97% of US LGBTQ Students Experience Homophobia at School lgbt high school college university gay lesbian bisexual transgender queer professional

97% of US LGBTQ Students Experience Homophobia at School

GLSEN, a US national LGBT+ education advocacy group completed a research study recently and found that an astounding near 97% of lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender students aged between 13 and 21 reported hearing disparaging comments about their sexuality or gender identity while at school. The GLSEN report, which surveyed students in all 50 U.S. states as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and Guam, found homophobia was rife within educational establishments.

Almost 97% of respondents stated that they had heard the phrase “no homo” at school, while more than 95% reported hearing homophobic terms such as “dyke” and “faggot”. About 69% said they had experienced verbal harassment because of their sexual orientation, while just under 57% said they had also been called names or threatened because of their gender expression. Just under 10% reported the same experiences due to their gender expression, it added. Comments such as “that’s so gay” and “no homo” are regularly stated on playgrounds, in the cafeterias, and around school campuses. Almost 92% said the remarks had made them feel “distressed”, said the 2019 National School Climate Survey, which surveyed 16,700 LGBT+ students between April and August last year. 11% of LGBT+ students said they had been physically assaulted, or “punched, kicked (or) injured with a weapon” because of their sexuality, the report noted.

Aiden Cloud, a 17-year-old student who identifies as genderqueer and attends at a small, conservative private school in Nashville, Tennessee stated, “At my school, it’s very taboo for teachers especially to talk about LGBT issues. Even though there are a lot of queer students at my school – just as there are at any school – there’s a very big lack of visibility. It feels very isolating.”

“This is a very significant wake-up call about how the progress we’ve won is directly under attack,” said Eliza Byard, the executive director of GLSEN, formerly the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network.

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Dennis Velco Employer Brandin Reaching LGBTQ candidates lgbt professionals gay lesbian queer community (1)

Employer Branding: Reaching LGBTQ Candidates

Let’s face it. To attract and retain top talent today you and your organization must adapt, expand, and grow. Today, candidates, and we’ll say in particular LGBTQ candidates, evaluate your organization as a potentially good fit for them personally and professionally. The LGBTQ community in particular will often prefer an employer with great LGBTQ welcoming policies, benefits, and business practices over a competitor with less but a sexier role. They want to know that the prospective employer values them, their skills and the unique perspective they hold. It has been proven time and again that companies that whole embrace diversity financially thrive.Sure, they want to be valued and have a great career path, but when push comes to shove being valued authentically wins hand down. This means that no matter the size of the organization, or the roles you offer, building your culture matched with supporting policies and benefit is key to attracting and creating top LGBTQ talent.

You are Awesome. Are Candidates Aware?

In the 14 Ways to Support LGBT Employees article I described the differences between diversity, inclusion and being welcoming as:

A simple analogy is:

  • Diversity is being invited to a party.
  • Inclusive is while at the party, a cute person asks you to dance.
  • Welcoming is dancing like you have no cares in the world and no one is watching. Dang, check out those moves!
  • World-class is you inspire everyone to jump up to dance just as openly and boldly.
  • Everyone raves what an amazing party it is. Selfies are snapped and shared. It goes viral on social media. Your brand becomes the hottest epic party.

What is Employer Branding

Employer branding is the company’s reputation in the job market. It influences whether candidates view the employer as a “preferred employer”. This will ultimately make them decide whether to apply to the job position, or not. The right employee value proposition can thus make or break a hiring situation. Employee value proposition (EVP) is nothing but what you are offering your potential future employees—good culture, LGBTQ friendly policies, benefit and practices (which can include inclusive supplier diversity, inclusive marketing, political donations a d more), emploer perks (tuition reimbursement, etc), competitive compensation, work-life balance, community I volvement(sponsoring LGBTQ no -profits and businesses, if there is an LGBTQ employee resource group and it’s activities (such as outtings, mentorship, participation in Pride, etc) and more.

What OutBüro has found is that even those employer who are generally know as great employers for LGBTQ have extremely poor visibility of all their activity and efforts. Meaning they have poor Employer Branding targeting LGBTQ canidates. We searched and searched for Company X plus LGBT and many variations seeking employer positive content as a candidate might and usually found very little and in most cases nothing at all. So, how are candidates supposed to know? Effective employer branding speaks to and reaches the target candidates. For LGBTQ candidates, OutBüro is your best choice. Although a fairly new company the founder of OutBüro, Dennis Velco, has over 12 years serving, reaching, and building the LGBTQ professional community. The OutBüro site is your tool to consolidate your employer branding message, demonstrate all you do today while on your path to maturity as an employer. Communicate your messages, engage with business owners, industry professionals and potential candidates. We are here to help and guide through our professional consulting services directly or as needed through our approved network.

Getting the right people to apply not only optimizes recruiters’ efforts and hiring costs but also improves later-on new hire engagement. But this process begins much before the recruiter even sees the candidate profile or meets him or her. It starts at the employer branding stage.

Continuing with the party analogy, Employer Branding is:

  • The idea to have a party
  • The planning, and preparation, cooking the food on the grill, getting the drink station set up, setting up the sound system and getting the music linned up (will there be a live DJ or streaming music), cleaning the house and pool, ensuring enough supplies all around (plates, cups, utensils, ice, napkins, toilet paper, garbage bags, etc), setting up additional seating, dramatic lighting, and depending on your party the list could continue.
  • Plan for parking, clean up, and more.
  • Inviting all the guests, extending it to their choice of plus one or more. You might want to notify the neighbors.
  • Being ready to ask a rude part guest to leave.

So let’s delve into that in case it’s not clear. Opening your doors as a business and choosing to focus on being conscious of your efforts to be an employer that embraces diversity is the idea to have the party.

For planning it, checkout these articles:

Get Started

At OutBüro, we don’t expect you to be perfect. Showing up and starting is what is important. Mistakes happen, it’s how you grow from them that defines you. No matter where you are in your openly embracing LGBTQ equality, OutBüro is for you and ready to help. The important thing is to begin. Any current or recent past employees may add your organization. Meaning your organization may start receiving rating/reviews even if you aren’t officially present. The best approach is to be proactive, control what is on your employer listing, receive customer and candidate inquiries, and engage on the platform.

  • Register for your individual professional membership.
  • Begin checking out the site.
  • Add your organization with a 45-day free trial.
  • Schedule a conversation with our team so we may get to know each other and answer questions you might have and get you started out on the right track.
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Fabrice Houdart: LGBTQ Equality & Corporate Responsibility

In this episode host, Dennis Velco chats with Fabrice Houdart about LGBTQ equality and corporate responsibility. Fabrice has had a fascinating career championing for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer rights and equality. Currently, he is the Managing Director, Global Equality Initiatives at Out Leadership.

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Fabrice Houdart LGBTQ equality and rights champion

Fabrice Houdart was previously Human Rights Officer at the United Nations in New York, and for the past four years, he worked on Free & Equal, an unprecedented United Nations campaign for LGBTI equality. He co-authored and led the United Nations Global LGBTI standards of conduct for Business, the largest corporate social responsibility initiative on LGBTI issues in the World. To date, more than 270 of the largest companies in the world have expressed support for the initiative. From 2001 – 2016, Fabrice was Senior Country Officer at the World Bank. At the Bank, he authored economic development analyses on Yemen, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Tunisia and provided contributions to the 2012 Gender World Development Report (WDR) and the 2011 Conflict, Security, and Development WDR. He holds a B.A. in economics and management from Dauphine University in Paris and an MBA from American University in DC. Fabrice volunteers on the Board of Outright Action International, Housing Works, the NYC Gay Men’s Chorus, Alturi, the KindRED Pride Foundation, Witness to Mass Incarceration, and the Institute of Current World Affairs (ICWA). In 2019, he received the Golden Gate Business Association Award, the IGLTA Pioneer Award, and the Alan Turing LGTBIQ Award for his work on LGBTI rights. He was ranked 2nd by Yahoo Finance among LGBTI public sector executives globally in their 2019 Outstanding list. He was interviewed by The Economist, quoted in the New York Times, Foreign Policy Magazine, and The Guardian on issues pertaining to the human rights of LGBTIQ people. He lives in New York City with twin sons 6-year old Maxime and Eitan.

Connect with Fabrice on OutBüro https://www.outburo.com/profile/fabricehoudart/

  • 01:00 Fabrice Houdart’s introduction – exploration at the World Bank how LGBTQ rights impact the economic development of businesses and the economies of countries
  • 02:45 Joins the Office of High Commissioner on Human Rights at the United Nations in 2016
  • 00:30 Describes how he works toward helping corporations to understand LGBTQ rights
  • 06:30 Explains how children suffer by not being able to be themselves with family and at school
  • 11:00 Corporations and employers have a rare opportunity to have a positive impact on society
  • 14:00 Only around 17,000 persons in the US gives more than $1,000 a year to support LGBTQ non-profits
  • 16:00 LGBTQ rights are the “canary in the coal mine” for broader human rights issues
  • 17:00 How the employees/public/consumers/investors play a role in influencing employers/companies
  • 18:00 The current struggle between conscience social responsibility versus only focused on profit over all else
  • 23:00 The complexity of companies can be confusing where they can be leaders in one area while in other areas seem quite opposite.
  • 26:15 Examples
  • 27:00 The LGBTQ equality footprint is Pro-LGBTQ support minus anti-LGBT support.
  • 29:30 OutBuro LGBTQ employer ratings have the potential to be an impact for good where all win
  • 30:15 Boycotts have little impact I immediately, but can have a significant impact over time affecting the growth
  • 33:00 Using your power to affect change
  • 36:00 Having a lot of LGBTQ employees is not a direct indication of the employer’s LGBTQ equality
  • 37:30 LGBTQ in management and at the board level. In the US total of 5670 Fortune board seats. Of those only 24 out LGBTQ persons and a few are overlapping by the same people.
  • 39:45 Must be careful to not allow LGBTQ equality to mask other social responsibility issues
  • 42:00 As LGBTQ is our responsibility to leverage our strength to affect positive change supporting everyone and our environment.

