Is Your Employer An LGBTQ+ Corporate Citizen? Setting a New Standard in Allyship for Businesses

In January, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation launched the first-ever report of its kind, The LGBTQ+ Corporate Citizen: A Framework for Emerging Best Practices in Allyship to offer guidance to companies that want to achieve best-in-class corporate citizenship for LGBTQ+ equality.

Starting with the launch of the Corporate Equality Index in 2002, HRC and the HRC Foundation have spent decades working with businesses in the fight for LGBTQ+ civil rights. The CEI created an environment for businesses to support their LGBTQ+ employees and advance significant gains inside the workplace like inclusion of spousal and partner benefits, transgender-inclusive benefits and gender-transition guidelines, to name a few. In addition, HRC has long sought to galvanize the corporate sector in support of legal protections, including in the decades-long fight for marriage equality culminating in hundreds of large employers supporting passage of the Respect for Marriage Act in 2022. HRC’s Business Coalition for the Equality Act and Count Us In Pledge continue to galvanize large employers at the federal and state levels in public support of the LGBTQ+ community at a time when anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric and attacks are mounting.

Yet, more must be done. Corporate allyship is a journey that requires ongoing education and action. As we enter what is expected to be another historic year for anti-LGBTQ+ efforts, The LGBTQ+ Corporate Citizen is designed to help close what we call “the Ally Gap'' for our corporate allies — the space between the intent for allyship and the action taken to get there. In this report, HRC examines how corporations can work across all of their business operations to advance inclusion, safety and flourishing of LGBTQ+ people within and outside their organizations.

For over 20 years, HRC Foundation has engaged with companies to help them understand that being allies means so much more than a rainbow logo during Pride month or implementing foundational policies and practices to create inclusive health benefits. This report provides a whole-of-business approach to LGBTQ+ allyship. In a time when our community is under unprecedented attacks, our goal is to equip businesses with the resources needed to help us close the ally gap. The six-pillar framework outlined in the report can be used to engage in critical conversations across operations and with the LGBTQ+ community, so businesses can position themselves as leading LGBTQ+ corporate citizens.

Eric Bloem, Vice President of Programs and Corporate Advocacy


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Why This Report and Why Now? A State of Emergency

The LGBTQ+ community is facing a national state of emergency. Already this year, HRC is opposing 360+ anti-LGBTQ+ bills with three passed into law in Ohio and Utah (2) in just the first few weeks of session. In this challenging and dangerous political and cultural landscape for LGBTQ+ people, businesses are uniquely positioned to live out their stated values — and benefit their bottom lines — by activating their core business operations in service of inclusion and belonging.

In many ways, businesses continue to step ahead — 128 new companies joined the Corporate Equality Index in 2023, and 582 out of the 1,384 participating companies earned the Equality 100 award. When companies center LGBTQ+ inclusion in their values for employees, customers and clients, they see positive results. In states where lawmakers are rolling back protections for LGBTQ+ people, employers are often a critical backstop by continuing to offer benefits and protections inside the workplace. Unfortunately, allied companies are now being targeted for their support with harassment and bullying from far-right organizations who seek to undermine brand reputation and earnings in support of an anti-LGBTQ+ agenda.

Companies are at a crossroads: They may want to support diversity, equity and inclusion efforts as well as public policy goals that help the LGBTQ+ and other marginalized communities, but they are also being threatened for that support and must weigh the impact.

By The Numbers: The Case for LGBTQ+ Corporate Citizenship

Business leaders whose core values are non-negotiable and who want to future-proof their business know that including, celebrating and supporting the LGBTQ+ community across all aspects of operations makes for good long-term business strategy, one that is not diminished by a manufactured political environment in which anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric is once again not only tolerated but advanced by some lawmakers, activists and media figures.

7.2% of Americans identify as LGBTQ+
8 in 10 support non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people
28% of Gen-Z adults identify as LGBTQ+

The workforce is increasingly out and allied with the LGBTQ+ community, and as younger, more inclusive generations fill the workforce, they bring with them expectations that their employers reflect their values of inclusion and belonging. Gallup reported in 2022 that 7.2% of American adults identify as LGBTQ+, the highest percentage reported since Gallup began assessing such identification in 2012. 8 in 10 Americans now support non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people. And just this January, the Public Religion Research Institute found that 28% of Gen Z adults identify as LGBTQ+, which is much higher than other generations, including Millennials. In addition, the Deloitte Global 2022 Gen Z and Millennial Survey states that 52% of Gen Z and Millennial employees who were unsatisfied with the progress their current employer was making in creating a diverse and inclusive environment said they intended to leave their job within two years. Gen Z adults are beginning their careers now, and expect their employers to uphold values of inclusion and belonging.

The number of self-identified LGBTQ+ consumers and their allies is rising, too, and with them, the potential for brand loyalty to companies that live out their values. There is a growing expectation for companies to live out their stated allyship to the LGBTQ+ community. Given that the LGBTQ+ community represents $3.4 trillion in global spending, and $1.4 trillion in the United States, corporate brand and reputation on LGBTQ+ issues is fast becoming a business imperative. Americans are two times more likely to buy and use brands that support LGBTQ+ rights, and 71% of LGBTQ+ adults in the U.S. are more likely to buy products from companies that purposefully reach out to the LGBTQ+ community.


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As corporate allies continue to innovate in advancing LGBTQ+ equality, even in this hostile political environment, employees, employee resource groups and advocates are also seeking ways to communicate what we mean when we say best-in-class allyship for LGBTQ+ people. The LGBTQ+ Corporate Citizen report provides a framework for best practices in action through our six pillar model: Workforce, Supply Chain, Products & Services, Marketing, Corporate Philanthropy and Advocacy & Political Engagement.

Workforce: Business leaders are investing in understanding their LGBTQ+ workforce to better support, recruit and promote LGBTQ+ workers. However, they must also learn to do this work when under fire from anti-LGBTQ+ groups to ensure the safety and inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community in their organization.

Supply Chain: Business leaders likely have robust systems in place to monitor and address human rights issues across operations. However, businesses can do more to bring an LGBTQ+ lens to this work, which will allow them to identify to what extent they are upholding their commitments to LGBTQ+ safety and inclusion across their suppliers and vendors. For example, businesses can seek out and support LGBTQ+ suppliers, building inclusion into the supply chain and driving economic empowerment to the community.

Products & Services: Business leaders have tremendous opportunity to understand LGBTQ+ consumers. Companies can invest in understanding LGBTQ+ customers — including individual identities within the LGBTQ+ community as well as intersectional identities, investigate where they may be unnecessarily reinforcing gender binaries and look to LGBTQ+ founders and innovators for inspiration and partnership.

Marketing:. Corporate America has a long history of using LGBTQ+ storytelling to change hearts and minds and build brands. Today, the imperative is to integrate LGBTQ+ stories and identities as a part of all marketing efforts, rather than in one-off campaigns or only during Pride month. Businesses must ensure that LGBTQ+ voices are empowered, protected and part of the conversation from start to finish.

Corporate Philanthropy: Cause marketing campaigns are a well-established tool to raise money and awareness for LGBTQ+ causes, and should be done in ways that drive meaningful, sustainable support to LGBTQ+ organizations, particularly those that are led by trans and Black, Indigenous and people of color. Companies should also investigate their employee matching programs to ensure they are not giving to anti-LGBTQ hate groups, directly or indirectly.

Advocacy & Political Engagement:. There are multiple strategies companies can utilize to leverage political capital and political giving to influence policy at the local, state and federal levels in support of equal rights for the LGBTQ+ community: forming and joining coalitions to create strength in numbers, combining public and private actions as conditions dictate, sharing business impacts with lawmakers, right-sizing corporate donations with values and activating employees and customers to get involved.

Help Us Amplify: Read, Use and Share!

This report is the first of its kind. It is not a scorecard, as this is a fast-moving and evolving field of inquiry. Corporations have the unique power and influence to stand together against anti-LGBTQ+ pressures in a meaningful way. Implementing these practices will help to close the ally gap by building support that is desperately needed in our current national state of emergency.

We encourage you to share this report with your employers, employee resource groups, your own networks and leaders in your communities as a framework for education, activation and accountability.

To read the full report, visit


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