Many people can agree that at the center of the American dream is the right to pursue a career that will provide stability for yourself and your family. Of course, for some Americans, this dream is further from reality than for others.

Unfortunately, many hardworking LGBT professionals face discrimination, unemployment, wage gaps and a lack of legal protections just because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Though much headway has been made in recent years in the form of anti-discrimination legislation, there is still a lot of progress to be made until everyone experiences fairness and equality in the workplace.

Here are a few fascinating facts about the LGBT community in the workplace:

  1. You can search a list of different companies' non-discrimination policies here.
  2. President Obama's recent Executive Order on LGBT Workplace Discrimination marked a historic victory for civil rights as it prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
  3. Fewer than one in five LGBT workers in the U.S. (18 percent) agree with the statement "This is a workplace entirely free from homophobia."
  4. One in six respondents in the U.S. LGBT2020 study indicated that they have been harassed at work.
  5. In the United States, according to a recent study, 1.6% of the population is gay or lesbian and 0.7 are bisexual.
  6. In the U.S., 1% of all households containing couples are same-sex.
  7. The transgender population faces double the normal rate of unemployment.
  8. 78% of transgender people felt more comfortable after their transition, and thus believe their workplace performance improved.
  9. 61 countries prohibit discrimination in employment because of sexual orientation. In related news, the world has just shy of 200 countries.
  10. As of this writing, there is not any U.S. federal law that protects the rights of LGBT employees.
  11. A national survey of 1200 registered voters found that 63% of those surveyed favor a federal law that protects LGBT people from employment discrimination.
  12. As of April 2013, 88% of Fortune 500 companies have non-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation.
  13. Of closeted LGBT employees, 31% fear losing connections with coworkers, and 23% fear they may not be offered advancement opportunities.
  14. More than one third of LGBT employees feel compelled to lie about their personal lives at work.
  15. Despite their hardships, the LGBT community has a high discretionary income--gay men and lesbians spend an average of more than $500 a month on discretionary items.
  16. Same-sex couples, on average, have higher employment levels, as well as higher median incomes compared to opposite sex couples.
  17. 86% of small business owners who have adopted nondiscrimination policies report that the policies cost them "nothing or next to nothing."

No one should have to go to work in fear of being discriminated against or even being fired for simply being who they are. Having a better view of all the facts surrounding LGBT workers should allow you to not only better related to the LGBT community, but hopefully be a part of the change most of us would like to see.