Join Martin on OutBüro, the LGBTQ professional and entrepreneur online community network for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, a.lies and our employers who support LGBTQ welcoming workplace equality focused benefits, policies, and business practices. https://www.OutBuro.com

Would you like to be featured like this? Contact the host Dennis Velco. https://www.outburo.com/profile/dennisvelco/

Queer staff network Berlin Dr Franz Markus Loew LGBTQ professionals of Employer Corporate ERG Employee Resource Groups OutBuro (1)

Queer Staff Network Berlin with Dr. Markus Loew

In this episode, host Dennis Velco, chats with Dr. Markus Loew about the Queer Staff Network of Berlin. Dr. Loew describes the group as an LGBTQ professional network of networks. It is a coming together of all the LGBTQ employee resource groups (ERGs) from all corporate employers with offices operating in Berlin. They have 3-4 meeting a year in where they discuss issues, strategies, opportunities, collaborate and share to advance lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer equality, workplaces belonging, career advancement, and how to assist their employers to be a better citizen in the LGBTQ community at large. Join the Queer Staff Network of Berlin group on OutBüro: https://www.outburo.com/community/groups/queer-staff-network-berlin/

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  • 01:00 Introduction of Queer Staff Network of Berlin
  • 05:00 Discusses the new direction to expand to LGBTQ entrepreneurs
  • 06:30 Advocating Corporate Supplier Diversity a mutual benefit
  • 13:00 Leveraging www.OutBuro.com for Employer ERGs through online groups
  • 14:20 Questions for companies – are you maximizing the opportunities?
  • 18:00 A company thought they were in the LGBTQ consumer market, yet was not positioned well
  • 19:00 Inclusion and diversity with authenticity can lead to opportunity
  • 24:15 Pinkwashing – Bad for corporate image and business – be authentic – example

Connect with Dr. Markus Loew on OutBüro: https://www.outburo.com/profile/marku…

Currently, Germany has one LGBTQ chamber of commerce located in Köln (Cologne). The Queer Staff Network of Berlin is bridging the lack of a formal LGBTQBerlin Chamber of Commerce to invite local and regional small and medium LGBTQ entrepreneurs to join the group. They are mentoring the business owners on how to do business with the large corporations, what products and services are needed and how the LGBTQ owned businesses can participate in the procurement process and hopefully win the contracts. On the inside, the corporate members of the Queer Staff Network of Berlin are raising awareness of the need and value of supplier diversity. They are internal champions for the small and medium LGBTQ owned businesses. It is a “Hey Dir of Procurement, we use/need X, and here’s an LGBTQ owned business that can supply that for us”. This level of collaboration, commitment, mentorship, and advocacy is a bright shining example of DOING IT RIGHT! APPLAUSE!

Join Markus on OutBüro, the LGBTQ professional and entrepreneur online community network for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, allies and our employers who support LGBTQ welcoming workplace equality focused benefits, policies, and business practices. https://www.OutBuro.com

Would you like to be featured like this? Contact the host Dennis Velco. https://www.outburo.com/profile/denni…

Martin Kmiecik Diversity Pride Workplace Inclusion Strategy & Training Out Gay business owner lgbtq entrepreneur lgbt professional outburo workplace equality welcoming belonging culture

Diversity Pride: Workplace Inclusion Strategy & Training

Martin Kmiecik, out gay entrepreneur, discusses Diversity Pride. The startup is focused on diversity, inclusion, and belonging strategy consulting and training. Based in London, United Kingdom, Diversity Pride has a network of diversity consultants ready to work with clients around the world who are ready to embrace diversity at its core and reap all the organizational benefits of being a welcoming work culture for all. Diversity Pride not only has a keen focus on the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) employee narrative, yet encompasses the full spectrum of diversity. Employers who focus on workplace equality win in so many ways including better financial performance. As needed and desired, through their network they can offer direct trained exposure experiences with professionals who represent all diversity identities providing a personal and authentic voice.

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  • 00:30 Introduction to Diversity Pride
  • 03:00 What sets Diversity Pride apart?
  • 07:00 What has been the impact and changes due to the global health crisis (COVID 2020)?
  • 09:30 How do you leverage competitive intelligence to differentiate, adapt, improve, and deliver?
  • 13:00 “Competitors” can be great mentors. What have you learned?
  • 16:45 Martin provides an example of how to format hashtags to be diversity inclusive – note that many platforms limit hashtag formatting, and once a hashtag is created and followed, a marketer must still leverage it, and choose to create a new inclusive one.
  • 22:00 More thoughts from Matin on limitations in technology regarding diversity and inclusion. He discusses recruiting and specifically the growth of artificial intelligence in reviewing resumes/CVs

Connect with Martin on OutBüro at https://www.outburo.com/profile/marti…

Join Martin on OutBüro, the LGBTQ professional and entrepreneur online community network for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, a.lies and our employers who support LGBTQ welcoming workplace equality focused benefits, policies, and business practices. https://www.OutBuro.com

Would you like to be featured like this? Contact the host Dennis Velco. https://www.outburo.com/profile/denni…

Terry Dyer Joins OutBuro as Partner and Chief Outreach Officer LGBTQ Corporate Equality Ratings workplace Reviews Gay Lesbian Employee strategic talent sourcing acquisition hiring employer branding

Terry Dyer Joins OutBüro as Partner & Chief Outreach Officer

OutBüro is pleased to announce the addition of Terry Dyer as Partner & Chief Outreach Officer effective August 24, 2020. Terry will be primarily taking lead on the expansion of our business through employer and organizational partnerships. Terry brings fifteen years of employer branding, talent acquisition management, recruitment strategy, diversity & inclusion, candidate experience, employee engagement, client services/relations, operations, and project/account management.  

