Job hunting has always been a major challenge for non-conforming gender students. LGBTQ community has gone a long way to making the working environment safe and friendly for its members, turning 3% of Fortune 500 companies into the ones which accept non-discrimination policies and provide benefits for gay employees. Still, almost 20% of LGBTQ students face discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity when looking for a job. It means that the community members have to be aware of their rights, know how to protect themselves against discrimination at the workplace, and ensure that the company they enter will give them a favorable ground for self-development.
What are LGBTQ+ Workplace Rights
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act 1964 states that any kind of discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, pregnancy, or national origin is prohibited in the workplace. Though this act came into force in the middle of the previous century its implementation as regards LGBTQ members was questionable. Thus, in July 2020 the Supreme Court decided that the provisions of the Civil Rights Act shall cover the rights and freedoms of LGBTQ employees.
While some people are sure that the ruling is a major step towards an inclusive society, experts say that this step hasn’t made the workplace equal for all. There are some legal gaps, such as unclarity about the state of LGBTQ workers in small businesses with less than 15 employees, the issue of washing closets for transgender people, and medical benefits gaps that have to be filled as soon as possible.
LGBTQ Support: Job Search and Interview ProcessTips
Despite the fact that more and more companies claim to become inclusive, still there is a great number of obsolete-minded organizations. So to settle down in a place where gay employees will be cherished for who they are, it’s essential to keep in mind a couple of tips to make job search effective.
Don’t Leave out LGBTQ-Related Experience
Tailoring your CV before applying for a job is something basic. But if you have been involved in activities for LGBTQ organizations you may be in two minds if it should be added to the resume. And the answer is “yes” for sure. Even if you are not thinking of coming out, mentioning such experience will show that you have a diverse skillset which is an asset for any employer.
Display Your Skills
Being gay, lesbian, or transgender doesn’t mean you have to be a backbencher. You have a lot to share and bring to a place you work in, inspire others, and show your employer that you possess unique knowledge, creative ideas, and the courage to share them. Even in an LGBTQ-friendy environment people sometimes tend to play the second violin because of their inner identity-related obstacles. Forget them and be who you want to be.
Find Your Community at Work
Being around people who can give you support and who are on the same wave is a huge booster for work productivity and a favorable mental state. However even if you’re the only LGBTQ member at your workplace, you can still find people who are understanding, progressive, and free of identity preconceptions.
Look for LGBTQ-Friendly Companies
The last and most obvious tip is to do a brief research on all-gender inclusive companies in your state or country. Knowing that your employer respects the rights of LGBTQ and provides certain benefits for one’s workers will definitely ease the tensions both before and after getting hired. The quality of the working environment is 50% of the work outcome, so applying for an LGBTQ-friendly job is already half of your success. Here are a couple of LGBTQ-open workplace resources to consider:
ProGay Jobs is more than just a major board of jobs for gay people. The website also displays information about the companies which provide benefits for LGBTQ members, gives tips on how to enhance your resume, and ways to support the LGBTQ community.
Apart from the LGBTQ-friendly job search option, Out Professionals offers an array of events where you can meet other gay and transgender people, share your work experience, and encourage others on their way.
Pink Jobs has hundreds of positions for non-conforming gender students. It also runs a blog with curious articles both for workers and employers on how to create a truly inclusive and friendly environment for all.
Another comprehensive website aimed at enhancing LGBTQ community members’ wellbeing at the workplace and promoting events, training, and meetings to address the issues gay and transgender people face at work.
Top LGBTQ-Friendly Environments
What does it mean to build an inclusive workspace? It’s not about silent acceptance of non-conforming gender employees, it’s much more. Being inclusive means being supportive, promoting equality in every dimension, providing health care benefits, and being ready to stand for your choice. Check out the best companies which have successfully coped with the above-mentioned.
Intuit is considered to be a leading company that has been contributing to the LGBTQ community for more than 10 years now. The company culture has the Pride network at its core, fights for the Domestic Partnership Benefits, promotes Safe Space Workplace initiative, organizes fundraising events to contribute to the community.
During the last 5 years, this company has proved its commitment to the ideas of inclusiveness, equality, and integrity by getting 100/100 rating points in the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index.
