The images in this video were produced by Wings of Hope, which is part of Bainbridge Island Rotary (don’t forget to purchase goods at their Online Auction & Rummage Sale – June 24-26). Since March, they have delivered 50-60 cards per week to the BI Museum of Art which has amounted to over 1,000 so far. They are given away and traded, not sold. It’s a collaborative effort by their group:
and Carol Reitz
You can email them: (firstname.lastname@example.org) or visit their website.
“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.
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.
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.”
“LGBTQ+ youth resources: Bridging the digital divide
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Challenges facing LGBTQ+ youth
Bridging the digital divide
Homelessness and LGBTQ+ youth
Online resources for LGBTQ+ youth
Staying safe online
Ways parents and loved ones can help
Other resource and advocacy groups
As Americans struggle in the second year of a pandemic, existing — and mostly ignored — inequalities are now in a glaring spotlight.
Being an LGBTQIA young person unfortunately means that during their critical adolescent years, they can often feel isolated and misunderstood, lacking the resources they need to maintain their mental health.
With pandemic-related measures in place across the country, youth are at an even greater risk of social isolation and depression. But online resources, including supportive and educational materials, can help them maintain mental and emotional health.
In a Catch-22, the internet can make this necessary information accessible, but only if you have access to the internet.
In this guide, Allconnect researchers take a look at available online resources, as well as address the digital divide and homeless issues within the LGBTQ+ youth community.
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Challenges facing LGBTQ+ youth
LGBTQ+ youth can face some unique challenges, such as higher rates of depression and suicide than their peers. A behavioral health report on youth.gov noted that suicide is the third leading cause of death among youth and young adults, and up to 33% of LGBTQ+ youth report having attempted suicide. LGBTQ+ high school students are also two to seven times more likely to commit suicide than their peers.
Along with all the pressures of growing into their own identities, they have increased risks of alcohol and drug use, bullying, peer pressure, depression, suicide attempts and high-risk sexual activities. LGBTQ+ youth and young adults may be kicked out of their homes, and often face homelessness.
Identifying as LGBTQ+ doesn’t cause depression or mental health issues. The cause is rooted within outside factors: Discrimination, family rejection, negative biases and bullying and hostile microaggressions that can lead to suicidal ideation, according to the report. When LGBTQ+ youth aren’t accepted for who they are, they have higher rates of stress, anxiety, depression, self-harm behaviors and other disturbances to mental health.
In addition, many LGBTQ+ youth are confronted with online bullying. Pre-pandemic, 32% of teens aged 14-17 spent about four hours in front of screens. As of June 2020, that number leaped to 62%, according to a Statista report.
Cyberbullying has made the internet a dangerous place for LGBTQ+ youth, and approximately 48.7% of LGBTQ+ students are victims of cyberbullying each year. This can be through private text messages or public posts on social media. Cyberbullying leads to high rates of psychological and emotional distress for LGBTQ+ youth, as well as low self-esteem, social isolation, depression and thoughts of suicide.
Bridging the digital divide
Resources are only as useful as the connection you have to them. Unfortunately, there is a gaping digital divide in America, with over 40 million people lacking access to the internet, and nearly 160 million lacking high-speed access. This gap affects low-income families, the homeless population and other marginalized communities, including LGBTQ+ youth.
According to an LGBT Tech impact report, 2.9 to 3.8 million LGBTQ+ people live in rural areas with little access to LGBTQ+ resources outside of the internet.
In “An LGBT Broadband Future” report, key findings included:
- The LGBTQ+ community relies on the internet “for the important tasks of identity formation, peer connection and identification of partners.”
- Community members “depend on the internet for job seeking and navigating during times of a discriminatory economic landscape.”
- LGBTQ+ youth “often use their phones for safety when faced with challenges of crime or homelessness.”