Terry_Dyer_-_Partner_Chief_OuReach_Officer_OutBuro_LGBTQ_Entreprenuers_Professionals_Corporate_Equality_Index_Ratings_Teview_Strategic_Talent_Acquisition_Employer_Branding_gay_lesbian_1
Terry Dyer: OutBüro Chief Outreach Officer

Please take a moment to reach out to Terry to congratulate him on his new role. Connect with him on OutBüro at https://www.outburo.com/profile/terrydyer/. His direct contact information is available via his OutBüro profile.

OutBüro’s CEO & Founder, Dennis Velco stated, “His professional skills, coupled with personal interests and accomplishments, made Terry a great fit for the OutBüro culture. Being a small and growing company it is important to not only have a skill match but also click personally. Terry is not only wicked smart and talented, but he has a dynamic engaging personality and is a natural relationship builder. I am looking forward to working together buildIng OutBüro and making a difference in the world while having fun along the way.”

OutBüro is built on empowering the LGBTQ entrepreneur, professional, and employer community through our dedicated platform, social channels, products, services, and events. With Terry’s expertise and contribution, we will continue to grow our offerings to better serve the community.   

Terry holds two Bachelor’s degrees, one in Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations and another in Vocal Performance. He played collegiate and high school sports and continues playing in the community. Recently, he added Best Selling published author to his accolades. 

OutBüro: where you belong

OutBüro focuses on, amplifies, features, and celebrates the professional and entrepreneurial side of life of persons who happen to identify as LGBTQ and welcoming for our amazing community allies and employers. 

It is an online community where every member may contribute, share, participate, connect, and engage with other industry professionals, LGBTQ welcoming employers, other entrepreneurs, identify, and build opportunities. It is the only LGBTQ corporate/employer rating/review site where employees create the Employer Rating. It is the only LGBTQ focused employer branding platform.  We are striving to be a go-to source of information, and resources to enable and empower LGBTQ entrepreneurs around the globe. We are striving to help employers of all sizes, engage, connect, attract, and retain top talent. We are striving to foster professional exposure and growth of LGBTQ professionals in all fields and in all phases of their careers. Is all that a tall task? Yes, it is. But together we can all rise. We can work together knowing there is ample for all and that our failures and mistakes are simply learning opportunities. That from those we gain wisdom and become a better version of ourselves.

OutBürois where you belong.

Join the growing movement at https://www.OutBuro.com

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Empowering LGBTQ NGOs in Africa

Saraounia Mboka-Boyer is a Senior Capacity Development and Inclusion Specialist at Pact. Saraounia is a bilingual organizational change management and development specialist focusing on the intersections of Capacity Development/Building, sustainability, Gender equity, and Climate Change for systems strengthening in an international development context(s). In our discussion, she explains what Capacity Development is and how improving the basic operational skills can improve an organization’s chances of gaining grants or other funding so they may work on their core mission. Marginalized communities include the gay (homosexual), lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer populations within the many countries Pact operates.

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We’d love your text comments at the bottom of each show episode page asking questions of me, our guests, and interacting with other commenters.

We also have the feature where you may “call-in” and leave a recorded message. Your recorded message may be used in future episodes and requires a simple registration on the podcast platform

Connect with Saraounia on OutBüro at https://www.outburo.com/profile/saoun…

  • 01:10 Saraounia introduces her international exposure due to parents work with the #UnitedNations
  • 02:45 Attended her first HIV/AIDS workshop at ages 6 accompanying her father which began to shape her foundation
  • 04:00 She explains what capacity development is and how she applies that with organizations
  • 05:20 My recap to validate understanding
  • 07:10 Focuses on the LGBTQ communities, meeting them where they are on skills and helping them increase their skills and connect with resources
  • 17:00 Discussion on how LGBTQ non-profit opportunities to partner, challenges to think how your organization might partner with others
  • 26:15 Join OutBüro (https://www.OutBuro.com)and create/join for your non-profit, region or industry

Pact (https://www.pactworld.org/) is a nonprofit international development organization founded in 1971, Pact works on the ground in nearly 40 countries to improve the lives of those who are challenged by poverty and marginalization. They work in many areas including HIV/AIDS care and prevention. When called upon, they openly work with LGBTQ focused organizations based in the regions they operate in needing their assistance. They welcome partnerships to further create impactful change. In her role at Pact, she assists non-profit NGOs primarily within the countries of Liberia, Congo, South Africa, Indonesian, and Myanmar.

Bruce Knotts Unitarian Universalist Church LGBTQ welcoming spiritual faith gay lesbian bisexual transgender queer LGBT professional online community OutBuro

Unitarian Universalist: LGBTQ Welcoming Faith

In this chat with Bruce Knotts, we discuss what is Unitarian Universalist and each of our own paths to it as a welcoming faith that is welcoming and inclusive of #LGBTQ members. I would take that a step further, the Unitarian Universalist are champions of #LGBT people, not only with the congregations but for the dignity, rights, and equality of #gay, #lesbian, #bisexual, #transgender, #queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, pansexual, and heteroflexible people around the world. UUs are very social-justice-oriented such as the long-running #LoveIsLove campaign.

