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LGBTQ Career Resources

Contents

At the RIT Office of Career Services & Co-op we are committed to creating a safe and open space for RIT students who identify as LGBTQ. When transitioning to your co-op or full-time job, you may encounter questions like:

  • Should I be out at work?
  • When is a good time to out myself or disclose my gender identity to my employer?
  • How do I know if an environment is safe and inclusive?
  • Are there going to be other people who identify as LGBTQ in my new community? How can I find them?
  • Will my new company offer partner benefits? Gender confirmation related medical costs?
  • What is the company culture? Do they value differences in sexual orientation and gender identity/expression?

At the Office of Career Services & Co-op, we are happy to discuss anything and everything related to helping you prepare for life beyond college. Please contact us at (585) 475-2301 to make an appointment. Please note that we offer confidential Skype or phone appointments if you cannot or prefer not to attend an appointment in our office.

LGBTQ Helpful Resources:

Campus Resources

RIT Q Center: Located in the Student Alumni Union, the purpose of the Q Center is to foster an educational environment in which all community members can be personally, academically, and professionally successful without regard to gender, racial/ethnic origins, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and socioeconomic status.

Researching Companies and Networking

Pride @ Work: Organizes state and local events around the country to promote mutual support between the organized Labor Movement and LGBT community for social and economic justice.

Out Professionals: Networking group of over 1,000 members and 4,500 email subsribers from different work backgrounds and 600 different companies. Connect with potential mentors and make social connections.

Federal Globe: Washington D.C. based professional LGBTQ group for federal government employees. Provides contact information for prominent LGBTQ government employees

Human Rights Campaign: America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. Corporate Equality Index includes searchable database for employment policies and practices pertaining to LGBTQ employees. Also reviews corporate medical benefits from a transgender inclusion perspective. “Your Stories” highlights stories from LGBTQ persons in the workplace.

Job Search Resources

DiversityInc Jobs: Job postings from companies specifically searching for diverse candidates.

Out For Work: Internship and job board dedicated to LGBTQ college students. Search for an internship or job from a multitude of organizations.

LGBT Career Link: Job posting site highlighting opportunities for LGBTQ people.

Out Professionals : Leading LGBT networking site with a fairly extensive LGBT-centered job bank. Includes blog features.

Resources for Transgender Job Seekers

Center for Gender Sanity: A group of resources to connect employers and job seekers. Hear stories from people who have transitioned on the job.

TranspeopleSpeak.org: A project to raise awareness about diversity within transgender communities.

National Center for Transgender Equality: Social justice organization dedicated to advancing the equality of transgender people through advocacy and empowerment.

Transgender Workplace Law and Diversity: A blog that addresses law, politics, and policy issues of transgender workplace diversity.

Advocacy and Community Resources

Coming Out at Work from Human Rights Campaign: Guide from the Human Rights Campaign to consider whether or not you want to come out at work.

The Pipeline Project: The Pipeline Project’s goals are to produce programs and engage in activities that together represent a long-term effort to increase the number of people of color working within the nation’s LGBT rights, service and advocacy sector.

Movement Advancement Project: Employment Non-Discrimination Laws: A think tank helping to educate policymakers to support LGBTQ individuals. Click on “Equality Maps” for quick summaries for laws that affect LGBTQ Americans on a state-by-state and issue-by-issue basis.

Lambda Legal: National organization aimed at achieving full recognition of civil rights for GLBTQ individuals.

Pride at Work : Pride At Work is a nonprofit organization and an officially recognized constituency group of the AFL-CIO (American Federation of Labor & Congress of Industrial Organizations.)

Out and Equal Workplace Advocates : The world’s largest nonprofit organization specifically dedicated to creating safe and equitable workplaces for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Provides information regarding workplace issues and hosts annual LGBTQ workplace summit.

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force: An LGBTQ professional group aims to build the grassroots power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

Diversity in the Workplace: A magazine highlighting diversity related news, top 50 employers, workplace issues and professional development opportunities. Addresses multiple minority groups (African Americans, Asian-Americans, Latin Americans, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ persons, etc.). Free subscription with a .edu email address

Echelon Magazine: Free weekly newsletter on GLBTQ business news

Professional Associations & Networking

Federal Globe: Washington D.C. based professional LGBTQ group for federal government employees. Provides contact information for prominent LGBTQ government employees

The LGBT Bar: The National LGBT Bar Association of lawyers, judges, law students, activists and affiliated LGBT legal organizations.

National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals: A group of LGBTQA professionals in the STEM fields.

NGLCC: A non-profit advocacy organization dedicated to expanding economic opportunities and advancements for members of the LGBTQ community.

Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals: Promotes equality within higher education environments in which LGBTQ students, staff, and administrators.

FAQs for Transgender and Gender Non-conforming Job Seekers

Whether you are seeking your first co-op or full-time position, changing careers, or advancing in your current role, RIT Career Services, online resources, and community resources can help you successfully navigate challenges you may face as a transgender or gender non-conforming individual.

[PDF Version FAQS for Transgender and Gender Non-conforming Job Seekers]

Should I out myself in my application, resume, or cover letter?

It depends. This is a very personal decision; there is no right or wrong answer. You will need to make a decision based on your own level of comfort and interest in sharing your gender identify with others weighed against the research you have done about the company.

Which name should I use on my resume?

Again, it depends. A resume is not a legal document, so it is acceptable to use your preferred name. Some individuals prefer to list their first initial followed by their preferred name (e.g., T. Michelle Richards) or identify their preferred name in quotes (e.g., Taylor “Michelle” Richards). You can also list a “prior name” if your previous employers know you by another name.

Remember that your resume is usually the first image of you that an employer will have. Using the name that goes with your current gender identity/expression will help your employer see you the way that you wish to be seen.

When do I need to use my legal name?

Your legal name should be used for background checks, on social security documents, and on insurance forms. If you have taken steps to legally change your name, then you may use your new legal name for these purposes. Remember that Human Resources managers are required to maintain confidentiality, but there is always some risk of disclosure.

You can use your preferred name in your email, phone directory, and company information.

Can my resume include jobs I held under a different name/before my transition?

Yes, and you should include them. Many people are concerned that by including a job on their resume, they are giving employers permission to contact the former employer. This is not true! If your former employer is transphobic or simply knows you as a different name/gender, you can include that job on your resume without giving the new employer permission to contact them.

It may raise a red flag for employers if you ask them not to contact a former employer without giving an explanation. If your new employer is trans-friendly, you can explain why you don't want them contacting the old employer. Or, you can provide contact info for someone other than your supervisor, such as a friendly coworker who knows about your transition and can confirm that you worked there.

Transitioning doesn't have to mean "starting over" professionally. Even though you may feel like a new person, you still benefit from all the skills and experiences you gained in previous jobs.

What if my references don't know I'm trans? What if they don’t know I’ve changed my name/transitioned?

Or, What if my references do know I'm trans, but I don't want new employers to know right now?

You have three options. You may choose one of these strategies, or a combination, depending on your situation:

  • Talk to your references. Explain that you're applying for jobs and you'd like to continue to list them as a reference, but that it's very important they refer to you by the name and pronoun you use now.

    This option can seem intimidating, especially if you've been out of touch for a while, but it's often worth a try. If they respect you and your work, they may be willing to learn about your new situation and support you in your job search.
  • Talk to potential employers. Explain that even though you go by a particular name and pronoun now, people from your past may not be aware of this and may refer to you by another name. Ask them to help maintain your privacy when they call your references, by using the name and pronoun with each reference that you provide to them.

    If you are concerned about your former supervisors or co-workers knowing about your transition, make sure to clarify to the hiring manager or the person who will be calling your references that you do not want other employees to hear about your new name and/or gender.
  • Use new references. If coming out to references or employers is not an option for you, you may need to find new references. This option is particularly useful if you're switching careers and/or it's been a long time since you worked. Some ways to get new references are volunteering, working in unpaid internships, and taking classes where your teachers can serve as references. This does not mean you're starting over. Your new supervisor may be able to speak to skills/experiences that you acquired in previous jobs, especially if you're staying in the same field of work.

No matter which option you choose, you can also have a friend call your references and pretend to be an employer to double check that your references will get it right.

Should I out myself in the interview? How should I present while I am transitioning?

Dress professionally for the gender you would like to be seen as; this will reduce pronoun confusion on the part of your interviewer. Many select professional but gender-neutral clothing choices. Again, this is a highly individualized decision. You may want to conduct a mock interview to help prepare yourself, whether you wish to out yourself in the application process or not. Your Career Services Coordinator can help you set up a mock interview.

What about health insurance? Which gender should I indicate while signing up for coverage? Won’t that out me?

Another complex question. While privacy regarding the gender marker on insurance coverage is covered by Human Resources, health insurance is highly gender specific. It is highly recommended that you consult with a trans-savvy medical provider or legal counsel to select which gender you will use for health care purposes.

Which employers are trans-positive? How do I find out about the environment for transgender people at a particular company?

You can start by reviewing company websites and talk to anyone you know who works at the company. Your Program Coordinator can help you find connections. While it is difficult to truly understand how inclusive an organization is, good clues of a supportive environment include: anti-discrimination policies which include sexual orientation and gender identity, domestic partner benefit policies, diversity education programs, employee resource groups (ERG’s), gender neutral bathrooms, and commitment to diversity present in the company’s mission statement.

There are also a number of resources to help job seekers find LGBT friendly employers.

Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index

Transgender Economic Empowerment Initiative

Federal Globe: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Employment in the Federal Government

I’m already employed and I plan to keep my job while I transition. Anything I need to know?

There is no universal set of rules; it is best to use your comfort and preferences should guide the process. There are a number of resources to support you in this process as well. Some companies (American Airlines, Chevron, and Ernst and Young) have guidelines that you may consult.

Other resources include:

Human Rights Campaign Workplace Gender Transition Guidelines

The Complete Guide to Transgender in the Workplace

Out and Equal at Work: From Closet to Corner Office (Case studies of LGBT professionals, available in the Career Services office)