Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity

Examples of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination

  • You’re fired for being gay, straight, bi, or trans
  • You’re harassed at work for being gay, straight, bi, or trans
  • You’re treated differently after you come out
  • Your employer refuses to talk about you using your preferred gender pronouns
  • Your employer refuses you access to the restroom or locker room consistent with your gender identity

You can’t be punished for being who you are

Since July 1, 2007, it has been illegal in Iowa to discriminate against someone in employment (as well as education, public accommodations, credit, and housing) on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Harassment based on either protected class is also illegal.

This does not give employees who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, asexual, queer, or anything in between “special rights.” The law protects all people—including straight people—from being harassed or discriminated against because of their sexual orientation.

Gender Identity

Gender identity is the personal sense of one’s own gender, which can be the same as the individual’s assigned sex at birth or different. It is the inner concept of who you feel you are, which can be male, female, both, neither, or fluid (meaning, it changes). It is not the same thing as sexual orientation.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity Discrimination: