Navigating the professional world while belonging to the LGBTQIA community can be a difficult process. Figuring out how to come out in a workplace context, dealing with co workers that toe the line of ignorance and discrimination and seeking out LGBTQIA friendly corporate companies all pose an extra challenge when it comes to finding your ideal career. The “My Queer Career Panel” hosted by Scheller Pride on Sept. 25th strived to provide advice on those unfavorable situations and more.
The panel consisted of the following three members of the LGBTQIA community who attended or currently attend Tech: Chad Slieper, Director of the Law, Science, and Technology minor program and PUBP graduate, Kantwon Rogers, a first-year CS PhD candidate and Laura Hall, a graduate of the MBA program who now works in digital marketing and communications.
The forum was moderated by Peter Severa, who serves as the director of MBA Student Engagement at Tech. Severa started off with a question that asked the panelists to consider how Tech has transformed in terms of LGBT awareness on campus.
Rogers, who has studied at Tech for the past 8 years and is currently working as an RA mentioned the increase in gender inclusive and gender neutral spaces on campus, as well as the introduction of gender inclusive housing.
“The housing department has started gender inclusive housing. It’s not widespread just yet but they started this program where they offer rooms to people based off of their gender identity as opposed to their sex. I think there is a push for more gender inclusive spaces across campus,” said Rogers.
The conversation then turned toward the professional world and concerns about putting LGBTQIA related activities and research on your resume.
“I say, just own it, put it on your resume: why would you want to work somewhere that has a problem with you supporting LGBT causes?” Hall asked.
Slieper added that the resume process is also an opportunity for you to screen potential companies and their tolerance.
“It’s not just them screening you, but it’s also a way for you to make sure this is a company that is going to be okay with your identity,” said Slieper.
The panel went on to discuss more in depth issues including the caution that has to be taken when studying and traveling abroad, the issue of sexual racism in the LGBTQIA dating community and how to deal with conflicts with coworkers who make assumptions based on your sexuality. The members all stressed the importance of voicing concerns.
“Just remember that it’s not all about you. It’s not just that you’re feeling personally offended and you want to go to HR. It’s making sure that that doesn’t happen to other people too” said Slieper.