The internet has become a place for everyone to stay connected to family, friends, work and more, but without that online connection, young people can be affected in many ways:
- Emotional and social isolation: The online world is one where youth can find emotional and social connections that may be missing at home. The teen years are key ones in their development. COVID-19 protocols saw many resource centers closing their doors and that left youth who didn’t have an internet connection without the important emotional and social support they needed. During COVID-19 restrictions, Only 1 in 3 LGBTQ youth found their home to be LGBTQ-accepting, according to The Trevor Project National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health 2021.
- Secrecy of identity: The Power On report also shared that 73% of LGBTQ+ youth are more honest about themselves online versus in the real world.
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Organizations like LGBT Tech are advocates of providing technology and broadband services to this underserved community and “empowers LGBTQ+ communities and individuals, and ensures that media, telecom and high technology issues of specific concern to LGBTQ+ communities are addressed in public policy conversations.”
PowerOn, a program of LGBT Tech, shares its mission as a program “that distributes technology to homeless, isolated, and disadvantaged LGBTQ+ individuals across the country.” Their PowerOn Partner Centers provide places where people can connect online and reach necessary resources.
In a petition to the Federal Communications Commission on the Emergency Broadband Benefit program, LGBT Tech stated, “The issues of connectivity and access are even more critical for LGBTQ+ people of color in rural areas who are often at risk of multiple types of discrimination, further limiting their chances to access quality services, health care, and employment. Further amplifying this problem, many service providers in rural areas are religiously affiliated and are covered under religious exemption laws that may allow them to discriminate. For these LGBTQ+ individuals, broadband connectivity may be the only way to access medical, mental health or employment opportunities not available in their local communities due to discrimination.”
Homelessness and LGBTQ+ youth
Home is where we often head if we need a safe place to just “be” us. Unfortunately, many LGBTQ+ youth find that after sharing their preferences with family, their home is no longer that safe refuge.
In fact, LGBTQ+ youth have a 120% higher risk than their peers of becoming homeless, according to the Chapin Hall, Voice of Youth Count report.
The Trevor Project reports LGBTQ+ youth represent 40% of the homeless youth population. The report finds that homelessness among LGBTQ+ youth can result from “family rejection, discrimination, criminalization and a host of other factors.” The organization also found that LGBTQ youth who report having at least one accepting adult were 40% less likely to report a suicide attempt in the past year.
The resources listed below are a good starting point if you know of, or are, a youth in need.
Online resources for LGBTQ+ youth
LGBTQ+ youth may have a hard time accessing in-person counseling, but online counseling provides flexible support. Whether on the phone, in a chat or via texting, online counseling can be convenient and inexpensive.
- Talk Space: This platform features thousands of licensed therapists who will provide guidance and support, and you can contact your therapist using a laptop or smartphone. The conversation will be synced across devices, so you can access help wherever you are. On Talk Space, messages can be sent 24 hours a day, and the therapist will respond one or two times per day.
- Pride Counseling: Focused on providing counseling for the LGBTQ+ community, Pride Counseling will match youth with a licensed therapist. They provide support for identity and mental health issues in a safe space. It’s possible to message a counselor 24 hours a day, as well as schedule counseling sessions.
- Better Help: Better Help has a large network of licensed counselors, and you can reach a counselor through messaging, chat, phone or video. For LTGBQ+ youth seeking online counseling, Better Help has affordable and convenient counseling services.
- Amwell: Providing LGBTQ counseling, Amwell offers face-to-face online therapy either on your computer or using a mobile app. Most sessions last around 45 minutes and must be scheduled in advance.
It’s important for LGBTQ+ youth to understand that they’re not alone. Educational resources can provide more information on discrimination and bullying, how to effectively deal with this harassment and where to find help.
A sense of community
Connecting with a community helps LGBTQ+ young adults feel a sense of belonging. Communities provide additional resources, encourage youth to share their stories and have platforms where youth make friends with people who can understand their journey.
- Trevor Space: This international community is the world’s largest social networking site for LGBTQ+ youth. On Trevor Space you can create a custom profile, join a discussion forum and connect with people who are going through similar experiences.
