At the American Public Health Association’s annual conference, Jose Bauermeister, Director of SexLab, presented “Sexuality-based discrimination and sexual minority young men’s health in the Detroit Metro Area.” This presentation used data from the United for HIV Integration and Policy (UHIP) Study, and looked at varying levels of sexuality related discrimination experienced by participants. The presentation included policy recommendations for structurally impacting workplace discrimination of sexual minorities.
Young men who have sex with men (YMSM) reported that they experienced sexuality-based work discrimination. In other words, they were penalized at work because of their identity as sexual minorities. Examples of this discrimination included being denied or fired from a job, the denial of a promotion or raise, and/or an unfair work evaluation. This type of workplace discrimination not only damages a person’s ability to succeed professionally, but this study found that it also negatively impacts their health.
This research is a call to action, especially for those states, like Michigan, which have no protection against workplace or housing discrimination. Implementation and enforcement of non-discrimination policies that protect sexual minorities against hiring discrimination are necessary. Structural interventions, using policy at the federal and local level, in addition to workplace trainings on cultural sensitivity regarding gender identity and expression, are methods to combat the discrimination this study captured.