many states allow discrimination against LGBTQ people, so it’s legal for many nonprofits to openly discriminate this way.

BMP’s Sean Thomas-Breitfield said, “What stands out is that the nonprofit sector is just as bad as the rest of the work force. I think we should hold ourselves to a higher standard than the for-profit sector, in all kinds of regards, especially when there is not legal protection against discrimination.”

Mirroring the findings of the first report in this series, Race to Lead, LGBTQ “people of color aspire to be nonprofit leaders more than their white counterparts” and “there were not significant differences between LGBTQ people of color and whites in terms of their education, salaries, current roles, or years in the sector.”

LGBTQ respondents had the opportunity to submit stories about their experiences regarding leadership in the nonprofit sector. Of the 850 respondents in the study who identified as LGBTQ, 108 shared stories about being passed over for promotions, being outed, and being fired.

According to the report, “the intensity of the write-in responses about the negative impact of respondents’ sexuality on their career…reflected a real problem with biases against LGBTQ people in too many nonprofits.”

Local political context is also a major factor in the intensity of homophobia respondents faced, particularly in the Bible Belt where many nonprofits “require a statement of faith or have uninclusive work environments.” Respondents shared stories about having to move to more urban areas when looking for leadership opportunities.

However, one of the report’s key findings is that though LGBTQ people of color face compounding barriers, race was the most important diversity dimension impacting their opportunity to advance into leadership roles: “The combination of race, class, gender/gender identity, and sexuality resulted in LGBTQ respondents of color reporting more challenges than either straight people of color or LGBTQ whites.”

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