LGBTQ and Allied Employees at ED

LGBTQ and Allied Employees at ED Statements made by LGBTQ and Allied Employees at ED do not reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Education. Officially organized with the adoption of bylaws in August 2009, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Allied Employees at Education (LGBTQ and Allied Employees at ED) has both built upon the past contributions and continues to build on the current commitment of LGBT+ and Allied employees at the department.

With the election of a new Administration in November 2008, LGBTQ and Allied Employees at ED has intensified its efforts to create the infrastructure and institutional culture which fosters an open and inclusive work environment for LGBT+ employees at the U.S. With the support of LGBTQ and Allied Employees at ED, the Department has released a number of updated statements and policies including a Diversity Statement, EEO Policy, NO FEAR ACT Policy, and Anti-Harassment Policy. As of August 25, 2010, all documents are now sexual orientation and gender identity inclusive. The organization continues to work with the Department to: gather information about the LGBT+ community at ED; roll out and implement LGBT+-friendly directives issued by the Administration; benchmark with other Federal agencies to develop sound policies and practices that permit LGBT+ employees to be open in the workplace; initiate a comprehensive review of all Department regulations, policies and practices to ensure equitable treatment; and promote a work environment that enhances self-expression, equality and productivity by engaging the Union to include LGBT+ employees for protection against discrimination under Article 27 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The organization is also playing a pivotal role in the formation of the ED Diversity & Inclusion Council.

Mission: LGBTQ and Allied Employees at Education promotes and fosters a supportive, safe and respectful work environment within the U.S. Department of Education for employees regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. The organization also advocates on behalf of LGBT+ students and educators in America's classrooms.

Operating as usual

March 23-29 is LGBTQ Health Awareness Week, a time to bring attention to the devastating cycle of discrimination and hea...
03/23/2020

March 23-29 is LGBTQ Health Awareness Week, a time to bring attention to the devastating cycle of discrimination and health disparities that affect LGBTQ people. LGBTQ and Allied Employees at ED is especially interested in highlighting the challenges facing LGBTQ youth and how we can create safe spaces for these young people.

"Resources for LGBTQ Youth": https://www.cdc.gov/lgbthealth/youth-resources.htm

"Creating a Safe Environment": https://www.cdc.gov/lgbthealth/youth-resources.htm

"A Parent's Influence":https://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/protective/pdf/parents_influence_lgb.pdf

“Starting today, members of the transgender community will recognize Transgender Awareness Week. But it's not only a cha...
11/14/2019
Transgender Awareness Week starts today. Here's what you should know

“Starting today, members of the transgender community will recognize Transgender Awareness Week. But it's not only a chance for them to connect -- it's also a chance for their allies to show up.”

(https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/13/us/transgender-awareness-week-what-you-should-know/index.html)

Starting today, members of the transgender community will recognize Transgender Awareness Week. But it's not only a chance for them to connect -- it's also a chance for their allies to show up.

Today is Pansexual Visibility Day. It is a day to celebrate and recognize those who identify as pansexual.
05/24/2019

Today is Pansexual Visibility Day. It is a day to celebrate and recognize those who identify as pansexual.

“Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló signed an executive order on Wednesday banning the medically denounced practice of ‘g...
03/30/2019
Puerto Rico Bans Conversion Therapy For LGBTQ Youth

“Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló signed an executive order on Wednesday banning the medically denounced practice of ‘gay conversion’ therapy for minors across the island. ‘Today we take a step forward to raise awareness among the people about this type of practice that causes pain and suffering,’ Rosselló said, adding that the ban would help ‘protect children.’”

Gov. Ricardo Rosselló's executive order went into effect immediately.

Sunday, March 31 is the International Transgender Day of Visibility!Join LGBTQ and Allied Employees at ED as we learn, l...
03/29/2019

Sunday, March 31 is the International Transgender Day of Visibility!

Join LGBTQ and Allied Employees at ED as we learn, love, and grow together.