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Connect with Bruce on OutBüro: https://www.outburo.com/profile/bruce…

OutBüro is the growing global platform for LGBTQ entrepreneurs and professionals. Join us. OutBüro is where you belong. https://outburo.com/

Learn more about Unitarian Universalist and locate a local church near you: https://www.uua.org/

Here is their LGBTQ page: https://www.uua.org/lgbtq

The UU faith is really not an individual faith but rather a celebration, exploration, respect, and openness to all world faiths and nonfaiths. What does that mean? No single world faith dominates. Each service may focus on teaching from any of the world’s faiths and often will explore a topic reflecting its views from many faiths in one service. There is ZERO religious dogma acknowledging the divine in all, there is no one right answer, each person is welcome to their own personal journey and truth. Services may include poetry readings, Pop music, and more. So in Unitarian Universalism, you can be your full authentic self while also practicing your spirituality on your own path. You are welcome.

Unitarian Universalism includes learning about and welcoming all world faiths and nonfaiths including but not limited to:

All are welcome and it is a great spiritual home for families where partners may have different spiritual focuses such as one Buddhist and the other Agnostic or Christian. It can be a wonderful spiritual home for those that would like to connect or reconnect with their spiritual center in a welcoming open community free from judgment or dogma. In the next video/podcast we’ll continue this discussion and learn how under Bruce Knotts’ leadership through the UUA office at the United Nations he has been instrumental at the UN level for LGBTQ equality and rights around the globe.

Many United States founding fathers were Unitarian Universalists including several US Presidents. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of…

Here are a few:

  • John Adams (1735–1826) – Second President of the United States.
  • John Quincy Adams (1767–1848) – Sixth President of the United States. Co-founder, All Souls Church, Unitarian (Washington, D.C.)
  • Roger Nash Baldwin (1884–1981) – Founder of American Civil Liberties Union
  • Susan B. Anthony (1820–1906) – Quaker Madelyn Dunham (1922–2008) – Grandmother of U.S. President Barack Obama
  • Stanley Armour Dunham (1918–1992) – Grandfather of Barack Obama Stanley Ann Dunham (1942–1995) –
  • Mother of Barack Obama Millard Fillmore (1800–1874) – Thirteenth President of the United States
  • Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826) – third president of the U.S., Unitarian
  • Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk (1850–1937) – first President of Czechoslovakia
  • Samuel Freeman Miller (1816–1890) – United States Supreme Court Justice from 1862 to 1890
  • Joseph Story (1779–1845) – United States Supreme Court Justice from 1811 to 1845.
  • William Howard Taft (1857–1930) – President of the United States (1909–1913)
14 Ways to Support LGBT Employees - Dennis Velco - OutBuro - Employee Engagement Satisfaction Talent Acquisition Recriuting Recruitment Marketing Job Seeker Canidate Attraction Profressional Community

14 Ways to Support LGBT Employees (2020)

Over the past 15 years or so, companies and organizations in all industries have moved towards embracing, supporting, and championing LGBTQ workplace equality. Focusing on creating a safe and welcoming workplace for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, pansexual, heteroflexible, and questioning (LGBTQIA+) employees have many benefits beyond just being the right thing to do. Many studies have clearly demonstrated that companies that truly support diversity and inclusion as part of their corporate DNA thrive in many areas such as but limited to:

  • Innovation
  • Employee satisfaction and engagement
  • Increased employee retention
  • Higher qualified talent acquisition pool
  • Increased productivity
  • Improved team collaboration
  • Improved employee mental health
  • Reduction of absentee/sick days
  • Increased brand positive LGBTQ and ally perception
  • Client/customer satisfaction
  • Increase in financial performance
  • Shareholder value

So, supporting LGBTQIA+ employees is not just the right thing to do, it is good for business too. Here are some steps toward supporting your LGBT employees and attracting great talent candidates. Your LGBTQ employees and your clients/customers are tightly linked check out the LGBTQ Consumer and Employer Branding are Commingled article for more on that.

US Supreme Court Decision: Great Step But Still Work Remains

In July 2020, the US Supreme Court ruled that sexual orientation and gender identity are now covered under the US Equal Opportunity Employment Act for Non-Discrimination. That is cause for celebration, yet does not automatically transform all employers into workplaces that respect diversity, embrace inclusion, or have a work culture that is welcoming. In just the United States, based on other issues such as gender equality, racial equality, and sexual harassment, one can without much effort extrapolate that it may be decades before LGBT employees are fully and openly accepted in all workplaces, in all industries, and in all locations – if ever. We believe firmly in being the change and benefiting from it. Also, please keep in mind that in over 50% of the states in the US it is still legal to discriminate against LGBTQ persons in housing, finance, hate crime against LGBT persons is not criminalized, and many other issues that devalue and dehumanize the LGBT citizens. There is much work to do in the United States and countries around the world.

Your efforts to create a safe and welcoming workplace where all are treated equally with the same opportunities to contribute, grow and thrive are greatly appreciated.

Diversity, Inclusion & Welcoming

Diversity is about ensuring you have people of different backgrounds and experiences represented in the workplace. Inclusiveness takes it a step further by creating an environment where people’s differences of thought and experience are actually appreciated. Welcoming enables employees to be their authentic selves where their uniqueness may shine adding perspectives that are respected and potentially individually or collectively a business advantage.

A simple analogy is:

  • Diversity is being invited to a party.
  • Inclusive is while at the party, a cute person asks you to dance.
  • Welcoming is dancing like you have no cares in the world and no one is watching. Dang, check out those moves!
  • World-class is you inspire everyone to jump up to dance just as openly and boldly.
  • Everyone raves what an amazing party it is. Selfies are snapped and shared. It goes viral on social media. Your brand becomes the hottest epic party.

Ok, in this example eventually the neighbors may call the cops to shut the party down, but in business, it attracts top talent, employee satisfaction is high, employee retention is high, customer attraction and retention are high. You and your amazing team are crushing it.

So, how to get there?

1. Authenticity and Clear Mission

Being authentic in all aspects is critical. All too often we have heard of reports by employees that their employer launched a drive to obtain an LGBT Corporate Equality rating and once obtained management support nearly vanished and previous funding dissipated to a fraction. It makes the employees feel disenfranchised and like used pawns in the corporate goal to receive external publicity. Understand that true D&I can lead to great financial rewards, but if not deeply rooted in respect, value, and authenticity, you can do harm to your brand, employee morale, and customer perception. If issues arise it can leave a damaging scare that can take years to recover from, if ever. Don’t be that kind of organization. It is not necessary. As linked above, being authentic in supporting diversity and inclusion is proven to improve the company’s financial performance for many reasons. But why is a mission necessary? Because diversity alone does not necessarily mean there is the inclusion or a welcoming work culture. A clear mission will outline the objective and measurements. The LGBT community is very savvy so if striving to attract the LGBT customer market, they care about how you treat your LGBT employees and your authentic engagement in the community.

2. Top-level support

Ensure that LGBT employee support is a priority at the top senior management level. Have a top management staff person take the lead on LGBT employee inclusion. That person may not be LGBT themself, but an ally. This senior manager should be the LGBT employee resource group (ERG) executive sponsor. This person may be from any department. Indicate who your most senior-level employee who identifies as LGBT is on your OutBüro employer listing.

3. Take LGBT Reports of Discrimination and Harassment Seriously

Yes, in the United States it is now illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Is that enough? Do you feel that now covers you so there is no need for a company/organization non-discrimination policy based on sexual orientation or gender identity? If so, I bet your company/organization has policies covering gender, race, and religion. This is the same. I am also 99.9% sure you have a sexual harassment policy too, along with required annual training. This is no different. Your organization should have a strong non-discrimination policy in place, ensure it clearly states that it covers your recruitment and promotions. Create a communication plan to be sure all employees know what is not tolerated in the workplace. Not if, but when, homophobic bullying, discrimination, or harassment happens to acknowledge the validity of the concern raised, promptly follow procedures to investigate and take appropriate action. Ensure employees feel safe in making reports.

Have all reports reviewed by a team to reduce biases from even the HR staff. Do not assume that all human resources staff lack biases. Research and court case prove otherwise. Many discrimination lawsuits are based on the lack of action by the HR department. So take extra steps in training all HR staff and put teams in place with checks and balances instead of relying on just one gatekeeper. On your OutBüro employer listing link to your sexual orientation and gender identity non-discrimination policy. Make it easy for candidates to find it when researching you as a potential employer.

4. LGBT Employee Resource Group

Having an organized formal Employee Resource Group can go a long way in fostering an inclusive and welcoming work culture. It provides an opportunity to network and builds a sense of camaraderie. Many ERGs meet up during normal work hours to discuss work-related topics as well as off-hours social events to further the personal bonds that will translate into great working relationships. It is a great way to foster career development through mentoring. Encourage senior employees to mentor junior employees. If you support employee volunteering, the LGBT ERG could expand the organization’s LGBTQ community involvement by using their corporate volunteer hours in helping local LGBTQ charity nonprofit organizations and events. Encourage and support LGBT employees to participate in seminars and conferences. Encourage and support employees to participate in industry networking groups, LGBT professional associations, and to participate in content and groups on www.OutBuro.com – the LGBT professional and entrepreneur platform.

Having open and consistent dialogue with your LGBTQ employee resource group will improve employee engagement, company culture, and provide valuable information on ways to further innovate in the workplace. Create a company/Organization group on OutBüro where employees from around the globe can interact off company resources. Be an open group where prospective candidates may also join to connect with current employees, ask question, and get a great sense of you as an employer. Ask key ERG members to join the ERG Connections group on OutBüro. This is meant to be a Super Group for cross organization networking, sharing, learning and growing an LGBTQ ERG.

5. Support the Local LGBT Community

Show your support to the local LGBT community where you operate by providing information to employees about local events, groups, and resources. Sponsor a Pride Party, or even sponsor your LGBT ERG to participate in local Gay Pride events, have a corporate booth, use it for customer leads, and talent recruiting. Celebrate National Coming Out Day. Create a video series of employees sharing their stories of coming out personally and yet again professionally. Encourage volunteering at LGBT events throughout the year. Sponsor local organizations, from general support agencies, to those that provide needed services to the homeless, youth, seniors, persons living with compromised immune systems, students, and more. Sponsor local or national sporting leagues or teams. Sponsor the local gay men’s chorus or other cultural groups/events. Invite LGBT speakers to share their experiences with your team. There are also national and international organizations that support equality and human rights. The LGBT nonprofit sector operates on shoestring budgets and desperately could use your in-kind and financial support.