- Gender Spectrum: This is an inclusive space for all LGBTQ+ youth. From resources and online consulting to online groups for teens and family members, they provide a community rooted in understanding and inclusion.
- Empty Closets: This online community offers a forum where you can join a chat, start a discussion and find additional resources. Empty Closets will provide support to youth as they explore their sexual orientation.
- AVEN: The AVEN community promotes thoughtful and honest conversations about asexuality, and welcomes members who identity as sexual or asexual. AVEN allows you to connect with other youth through forums.
Find a community near you
Download this clickable list of U.S. LGBTQ+ youth community centers.
Staying safe online
Cyberbullying is a major issue for LGBTQ+ youth online. Be aware of the risks when using social media, and learn what to do if you are bullied online. Follow these cyberbullying safety tips to stay safe when you’re online.
- Don’t respond: If you’ve been targeted by an online bully, your gut reaction might be to respond. However, responding to a bully gives them more power, and shows them that they’ve hurt you. Avoid responding or retaliating to a cyberbully, and leave messages unanswered.
- Save messages: You don’t want to reread hurtful comments, but saving messages is the best way to put an end to cyberbullying. Show these messages to a trusted family member or counselor who can help. Even minor comments can escalate into something major, so save these messages.
- Block the bully: If you’ve been receiving private messages, you can block the bully, preventing them from sending you any more messages. If you’re in a chat together, leave the chat.
- Talk to someone: When you experience cyberbullying, talk to a trusted parent, school counselor or online counselor for support. They’ll help you find out if you can report the incident anonymously at school, as well as help you process your emotions.
Ways parents and loved ones can help
As a parent, you can support your teenager and help them maintain their mental health. These are four ways you can help your teenager, and you can easily find supplemental resources on the internet that provide information to families of LGBTQ+ youth.
- Find and use online resources: Take the time to educate yourself about LGBTQ issues and the challenges your teenager may encounter. Kickstart your research by finding out if you’re an askable parent, then learn more about the LGBTQ community.
- Share online help resources with your teenager: Gather a list of online resources that provide help and support to LGBTQ+ youth. Make sure your child can access online counseling, educational resources, mobile apps and an online community. They’ll feel supported as they explore their identity.
- Utilize parental controls: Every device, gaming console and streaming service offers some form of parental controls. Whether limiting the amount of time spent online or only allowing access to certain content, it is worth your time as a parent to check into these options. You can also talk to your internet service provider to see if they provide any tools to use when monitoring your child’s activities online.
- Advocate for your child: If your teenager has been harassed, bullied or discriminated against, become their strongest advocate. Meet with teachers and school administration to report and correct inappropriate and harmful behavior. Be their advocate among family members as well, and make sure your child is never harassed at home.
Other resource and advocacy groups
- The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs – The program offers direct services to survivors of all forms of violence and their circle of family and friends. They also work on policy and advocacy, and provide “free, holistic legal services to LGBTQ and HIV-affected survivors in all five boroughs of New York City in Family Court, Housing Court, Civil Court and with immigration matters.”
- GLAAD LGBTQ Resource List – GLAAD shares stories from the LGBTQ community and this list includes resources in politics, military, aging, legal and other sectors.
- The TrevorLifeline – Provides a national crisis intervention and suicide prevention lifeline for LGBTQ youth.
- Homelessness Help – Provides resources for homeless LGBTQ+ individuals in crisis, as well as provides a reporting platform for housing discrimination or violations.
- National Runaway Safeline – A hotline for youth who need someone to hear them, as well as for concerned adults.
- The LGBT National Youth Talkline – Free and confidential peer support for LGBTQ+ youth 25 and under.
- Trans Lifeline – Run by trans people, this lifeline provides peer support.
- GLBT National Help Center – Free and confidential peer support for LGBTQ+ and questioning people.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – Free and confidential support for anyone in distress, suicide prevention and resources.” -https://www.allconnect.com/blog/lgbtq-youth-online-resources
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