Diversity and Inclusion intern, Jessica Martinez, reflects on the 2018 Transgender Day of Remembrance gathering at the M...
11/28/2018

Diversity and Inclusion intern, Jessica Martinez, reflects on the 2018 Transgender Day of Remembrance gathering at the MCCDC in Washington, DC.

“The District’s public school system is slated to become among the first in the nation to let families select ‘non-binar...
11/13/2018
No longer just male or female: D.C. schools to give families a third option with ‘non-binary’

“The District’s public school system is slated to become among the first in the nation to let families select ‘non-binary’ — rather than male or female — when indicating the gender of their child on enrollment forms.”

(https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/no-longer-just-male-or-female-dc-schools-to-give-families-a-third-option-with-nonbinary/2018/11/12/dc34d9e5-a70c-43a1-84b7-bcd6e3acd19b_story.html?utm_term=.40b9266c78fd)

It’s part of a broader effort to ensure that transgender and non-binary students feel welcome.

10/29/2018

LGBTQ and Allied Employees at ED Celebrates LGBTQ History Month (Part 2)

ED Staff who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) and/or community allies (A) were interviewed in honor of LGBTQ History Month. They had the opportunity to share their thoughts about historical issues, progress made, and struggles the community continues to face to this day. Over the next two weeks (this is the final installment), we will share profile summaries of these interviews. This is a way for you to hear from various members of the LGBTQA+ community in the Department, positive and negative experiences, and their hopeful and wary perspectives of the future. If you are interested in learning more about LGBTQ and Allied Employees at ED or connecting with the community, please contact us at [email protected].

For more information about this project, please contact jessic[email protected].

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The World is a Changing Place

Jen has seen the world change for the better during their nine years at the Department of Education. As someone who identifies as gender-fluid, they previously served our nation for five years when the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy was in effect. It was a “scary time.” They often found themselves hiding their true self in the midst of a military investigation that had the power to jeopardize their future with the Navy. Serving in the military during this time period left them reluctant to openly share their true identity. However, over time, they have come to describe themselves as “fairly out.”

During their early years at the ED, Jen encountered intolerant and ignorant comments. The negative comments toward the LGBTQ+ community led them to shy away from being open about their identity. However, Jen has seen their office become more accepting. This is mostly due to a firm presence of the LGBTQ+ community at ED. Jen recalls a time when they were seeking someone to talk to about their experience, and found many members of the LGBTQ+ community at ED to be easily approachable and supportive. Their active presence has certainly helped create more hospitable environments for LGBTQ+ individuals at ED.

However, there are still areas in need of improvement. They continue to face assumptions of being a heterosexual due to having a husband with four kids. As an educator, they see their students who identify as LGBTQ+ struggling to “come out” and fighting the fear of rejection from family and friends. They advise their students to seek out a supportive LGBTQ+ community as they face challenges in the process of figuring out who they are as individuals. Despite the existing hostility against the LGBTQ+ community, “the world is a changing place,” says Jen. Jen is hopeful regarding future progress. Additionally, Jen advises allies to continue to be allies, and continue talking about inclusiveness across the board, because as they say, “exclusionary conversations are damaging; don’t be dismissive because neutrality supports oppression.”

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Bonded Together by a Mission

Over her 18 years at the Department of Education, Karen Stratman has been largely pleased with the gay-friendly environment. However, in the past, she experienced firsthand the difficulties that can arise from being a gay parent. In 2002, Stratman adopted her now 16-year-old son and encountered obstacles when she attempted to use her annual leave to spend time with her child. In order to use her leave, she had to produce paperwork demonstrating the adoption. Additionally, she adds, “in order to use my leave, I needed a recommendation from a judge saying that the use of my leave would benefit the relationship with my own child.” She points out that these requirements would not have been the same had she been a heterosexual parent.

Overall, Stratman describes her relationships with other staff as positive, and has never had anyone express negative comments about her being gay or being a gay parent. She notes that groups within the Department such as Supporting ED’s Parents are also inclusive of same-sex parents. Stratman has been with her partner for 13 years; over this time, she has noticed a change in the language used by staff, such as using “spouse” or “partner” instead of “husband” or “wife.” She views this as evidence of the support that exists for the LGBTQ+ community within the Department.

