Equity & Representation in the Workplace & Graduate School
Staff at the TU Career Center are committed to creating a safe and open space for TU students who identify as LGBTQ+.
Identifying Safe & Inclusive Employers
It can be difficult to determine if an employer is safe and supportive of its LGBTQ+ employees.
How can you tell if an employer offers a safe and inclusive workplace?
To better help, you can ask the hiring manager, human resources staff, or a peer at the employer – via email or in-person – or research an employer’s website about the following for insight into the organizational culture.
- Domestic Partner Benefits including health and life insurance, educational grants, access to facilities, etc.
- Non-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation and gender identity/expression
- Presence of LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Groups (check employer’s Human Resources section)
- Trainings that include sensitivity to LGBTQ+ issues
- Availability of all-gender restrooms
- In-house support for employee groups, either formal or informal
- Sponsorship of or participation in LGBTQ+ community activities
- Participation in recruitment events specific to LGBTQ candidates
- Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE) statement in job description
- Positive statements from people with experience at the company or visibility of queer identities in marketing materials
The Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index is a useful tool for identifying LGBTQ+-inclusive employers.
The Campus Pride Index is a useful tool for identifying LGBTQ+-inclusive schools.
Knowing Your Rights
Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity are not protected on the federal level, however 33 states and D.C. do offer these protections.
If it seems an employer is asking about your sexuality or gender identity, keep in mind that it is your choice whether or answer the question directly or not.
What if an employer asks about your sexuality or gender identity?
Four options for answering questions
- Answer it. If you get the feeling that the interviewer is just getting to know you and naively asks a question, you can choose to answer.
- Side-step it. Discretely refuse to answer the question but address the concerns they raise.
- Question the relevance. You can ask your interviewer how the question relates to the position you’re interviewing for. If they realize the inappropriate nature of the question, they might choose to ignore it.
- Refuse to answer. If you feel they are asking an inappropriate or discriminatory question, you can refuse to answer and either try changing the subject or you could choose to excuse yourself from the interview.
- Lambda Legal – National LGBT civil rights organization; web site includes information about state-to-state legal protections for LGBT people and their families
- HRC Workplace Discrimination Laws and Policies – View the laws and policies that affect the LGBTQ+ community and see where the states stand on these issues
Job and Graduate School Search Resources
- Campus Pride Career Connect – Campus Connecting LGBTQ+ Students to the Workplace
- DiversityInc Jobs – Job postings from companies with equitable hiring and human resourcing practices
- HRC Corporate Equality Index - Useful tool for identifying LGBTQ+-inclusive employers
LGBTQ+ Fellowships and Research Opportunities
- The Point Foundation – The national LGBTQ+ Scholarship Fund
- Undergraduate Research Diversity Fellowships in Law and Social Science
- Victory Empowerment Fellowship
- Fund for Education Abroad Rainbow Scholarship – Invests in students with financial need who wish to study abroad
Disclosing in the Job / Graduate School Application Process
Coming Out on a Resume or in a Cover Letter
Whether or not to come out on a resume or cover letter depends on your comfort level and interest in sharing.
Ask yourself: is it important to be out at work? If not, you may choose to highlight the skills you developed, but not the organizations you worked with. Is a particular activity, award or experience relevant to the job you’re applying for? If not, you may choose to leave it off.
Here are two examples of ways you can discuss involvement in an LGBTQ+ organization with or without disclosing.
Resume Sample 1
Towson University Queer Student Union
Fall 20XX – present
Vice President of Events
- Plan and organize panel discussions, LGBTQ+ speaker series, and other social events for over 30 members
- Lead weekly general meetings
- Work with alumni in the TU LGBTQ+ Alliance group to plan the LGBTQ+ mentor program
Resume Sample 2
Towson University QSU (a political activist student group) Fall 20XX – present
Vice President of Events
- Plan and organize panel discussions, guest speaker series, and other social events by partnering with other student groups
- Oversee a budget of $3,000 for events and programs
- Partner with TU alumni groups to plan a mentorship program and social justice activism events
Using Your Preferred Name
What name to use when applying for jobs or graduate programs is a personal decision. There is no right or wrong answer to whether or not to use your preferred name or a name on your government-issued ID.
