Pride in the Workplace: UNL Career Services & UNL Gender and Sexuality Center

This Pride Month, UNL Career Services would like to highlight Pride in the Workplace. We asked the UNL Gender and Sexuality Center (GSC) for insight and advice. JD McCown, Assistant Director of GSC, elaborated on the services GSC provides, the importance of an inclusive LGBTQA+ work environment, and tips for LGBTQA+ individuals and allies. 

Pride in the Workplace graphic

Q&A with JD McCown, Assistant Director of the Gender and Sexuality Center 

  1. Why does the workplace need to acknowledge Pride Month and LGBTQA+ initiatives?   

“Organizations celebrating Pride Month and supporting LGBTQA+ initiatives are great ways to show that they are LGBTQA+-inclusive. Showing inclusivity helps to recruit and retain LGBTQA+ individuals to a workplace and to reach a new demographic of customers.” 

  1. What unique challenges might LGBTQA+ students face in the job search process?  

“LGBTQA+ students may face a variety of unique challenges including deciding to include pronouns resumes/cover letters, determining relative safety of places they may need to move to, navigating legal name on documentation, and finding employers with LGBTQA+-inclusive benefits.” 

  1. How can students navigate these challenges?   

“It is entirely a person’s decision on what to include on a resume or cover letter. Many LGBTQA+ people decide to include pronouns, which can be an important indicator for folks, especially transgender folks, on how accepting a work environment may be.”

“If someone is looking at moving for work, it is important to determine how welcoming the new location will be. Check to see if there are LGBTQA+-protections or other affirming legislation where you may be moving. You can also check to see if there are LGBTQA+ organizations or businesses to help you find community.”

“For employment purposes, there are some places where folks will have to put their legal name, even if it differs from their chosen name. Typically, you can default to chosen name unless it is a legal document or legal name is specified.’

“For benefits, it is important to know what benefits you may be using in the future and discussing them with your potential employer/HR office. Some benefits that LGBTQA+ people may be looking for include long-term partner benefits, trans-related health care, PrEP/PEP coverage, and more.” 

  1. How can LGBTQA+ students identify inclusive and supportive employers? 

“There are many things to look for in a prospective employer that can identify them as LGBTQA+-inclusive, including a nondiscrimination policy that includes gender identity and sexual orientation, an LGBTQA+ employee resource group, an inclusivity statement, and attendance at/acknowledgement of Pride.” 

  1. What role can allies within the workplace play in supporting LGBTQA+ individuals, during Pride Month and in general?   

“Advocating for LGBTQA+ inclusion in policies, correcting and challenging harmful stereotypes they may hear about LGBTQA+ people, encouraging the company to participate in Pride and being present to staff the booth/parade/etc., and listening to and supporting your LGBTQA+ coworkers.” 

  1. Lastly, what tips do you have for LGBTQA+ students to build confidence within their career journeys? 

“You deserve to be able to show up as your full self and be welcomed and respected. If a workplace cannot provide you with that, it does not deserve your time and energy. Find your community wherever you go. There are always people willing to help if you only ask.” 

This month, GSC celebrated Pride month by participating in local events, wrote an article on ideas for celebrating Pride, and collaborated with a Novel Idea to fundraise for the LGBTQA+ Student Support fund. On campus, GSC provides programming, free menstrual and sexual products, support and resources for students, community involvement and connection, and more. 

To connect with UNL Career Services, visit careers.unl.edu/connect.  and connect with UNL Gender and Sexuality Center for more at https://gsc.unl.edu/connect-us.  Happy Pride!

By Erica Napuli
Erica Napuli