Stratman concludes by saying that the mission at ED is the biggest tie that brings and keeps everyone together. “This is a nice place to work because everyone here genuinely cares about the mission to help schools, kids, and teachers. It’s a positive place to be, and anyone would frown upon people [that] mak[e] others feel [excluded].” She also believes that getting to know one another as people first and not solely by how someone identifies is important when it comes to developing strong and positive relationships in the workplace.

Today is Intersex Awareness Day!Join LGBTQ and Allied Employees at ED as we learn, love, and grow together.Hyperlinks re...
10/26/2018

Today is Intersex Awareness Day!

Join LGBTQ and Allied Employees at ED as we learn, love, and grow together.

Hyperlinks referenced in the graphic provided here:

Intersex: http://www.isna.org/faq/what_is_intersex
1 in 1,500 to 2,000 births: http://www.isna.org/faq/frequency
Read more (1):http://4intersex.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/4intersex-101.pdf
Intersex surgeries: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6JFw_gD97I&feature=youtu.be
Read more (2):https://unfe.org/system/unfe-65-Intersex_Factsheet_ENGLISH.pdf
Read more (3): https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/voices/why-are-doctors-still-performing-genital-surgery-on-infants
frequently asked questions:https://www.apa.org/topics/lgbt/intersex.pdf
inclusive language:http://4intersex.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Talking-About-Intersex-on-Social-Media-Hashtag-and-Language-Guide.pdf
video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cAUDKEI4QKI
interACT youth: https://interactadvocates.org/our-advocacy/intersex-youth/

10/22/2018

LGBTQ and Allied Employees at ED Celebrates LGBTQ History Month (Part 1)

ED staff who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) and/or community allies (A) were interviewed in honor of LGBTQ History Month. They had the opportunity to share their thoughts about historical issues, progress made, and struggles the community continues to face to this day. Over the next two weeks, LGBTQ and Allied Employees at ED will share profile summaries of these interviews. This is a way for ED employees to hear from various members of the LGBTQA+ community in the Department, positive and negative experiences, and their hopeful and wary perspectives of the future. If you are interested in learning more about LGBTQ and Allied Employees at ED or connecting with the community, please contact the group at [email protected].

For more information about this project, please contact [email protected].

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The Known not Spoken of…

Despite the overall progress of the LGBTQ+ community, there are groups within that community that are still in the shadows. Countess Clarke Cooper, who has been with the Department of Education for 26 years, has experienced this reality. In the past, as someone who identifies as bisexual, she has had a hard time finding a sense of community. Unfortunately, there is still some invisibility and silence around bisexuality. Progress has been made, but in some specific communities, not as much progress is felt. “There is no talk of sexual orientation; it doesn’t exist in the language of institutionalized…settings in the communities I frequent–the African-American community-at-large and the African-American religious community in particular,” says Cooper. She suggests that this is a product of the history of oppression the culture has experienced over time. Sexual orientation is not widely discussed, as it is overshadowed by other pressing issues within the community like education, mass incarceration, housing, etc. Therefore, Cooper describes the bisexual community as “a known not spoken of,” and has struggled finding people in her circles to discuss issues affecting the bisexual community.

Throughout her life, Cooper's mother greatly influenced her by always encouraging her to “be [herself] and think for [herself],” and expected her to be a leader and do great things. With this, Cooper expresses her newfound goal to “be more of me where I am,” rather than compartmentalize life. Another important influence was the affinity group at ED. “I became vocal about my whole self and not a compartment of myself thanks to LGBTQ and Allied Employees at ED,” says Cooper. Through her almost five years of involvement, she has had a platform and a voice where she can be heard. Through the affinity group, Cooper has been able to meet like-minded people. Finding a community allows people to realize that they are not alone, which gives her a confidence she is able to carry with her outside of the workplace.