Resumes and cover letters are not legal documents. It is fine to write the name you use. For trans and gender-diverse people, doing this may help community your gender identity with a future employer. However, documents used for background checks, social security, tax or insurance should have the name on your government-issued ID.
Here are a few ways you can address this:
- Include your first initial of your legal name, or your full legal name with the name you use in quotes For example, E. Janet Murphy, or Edward “Janet” Murphy.
- Use the name on your government-issued ID and disclose your gender identity and name later in the hiring process or after an offer has been made
- Write the name you use if you are comfortable coming out early in the hiring process or if you are already acquainted with the hiring manager or recruiter
- Save PDFs of documents as ‘Preferred Name_Resume’ and ‘Legal Name_Resume’ and submit together
If you are using your preferred name in some documents, and the name on your government-issued ID in others, it is YOUR responsibility to ensure that the documents are matched together.
Choosing Professional Attire
Choosing what to wear for professional attire can be particularly challenging for queer and trans job seekers. The decision to dress according to cisgender norms or to wear clothes that express your gender identity may vary, depending on your comfort level. Your knowledge of a particular industry or employer may inform your decision.
This is a personal choice; the key is to fulfill the following, regardless of what you wear:
- Clothes should not be too large or small, or too tight or baggy
- Clothing should be clean and wrinkle-free
- When in doubt, neutral colors – black, taupe, beige, brown, blue and gray – are good options
Coming Out in Your Interview
- Ask questions about affinity or employer resource groups that the employer offers to LGBTQ+ employees.
- Bring up your involvement in LGBTQ+ advocacy or involvement when speaking about your relevant skills for the job.
- Big Interview LGBTQIA+ Playbook – Big Interviews has an LGBTQIA+ playbook that includes 12 video lessons which was developed after consulting with experts from the LGBTQ+ community, including career counselors, recent job seekers, and hiring managers.
- The Sexuality & Gender Diversity Student Development Program fosters community development and empowerment where all students regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, and sex are welcomed, supported, valued, and engaged.
- The LGBTQ Studies Minor provides a collaborative academic approach to understanding issues related to LGBTQ+ individuals and communities. Learn more about the history, politics, psychology and culture of the LGBT community and its development, and pursue internships.
- Queer Peers Mentor Program – A great opportunity for LGBTQ+ students on campus to get connected and acclimated
- LGBTQA Alumni Listserv – Stay up to date with programming on campus or become a professional mentor to current TU students
- LGBT Internship Program – Internship positions developed in partnership between the LGBT Studies program and the LGBTQ+ Student Development program in the Center for Student Diversity.
Advocacy and Networks
- Human Rights Campaign – Coming Out at Work guide to consider whether or not you want to come out at work
- Out For Work – a nonprofit dedicated to educating, preparing and empowering LGBT college students and allies for the workplace. Includes a Career Library of information and conferences for students and alumni.
- National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) – Business advocate for LGBT owned and friendly businesses, entrepreneurs, professionals, and corporations.
- Out Professionals– Leading LGBTQ networking organization
- Out & Equal – Non-profit organization that discusses LGBT workplace issues
Resources for Transgender Job Seekers
Traveling Abroad with Hormone Medication
When it comes to traveling abroad, these medications may need to be taken with and replenished depending on duration of time abroad.
General recommendations from Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
Injectable medication, needles, and syringes are allowed on airplanes in addition to pills. “All medications in any form or type (for instance, pills, injectables, or homeopathic) and associated supplies (syringes, Sharps disposal container, pre-loaded syringes, jet injectors, pens, infusers, etc.) are allowed through the security checkpoint once they have been screened. Atropens, an auto-injection system that can help treat many emergency conditions (low heart rate, breathing problems, and excess saliva related to insecticide, nerve gas or mushroom poisoning) are also allowed. We do not require that your medications be labeled” (TSA, 2011).
Recommendations for packing injectable medication from TSA
Pack your medication with supplies together in the original packaging if possible. Ensure your prescription name matches ID you are flying with. Consider not storing all of your medication in one bag in case this bag is lost or stolen—bring some in your carry-on and store extra supplies in other bags.
Medications when traveling internationally
Mobility International USA (MIUSA) published a helpful article on 10 considerations when preparing to travel abroad with medication. Most importantly, consult your doctor and healthcare provider to assess barriers around bringing and utilizing your medication abroad.