List and link to all the LGBTQ organizations and non-profits you support in whatever manner on your OutBüro Employer listing. So many companies do great things yet no one other than the benefiting organization has any clue. Show it. Tout it. It makes LGBT employees proud to work for you and it demonstrates to LGBT candidates, as well as customers, that you are involved in the community and therefore likely a super fantastic place to go to work or as a customer spend their money with.

6. Support LGBT Entrepreneurs

Sponsor the local LGBT chamber of commerce. Encourage LGBTQ employees to get involved to represent the company in the LGBTQ Chamber. If and where possible allow the employee to mentor small business owners. Sponsor LGBT founded startups – with funds, product/services discount or as in-kind sponsorship to help the small business grow. Add LGBT friendly procurement policies and actively seek products and services by LGBTQ owned businesses. Consider providing a workshop on how to do business with your company, the steps to becoming an approved small business vendor, if NGLCC certification is required or what other factors may help them secure a vendor agreement with you. The NGLCC has an LGBT certified business accreditation. That is great, but it is far from representing all LGBTQ business due to many factors. In your supplier diversity program certainly include NGLCC accredited LGBTQ suppliers, but be open to non-accredited ones too who as a startup not yet meet some of the accreditation requirements such as years in business with positive cash flow. Consider the merits of the business and found and advise them on how best to move forward.

List and link to all the organizations you support of LGBTQ owned business in whatever manner on your OutBüro Employer listing. So many companies do great things yet no one other than the benefiting organization has any clue. Show it. Tout it. It makes LGBT employees proud to work for you and it demonstrates to LGBT candidates that you are involved in the community and therefore likely a super fantastic place to go to work.

7. LGBT Inclusive Employee Surveys

On your periodic employee surveys allow the option for employees to anonymously identify as LGBTQ and ask specific questions regarding their experiences and feedback. Do not assume everyone will be open. Did you know that a recent study found that a whopping 29% of Americans under 30 years old identify as “heteroflexible”? So how you treat you open full out loud and proud LGBTQ employees has a much larger base than most assume and more than you will like ever truly exactly know.

8. LGBT Employer Rating/Reviews

Just like the employer reviews on Glassdoor.com, Indeed.com, Monster.com, and others, OutBüro (https://www.OutBuro.com) offers LGBTQ employees the ability to anonymously rate/review the current and recent past employers. Employers are strongly advised to claim their listing if already present or proactively add your employer listing. It is important to engage with reviews as you would on any other platform. It is advised to make all employees aware that you are participating in OutBüro. You may use the opportunity to reinforce your open and safe reporting policy while welcoming ratings/reviews on OutBüro. Such ratings/reviews can be a great source of insights as potential candidates seek information about you as an employer before applying. Check this article out: Company Reviews – Good for Companies and Their LGBTQ Employees

OutBüro logged in users may leave comments or questions on your OutBüro Employer listing or in groups. It is an opportunity to engage with potential candidates and customer. It should not be left ignored.

9. LGBTQ Competency Training

Having ongoing LGBTQ awareness training is important to fostering an inclusive and welcoming work environment. The content should be progressive and continual. If you don’t already, consider adding corporate notable figures and society historical figures to company communications regularly. It may feature persons who helped shape the company in the past or present. Feature diverse employees. The thing about LGBTQ employees is that unlike age, race, or gender, all, for the most part, are typically apparent. Being LGBTQ is not always as apparent and therefore if your culture is welcoming and the employee is okay with it, clearly state the employee’s LGBTQ identity along with all the great stuff they are doing within and for the company/organization.

This creates awareness as well as clearly demonstrates to all employees that the company/organization values the contributions of its employees including LGBTQ employees. Depending on the size of the company, I normally recommend featuring an employee once a week. Creating a video interview or video story is most ideal. For those features that are LGBTQ employees, you now have LGBTQ employer branding content. Share all via your YouTube channel. For LGBTQ features, add them to your OutBüro Employer listing too. This is a morale booster for other LGBTQ employees as well as a clear message that discrimination and/or harassment is not tolerated here. I recommend coupling this and/or other creative ideas with traditional training. It is a message however that reinforces the training provided and I consider it to be a micro lesson.

How about regular games that could become a tournament? Foster employee engagement activity where you can use an online quiz/survey tool to create a trivia knowledge game. Be creative and make it your own. Invite all staff to submit questions to be included. Heck, you might grow it into being quarter Family Feud like shows. Live Stream it to all offices, post on social media. Show what an inclusive, wicked smart team and fun culture you have. The point here is that LGBT biases, like others, are learned from a young age and deeply engrained. Creating new habits, and un-programing those deeply held biases take effort, energy, and but it can be fun and engaging.

Do you need help? We are happy to assist you and/or make recommendations to D&I consultant around the globe.

10. Offer LGBT-Friendly Benefits

For job seekers, today, inclusive benefits packages and non-discrimination clauses are some of the most important considerations when researching potential employers. In studies, it was found that having LGBTQ benefits also is important to young heterosexual job seekers. Overall job seekers want to feel they are working for an employer who is fair, socially, and environmentally responsible. Not being so can cost you in by reducing your chances of attracting top talent.