Additionally, she points out that stigma against LGBTQ+-identified individuals continues to impact the workforce. She addresses how the “LGB” groups have more privileges than the “T,” since part of finding and expressing their identity is more visible to others. Regardless of the privileges found within the community, she sees herself as a part of the whole community, and the communities within as a part of her. “We must not forget about the struggles of individual groups within the greater LGBTQ+ community," she says. Overall, Cooper would like to see employees and leaders have conversations and get to know one another better, which will hopefully lead to more respect, smiles, and other unspoken gestures of welcome and inclusion in the workplace.

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Perspective of an Ally

Looking for a community to voice her challenges as the mother of a transgender, non-binary child, Jill Martin joined LGBTQ and Allied Employees at ED. As an ally, Martin is an advocate for children who go through trauma and mental bullying due to gender dysphoria, and are stereotyped into, as she states, “what a girl or a boy should be like.” She calls for them to be seen as people, and not being defined by the body they are born into.

In the past, seeing members of LGBTQ and Allied Employees at ED come together with groups like Supporting ED’s Parents highlighted progress to Martin. The formation of these connections provides an environment for open conversation on a topic she isn’t able to easily talk about with friends.

In the future, Martin would like to see people be more inclusive of gender and not just sexual orientation issues. While her child has found a group of people where they feel accepted, Martin still struggles to be understood and embraced as a mother of a non-binary child. She finds herself having to explain to friends the difference between gender and sexual orientation because many do not understand these concepts and how they differ. She calls for more “awareness on creating inclusive environments of gender and not just sexual orientation issues.”

09/23/2018
Saturday, July 14 is International Non-Binary People's Day!
07/13/2018

Saturday, July 14 is International Non-Binary People's Day!

LGBTQ and Allied Employees at ED celebrates LGBT Equality Day!
06/26/2018

LGBTQ and Allied Employees at ED celebrates LGBT Equality Day!

“[T]he 3rd Circuit found that the district court had ruled correctly, and that forcing transgender students to use separ...
06/22/2018
3rd Circuit affirms “the needs, humanity, and decency of transgender students”

“[T]he 3rd Circuit found that the district court had ruled correctly, and that forcing transgender students to use separate facilities from the rest of their peers “would very publicly brand all transgender students with a scarlet ‘T,’ and they should not have to endure that as the price of attending their public school.’”

The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has issued an official opinion elaborating on its decision last month...

We will continue to lift up the voices of ALL young Americans.
05/19/2018

We will continue to lift up the voices of ALL young Americans.

05/15/2018
Parenting Today

Parenting Today

When LGBTQ kids are supported by their parents it can literally save their life.

03/31/2018
www.hrc.o

LGBTQ and Allied Employees at ED recognizes March 31 as International Transgender Day of Visibility. We celebrate all of our transgender and gender nonconforming colleagues wherever they are on their journeys to live openly and authentically. LGBTQ and Allied Employees at ED will continue to work on behalf of transgender and gender nonconforming individuals in both the workplace and in America's classrooms. We call on others to do the same.

For more information about International Transgender Day of Visibility, please visit:
https://www.hrc.org/resources/international-transgender-day-of-visibility
https://www.glaad.org/blog/glaad-celebrates-transgender-day-visibility-2017

03/30/2018

This week is LGBT Health Awareness Week, a time to bring attention to the devastating cycle of discrimination and health disparities that affect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. LGBTQ and Allied Employees at ED is sharing information specifically related to the health of LGBTQ youth/students.

Day 5

"[Almost 32%] of LGBTQ students missed at least one entire day of school in the past month because they felt unsafe or uncomfortable, and a tenth (10.0%) missed four or more days in the past month."

Source: The 2015 National Climate Survey, GLSEN (https://www.glsen.org/sites/default/files/GLSEN%202015%20National%20School%20Climate%20Survey%20%28NSCS%29%20-%20Executive%20Summary.pdf)

Address

400 Maryland Ave SW
Washington D.C., DC
20202

L'Enfant Plaza Metro Station (intersection of Blue/Orange & Green/Yellow lines)

General information

President: Countess Clarke Cooper Vice President: Justis Tuia Secretary: Seth Phillips

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