T, CVS, and JP Morgan Chase boast their top 100 ratings. However, one score requires serious attention. That belongs to Exxon Mobil’s unbelievably low ranking of -25. Even if they are the only company that rated at such a horrendous level, it reminds us that we still have a long way to go.

Thankfully, New York is a state that prohibits discrimination based on orientation. Seven hundred eighty one companies were rated in the 2015 CEI. One hundred thirty seven of those were New York companies. A tremendous 78 of those 137 companies rated 100 per cent. Another 25 earned 90 per cent or more. Ten earned 80 percent or greater. That is a total of 113 out of 137. That means that about 82% of those New York companies scored at eighty per cent or higher. That is a tremendous number. What an incredibly uplifting statistic! This is what can give us hope. We live in a progressive state, as well as state that many major companies call home. We are fortunate to have the statistics that we do. Unfortunately, there are still many states and companies that score significantly lower than us.

The HRC’s 2015 CEI is a report that gives us hope. We are seeing improvements in the work place as Hispanics and LGBTs. We are not yet at complete equality, but with each year, we see more progress. Full equality may not be ours yet, but it is within our grasp.

Live life in your own special way,

Lauren    

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