DePaul University Career Center's Blog

Deadnames and Queer Discrimination in the Workplace

By: Amy Do, Career Advisor, & Isis Walker, LGBTQIA+ Resource Center Coordinator

Workplace discrimination is a significant issue faced by the LGBTQ+ community. As of 2018, 48% of LGBTQ+ workers are closeted at work, and 50% of non-LGBTQ+ workers reported that there are no employees at their company who are open about being LBGTQ+.

Both on-campus workers and seasoned professionals can benefit from taking a temperature check on their workplace’s DEI policies. Too often, queer narratives are excluded from professional discourse due to historic marginalization and hypersexualization of LGBTQ+ identities. The following resources are intended to start the conversation about labor laws, compensation, and community building for LBGTQ+ professionals.

Read the accompanying article with advice for employers/managers here

Know Your Rights

Ultimately the choice of whether to be open or not is entirely up to the individual, and the choice to come out or not is informed by a variety of factors. Coming out at work can be a  challenge, but it may also relieve the daily stress of hiding who you are. 

In 2020, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a decision in Bostock v. Clayton County making it clear that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is prohibited under the federal employment non-discrimination law known as Title VII.

On Campus:

Here at DePaul, we have policies in place that encourage students to prevent deadnaming in on-campus systems. 

If you have not undergone a legal name change, or are in the middle of the legal name change process, you can abbreviate your name to a first initial in DePaul’s systems without a government-issued document. Follow the Personal Information Change link to abbreviate your name to a first initial. For the documentation field, provide current valid identification.

You can also elect to add a name to your Campus Connect profile. The name applies to first name only and will be utilized in most university’s information systems including Campus Connect pages, Class Roster, D2L and Directory Information. 

For more information, please see the Preferred Name Information Page. Add a preferred name in Campus Connect at the following location: Campus Connect > Student Center > Personal Information > Names. For more information about changing your name on campus, check out the LBGTQIA resource page. 

For Alumni in Chicago:

For folks in the Chicago area, Chicago Worker’s Rights is an advocacy group that acts as a resource for helping people understand their rights as an LGBTQ+ professional. They have both a website and a volunteer-staffed phone hotline where “workers can turn to know their rights, learn about resources, find community and begin to organize for change.”

For Alumni elsewhere in the U.S: 

In the United States, each state has separate legislation regarding LGBTQ+ people and workplace discrimination. Some states do not have any protections where others have passed anti-discrimination legislation protecting only sexual orientation while still others include both sexual orientation and gender identity. 

Differentiating the states that have full protection from those that have no anti-discrimination laws in place is made easier with maps and charts that break down the laws for each state and explain in simple terms. The Movement Advancing Project features an interactive map delineating these differences on its website.

Get Curious  

Increasingly, companies are realizing the power and value that LGBTQ+ professionals bring to the workplace. Finding a company with a culture that values your whole self is important! Below are some ways to ensure your next job is a good fit. 

Here are some questions to ask during a job interview to see how supportive workplace policies are of LGBTQ+ workers and their families:

  1. Does this employer/company have health insurance coverage that is supportive of LGBTQ+ people? Does that coverage extend to same-sex spouses, partners, etc? Does that coverage include resources for people who are transitioning?
  2. Does this company have a non-discrimination policy inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity? Even if the state you are in does not have protective legislation, individual companies/organizations may have inclusive policies. Here is a webpage from Human Rights Campaign that provide insight on specific phrases to look for when job searching to see if a prospective employer has inclusive policies.
  1. Is there an “employee resource” or “affinity” group that focuses on LGBTQ issues?

Find Community

Many larger organizations have various identity groups where workers of different backgrounds come together through social events and professional development. DePaul’s OMSS has a fantastic LGBTQIA+ Resource Center that hosts SPECTRUM’s Annual Drag Show, as well as Lavender Graduation and other year-round programming. 

Finding community outside of work is also essential to establishing a healthy support system. Chicago-based community based resources include Brave Space Alliance, Trans Chicago, and the Center on Halstead.

When LGBTQ+ professionals can bring their full selves to work, they give greater visibility to their full spectrum of creativity and illuminate the untapped potential of a more inclusive world. Whether you are looking for your first ever full time position or pivoting after decades in the industry, the DePaul Career Center is here to support you in your journey. 

This blog post is a part of Here We Include, an organized campaign to bring together faculty, staff, and on-campus partners to celebrate and uplift marginalized voices on DePaul’s campus. To learn more about the various programs, check out the Career Center instagram @depaulcareerctr

Thank you to the LGBTQIA+ Resource Center for collaborating on this important resource! For more information, check out their website and follow their instagram at @lgbtdepaul .

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