Be sure not to unintentionally exclude LGBTQ families and transgender individuals. Offer equal benefits to all employees, regardless of their sexual orientation, including parental leave, adoption leave, and time off to take care of dependants. Gendered language can cause parental benefits to unintentionally exclude LGBTQ families. Make your benefits inclusive of all employees by being conscious of what words you use in your coverage and favoring gender-neutral terms. it is the right thing to do for all employees as it is gender equality focused too. Today, in opposite-gender relationships, it is not uncommon for the male to be the child care provider while the female works.

  • Sexual orientation non-discrimination
  • Gender Identity non-discrimination
  • Domestic partner benefits
  • Transgender inclusive health benefits

11. Foster a Gender-Neutral Environment

Create a gender-neutral environment by making some simple changes such as establishing unisex toilets and using gender-neutral language, like ‘partner’ instead of husband or wife, and asking all employees to list their preferred pronouns on email sinatur blocks and employee directory listings.

12. Keep Track, Evaluate, & Improve

Celebrate your successes and monitor your progress by tracking things such as the number of employee grievances naturally with details of the type, persons involved, location, department, and such. No matter how small or outcome, track it. This could lead to identifying trends over time that need to be addressed. Of course, as in all employee training, track D&I training by course completed inclusive of LGBT competency training. If legally able track who is an out self-identified LGBTQ employee and when they publically came out. The more that comes out is a direct relation to the success of the organization in creating a safe and welcoming space. Tract ERG involvement likewise. If active participation falls or doesn’t attract employees to participate, why? Do they not feel safe? Is the ERG doing things that are attractive to employees? How does it compare with other company ERGs? Have you networked with other company LGBT ERG leaders with strong employee participation to gain insights on how to be effective?

13. Support Transgender Employees

As transgender visibility within the LGBTQ community has increased over the past few years, it has become clear that transgender people face a unique set of experiences and challenges. Learn what steps to take after an employee comes out as transgender to create a supportive and encouraging environment. Human Resource is an important player in assisting transgender employees during the complex and lengthy process of transitioning. We recommend special training from trainers who are themselves, transgender. We are happy to connect your organization with outstanding transgender coaches.

14. Post your own LGBT focused company and employee content

Increase your employer brand awareness with LGBTQ professionals. With an OutBüro Employer Listing subscription, the organization may post content directly to our blog as an author. We’d strongly recommend the content be LGBT professional life-related in some way. Perhaps it’s articles about what local, regional or national LGBT related events the organization has sponsored. Or maybe articles and videos featuring LGBT employees or customers. The article will list the authorized person/person as the author in an author bio box that will link all other past submissions posted.

If there have been negative reviews/ratings, an article might address what the organization is doing or has done to improve. It’s also a great way to feature what activities and such the organization’s LGBTQ employee resource group is doing on a monthly or quarterly basis. So many possibilities for your organization to be proactive. Some of this may be in the form of press releases. All submissions will be reviewed for approval before going live to ensure it’s appropriate for our audience and in line with the goals of OutBüro.

15. Bonus Tip – Strategic Talent Acquition: Recruiting LGBTQ Candidates

This topic has been mentioned in numerous articles here on OutBüro. It is a topic that wide and deep thus we have dedicated a full article to it. Please refer to the Strategic Talent Acquisition: Recruiting LGBTQ Candidates article for more. Will link once completed later this week.

Be sure to check out these additional resources and search OutBüro for other related topics of interest to you. Please place questions and desired article/video suggestions in the comments. We are happy to add suggested topics to our content calendar that fit our broad focus. You are also welcome to post via the activity stream, articles, and more. This is your community. Jump in.

Conclusion

OutBüro is a growing valuable tool for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer professionals for networking and as passive or active job seekers. OutBüro is here to help you to demonstrate all the great things you do to support your LGBTQ employees and attract LGBT talent as candidates to join your team.

Letters to a Gay Black Boy by LGBTQ Autor Terry Dyer LGBT Professional OutBuro Out Voices Podcast Interview Video Series online community

Letters to a Gay Black Boy – Terry Dyer – LGBT Author Chat

Terry Dyer is an African American gay male author. His first book titled “Letters to a Gay Black Boy” is released in a critical time of public dialog about racial disparity, inequality, tensions, ignorance, biases, and more throughout the United States and around the world. Similar issues are still faced at this time within the LGBTQ community. Dyer takes a head-on approach to authentically personalize the issues, struggles, trials, and tribulations of growing up in the United States as both an African American black male and an intersection with also being gay. This is a book that transcends race and sexuality. It is about self-appreciation, self-acceptance, and self-love.

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The book is a compilation of letters written from an adult self to his younger self. It is chock-full of heartfelt, honest, raw, funny, sad, personal, practical, truthful, and wisdom laden advice from his years of life lessons learned and experiences had. It is an, “I wish I had known then what I know now” passing of the torch so that others today may identify with, connect with, and perhaps take away some knowledge to help them feel they are not alone. They too may rise above. They too may find their true self no matter their current situation. They too have the strength, right, and power to be happy, authentic in self-love, and true unconditional love from others.

Connect with Terry on OutBüro: https://www.outburo.com/profile/terrydyer/

Get your copy of “Letters to a Gay Black Boy” here: https://amzn.to/3goZurj

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