Left Behind: How LGBT Young People Are Excluded from Economic Prosperity

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Author(s): Center for American Progress

  • Zenen Jaimes Pérez

Published: July 16, 2014

Report Intro/Brief:
"The Millennial generation—the cohort of young people born in the early 1980s through the early 2000s—reflects the greatest level of generational diversity in U.S. history. More than at any other time, America’s young people are redefining the role of the workplace as a space in which workers from all types of diverse backgrounds come together. This is particularly true of this generation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, or LGBT, people. While their experiences may vary based on where in the country they live, LGBT Millennials have an especially unique workplace experience relative to older generations of LGBT people, given that they are, on the whole, coming out earlier and expressing their gender identities and sexual orientations in all facets of their lives, including on the job.

However, for LGBT young people, the basic American bargain—that people who work hard and meet their responsibilities can get ahead—has not held true. For the past several decades, unemployment for young people under age 25 has been more than twice the national average. Millions of young people are struggling to find work, and even those who have a job have no guarantee of economic security. Young people are stuck in low-quality jobs that lack adequate workplace protections. Moreover, these challenges are exacerbated for LGBT youth.

The combination of identity-linked discrimination and the overall weakness of the job market for young workers has not only led to high barriers of entry into the workplace but has also created a system that lacks fairness and equality for LGBT young people. This report outlines some of the problems faced by young people in the current job market and the added challenges LGBT young people encounter as they attempt to enter the workforce. This report also outlines policy recommendations to ensure that the basic bargain of upward economic mobility is attainable for LGBT young people. These policies will strengthen the middle class, lower poverty and homelessness for LGBT youth, and enhance job security for millions of young people."