CIA established an Agency Network for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Officers and Allies known as ANGLE. It promotes the rights of the community members and each year creates a research topic on how LGBTQ members positively change the workplace.
Google is also a flagship of inclusiveness and LGBT support. It partners up with the community in its advertising campaigns, promotes the ideas and values of non-conforming gender employees on the daily basis.
Uber has established the UberPride community which is targeted at turning the company’s environment into one where everyone is welcome, regardless of race, religion, gender, or identity. The company has positioned itself as a perfect workplace, getting 100 points in CEI for a couple of years in a row.
The Coming Out Dilemma
Showing your inner self to the world is not an easy task. Working with people of various backgrounds, you can’t be sure about their reactions and attitudes. The only thing you can be sure about is that coming out will help you take off the mask and start living on your terms. Though coming out is often thought to be a single-time act, once done, it will have to be done every time. So is it worth it? Let’s see the pros and cons.
Nothing feels better than not being afraid to be yourself. Hiding behind a mask every day, putting constraints on your actions, ideas and words is a major stress that may lead to even greater mental consequences. Coming out might be uncomfortable, but overcoming those first minutes, you unleash yourself till the end of your life.
Coming out shows that you’re not afraid of telling people the truth you’re comfortable with. Courage attracts and makes others respect you and your choice. People who are out of the community can learn about it only from its members, so be the ambassador.
Paving the Way
You know that coming out in an unprepared workplace is awkward and uncomfortable. Disclosing yourself and educating your colleagues about the LGBTQ, its needs and issues will make coming out easier to the next LGBTQ person in your company.
Although any kind of discrimination is against the law, it still can’t be eliminated. Even if not shown in public, you may encounter silent discrimination and feel awkward which is not the best feeling contributing to productive work and stable mental wellbeing.
Discrimination may give you an impetus to go for another company. And if to look at it from the bright side, changing a job where you are unwanted can hardly be considered as a con. Still, life situations differ greatly, so if you feel that it’s not the time yet, better take your time and work out a plan B. But if you’re not strictly limited in choice, check out the list of LGBTQ-friendly jobs and enjoy the place you work for.
Building an Inclusive Workplace
Creating a strong, accepting and warm-hearted corporate culture requires dedication, education, and will. To avoid professionals leaving your company because of feeling discriminated against, you should apply various means ranging from education to providing household benefits to LGBTQ employees. If you don’t know where to start, start here.
- Beyond Diversity LGBT Guide
- Out at Work Toolkit
- How to Make Your Workplace More LGBT Friendly (& Why You Should)
- Ways to Support LGBT Employees
- Why an LGBT-friendly Work Environment is Good for Business
- Ways to Create an LGBT Friendly Workplace
Where to Turn to if You Face Discrimination at Work
Discrimination is neither normal nor lawful. If you feel that your rights at work are violated on the basis of gender identity, visit one of the resources below to seek professional aid.
American Civil Liberties Union LGBT Project is an organization that provides all necessary professional means to eliminate gender discrimination all over the US.
CenterLink is literally a link between the LGBTQ organizations to support their members both mentally and legally.
The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) National Help Center is a resource for supporting and informing the community members about their rights at work.
The Legal Aid Society–Employment Law Center’s Gender Equity & LGBT Rights Program covers the interests of all the non-conforming gender people regarding work and household issues.
Out & Equal Workplace Advocates is an organization dedicated to aiding people who are discriminated against at the workplace on the basis of gender.
Additional LGBTQ Career Resources
When it comes to looking for a job being an LGBTQ member, there can never be too many resources, so here are some more for you to consider.
- Cawley Career Education Center
- Out For Work
- Human Rights Campaign
- Point Foundation, College Scholarships
- CenterLink, Careers
- LGBTQ Funders, Jobs
- Point Foundation
- National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce
- The Pipeline Project Internship Program
- Victory Institute
- Simply Hired
- Trans Lifeline - Careers
- Out & Equal
The Final Thought
Starting a career is a challenge whether you’re part of the community or not. The growing number of LGBTQ-friendly organizations gives hope that in a couple of years no special guides and resources will be needed to help non-conforming gender students get hired and unleash their potential without any side thoughts. Today we can’t talk about far and wide inclusiveness but we’re on the way.