Here we are in the year 2014 and LGBT rights are front and center. You hear about same-sex marriage moving forward, ENDA being championed by major Corporations of America, scores of the LGBT community and their advocates ushering in the much needed and deserved change. However, have you taken a second to take a step back and look at the face of the LGBT community? It is much more diverse than that of the heterosexual counterpart. The Latino component of the LGBT community is over 1.4 million people strong as reported by the UCLA Williams Institute. That is 4.3% of the United States Hispanic population. Once you get your head around that, you have to ask the obvious question: Where are they? That’s not the pictures I see on television, right?
Understand that LGBT Latinos generally still live in predominantly Latino communities versus traditional multicultural LGBT communities and are to a higher degree not open and out at work like their non-Latino white counterparts. These same people on the other hand have a higher household income than their heterosexual counterparts ($28,000 vs $20,000) and higher education (26% have degrees vs 14% of opposite sex couples). And Latina females in same-sex relationships have a MUCH higher income than their heterosexual counterparts ($28,000 each vs $11,000). Are the wheels spinning yet?
We already know how tremendously important it is for a business to be real and deliberate about creating a culture of diversity and inclusion within the workplace as well as projecting that message to the outside world for the benefit of their customers both existing and potential. However, let’s go past the broad strokes and get a bit specific to touch a market that you most likely didn’t know you were missing: The LGBT Latino community. In one of my previous articles I made mention of diversity hiring and avoiding cookie cutter hiring practices. As a business, it would be to your advantage to position yourself as inviting to the Latino LGBT and their advocate families and friends. It just makes good business sense and furthermore states the business case for diversity.
What we are saying here is that you are not in business for yourself. You are in business for your customers and your employees. If done correctly it can lead to a successful and powerful organization that has a huge and always growing number of brand loyal customers who are with you not because of your price point but because of your support of their values and beliefs.
Supporting ENDA is a great and important way to get into the story of this economic force that you want to be a part of. ENDA paves the way for protections against harassment and discrimination in the workplace due to sexual orientation and gender identity. To quote Tico Almeida: “We realize that ENDA would not completely level the playing field for LGBT Latino workers, however ENDA would go a long way to ensure that LGBT Latino workers would have the protections they need.” Understand that these protections also play a part in bringing you business. Be ahead of the game and be a disruptive and relevant force in your industry. As business owners, it’s time to start paying closer attention.
Tonie Snell is the CEO and Chief Job Mingler for 925HIRE, LLC. 925HIRE is a full-service staffing firm dedicated to a diverse and equitable workplace. Specializing in building culturally diverse expert staffing and training solutions throughout the United States.