Exploring careers and on the job
How can I identify LGBTIQ friendly employers?
Research the organizations before you apply to see if they are on the Human Rights Campaign (www.hrc.org ) list of Queer Friendly organizations and to find out what types of benefits and activities are available. If you can find an LGBTQ employer within the company, speak to him or her about the organization to get more of an “insider’s” perspective.
What legal protection and benefits do I have?
Currently there is no federal law protecting employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation, but some states offer basic rights to particular groups. Contact the Human Resources Department at your place of potential employment to determine LGBTQ benefits packages. You can also consult the listing of Fortune 500 organizations, as the majority now offer benefits to LGBTQ employees and their families. The Human Rights Campaign maintains a list of Employers That Offer Domestic Partner Health Benefits as well as Federal Laws Impacting Domestic Partner Benefits.
Should I come out to potential employers on my resume and during the interview?
You must decide whether or not you are comfortable being out on your resume and during your interview. You can be more discrete in listing LGBTQ affiliations by doing things such as using abbreviations, but be prepared to explain these abbreviations during an interview. Use the interview to find out how LGBTQ-friendly the organization is, or do outside research to gather this information. Including LGBTQ organizations on your resume and then discussing them during the interview is a good way to bring up the topic. It is important that you know what you are getting yourself into. Prior to the interview, try to anticipate the types of questions the employer might ask you during and prepare answers accordingly.
How important is it for me to be out at work?
Being out in the workplace is a personal choice. You must decide how much of a defining characteristic your sexuality is for you. If you are highly involved in LGBTQ organizations and events and very open with sharing your sexual orientation with others, you may feel more comfortable in environments that are known to be LGBTQ-friendly. If you prefer to keep this information to yourself, you might feel comfortable in a wider array of environments, whether they are known to be LGBTQ-friendly or not. Being out at work is a personal choice with no right or wrong answer. It is simply based on your comfort level.
If I choose to come out at work, how should I do so?
There is more than one way to come out at work if you choose to do so, and none is more correct than the other. Before coming out, you should ensure that you feel ready to handle any potential consequences of doing so. It is usually best to establish yourself as a professional first, so that others see this is your first priority and that you take your employment seriously. Once you establish this rapport with colleagues, it is usually easier to come out to them as well.
How should I handle homophobia on the job?
Understand that people think what they think and oftentimes there is nothing anyone can say or do to change that. It is your right to advocate for LGBTQ rights, but as you cannot control others, focus on ways of dealing with the stress. Good options to consider are support groups, speaking to trusted friends and family and engaging in activities that you enjoy and take your mind off of problems. If the homophobia at work becomes too much to handle, consider finding a new place of employment or speaking to someone in the company about your rights.
- Echelon Magazine publishes articles on GLBT finance, workplace advocacy, corporate diversity, education and the GLBT marketplace. The website includes an employment board and links to career search information.
- LGBT CareerLink
- Out in the Workplace? UPenn’s guide with advice about coming out during the job search process and in the workplace, in addition to resume writing and interviewing tips
- Out for Work is a nonprofit dedicated to educating, preparing, and empowering LGBTQ college students and their allies for the workplace. They also provide a job and internship board for LGBTQ college students.
- Pride at Work: AFL-CIO group that seeks to integrate LGBTQ concerns into the larger Labor Movement.
- Out and Equal: advocates for LGBTQ equality in the workplace
- Capital District Gay & Lesbian Community Council, Inc is an organization devoted to supporting and serving all gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer identified people and those affected by discrimination based on gender identity and expression in the Capital Region. Services the Council provides include support groups, newsletters, workshops and Rainbow Drop-in café.
- Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) is a national non-profit organization with over 200,000 members and supporters and over 500 affiliates in the United States. This vast grassroots network is cultivated, resourced and serviced by the PFLAG National Office, located in Washington, D.C., the national Board of Directors and 13 Regional Directors. (some potential internship opportunities)
- Human Rights Campaign provides information about LGBTQ Workplace Issues such as discrimination, harassment, legislation, policies, as well as a Corporate Equality Index of LGBTQ-friendly employers and much more.
- Scholarship opportunities for LGBTQ and Allied Students
- National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce