• Best Practices: LGBTQ Individuals

    Developed by the 2014 Diversity Research Committee

    Policies and Procedures

    Update organizational language and non-discrimination policies both written and verbal to include “gender identity” and “gender expression.” Updating nondiscrimination statement language to include this terminology offers individuals to be open about their gender expression in a safe environment. Policy language should reflect an inclusion of all sexual orientations and gender identities. (Johnson, E. & Subasic, A., 2011, The Pennsylvania State University LGBTA Student Resource Center.)

    In addition to policy language, it is important for organizations to support the LGBTQ population with partner inclusions in insurance, medical expense plans, and life insurance beneficiary positions. Such inclusions demonstrate the organizations commitment to all individuals and their partners, spouses, and family members. Employers who offer such benefits are much more likely to attract a more diverse candidate pool and retain employees for more than five years. (Empire State Pride Agenda)

    Create inclusion programs for the campus community and awareness weeks. Everything from communication pieces to university standards should be evaluated and modified when necessary to be inclusive of the LGBTQ population. This inclusion process includes routine training for students, staff, and faculty. There are good training programs such as Gay Alliance Safe Zone program.

    Recruitment and Retention

    Offer inclusive benefits to all employees and partners. Change benefits policies to support equal benefits (health, bereavement, COBRA, adoption, retirement benefits, etc.) for all employees and their partners regardless of sexual orientation or gender expression. (Empire State Pride Agenda)

    Workplace Culture and Space

    Provide LGBTQ mentoring. If employees have self-identified as LGBTQ, invite them to mentor new employees or current employees of a lower position to help foster success, growth, and partnership. Engage LGBTQ leaders to help ensure that members of the LGBTQ community within the organization are feeling included, accepted, and supported. (Empire State Pride Agenda)

    Ensure inclusion at company/university events. Make messaging clear when children are invited that children of an employee’s/student’s domestic partner are also welcome and encouraged to attend. Modify language on forms/invites from “husband” or “wife” to “spouse” or “partner”. (Empire State Pride Agenda)

    Create marketing and communications material which reinforces the organizations commitment to gender identity and sexual orientation diversity. In recruitment and company distributed literature and marketing be sure to routinely include individuals who identify as members of the LGBTQ population. This effort should be supported both through written and visual communication. (CMI Community Marketingsights)

    Resources and Tools

    All materials provided here are used with the permission of their publishers.