LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) Clients: Best Practices for Informed EAP Providers and Organizations

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1 LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) Clients: Best Practices for Informed EAP Providers and Organizations Melinda Strauss, LICSW, CEAP Richard Killion, LCSW, CEAP

2 AGENDA Introduction and Icebreaker Lesbians & Gays In The Workplace - Video Community Definitions Transgender Discussion - Video Possible LGBT Client Issues & Challenges Organizational Best Practices Discussion: Challenges for Client Organizations and EAP Staff A Younger Generation Enters The Workforce Wrap-Up

3 Icebreaker When I think about providing EAP services to LGBT clients, I am concerned about...

4

5 Coming Out In The Workplace Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity In the closet, closeted; Not open about sexual orientation Coming out (of the closet): A lifelong process of becoming aware of one s sexual orientation, and of making decisions to tell others or not.

6 Gay Issues in the Workplace: Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Employees Speak for Themselves by Brian McNaught

7 Most LBGT employees still hide themselves at work. HRC Foundation Study Open to a Few/ Not Open to Anyone at Work Open to Everyone at Work

8 Community Definitions Lesbian/Gay Bi-Sexual Transgender/Transsexual/Transvestite Binational Cross Dressing (Drag King/Drag Queen) DOMA Don t Ask/Don t Tell ENDA Sex Reassignment

9 Community Definitions - Continued Homophobia: Fear or hatred of homosexuality in others or in ourselves Transphobia: Fear or hatred of transgender people Heterosexism: A belief in the superiority of heterosexuality, that it is inherently better to be heterosexual than homosexual

10

11 Stories of Transgender Employees Everyone Matters: Dignity and Safety for Transgender People

12 Workplace Resources Resources for Managers and Organizations on Transgender Inclusion in the Workplace er_inclusion_workplace.htm

13 Clinical Considerations

14 At-Risk Factors for Sexual and Gender Minorities Oppression, Hate Crimes Coming Out (at work, with family, in society) Depression, Suicide Substance Abuse Impaired Sexual Functioning Unsafe Sex Practices Domestic Violence Eating Disorders Body Dysmorphic Disorder + anything else that anyone goes through

15 Things for clinicians to consider when assisting LGBT employees (Epstein, 2004) Understanding gender identity and related issues Impact of gender identity on work performance (hiding at work) Support systems including friends, intimate relationships and family members Health concerns, including HIV and AIDS Individual s comfort level with his/her sexuality and their ability to express feelings Experience with anti-gay violence or oppression; Legal problems related to sexual behavior, police harassment, workplace discrimination, partner benefits, survivor rights Substance abuse (past and present)

16 EAP Best Practices

17 EAP Best Practices: Intake In your waiting room and counselor offices, are there LGBT symbols, posters, magazines or community resource pamphlets? Do forms use gender neutral terms, like partner or spouse instead of husband or wife? Are there openly identified LGBT EAP counselors, or EAP counselors who are straight allies, available to clients?

18 Special Consideration for Phone-Only Intakes Creating a welcoming environment for all people to be able to disclose sensitive information No assumptions avoiding auto pilot Remembering that what s most important is how someone identifies themselves on the phone and the language they use to do that.

19 EAP Best Practices: Staff Training Are topics covered with the awareness that some clients are LGBT? Are issues that face LGBT clients as a minority discussed and understood? Is knowledgeable consultation available? Are culturally attuned resources readily available to clients and staff?

20 EAP Best Practices: Marketing Do articles that mention or include LGBT issues appear in your newsletter and on your website? Do you use gender neutral terms in your literature and on your website? Do you advertise your job openings in LGBT media?

21 EAP Best Practices: Policy Are sexual orientation and gender identity included in your anti-discrimination policy? Do you have an anti-harassment policy that forbids homophobic and transphobic comments? Does your personnel policy provide leave of absence for death or illness of significant others?

22 EAP Best Practices: Environment Do you interrupt anti-gay jokes, comments, actions and behaviors? Do you show interest in the family life of LGBT colleagues? Would a LGBT EAP counselor feel safe choosing to be open about his or her sexual orientation or gender identity at your EAP?

23 EAP Best Practices: Environment Does your EAP support workplace affinity/employee resource groups? Does your EAP develop or deliver diversity training to employees that includes information about homophobia, transphobia and LGBT issues in the workplace?

24 Discussion

25 A Younger Generation Enters the Workplace: year olds More openly gay generation: Queer Youth Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) in high school and college Gay and lesbian visibility in entertainment and sports Internet as a resource Heterosexual friends, family who support equality Expectations about informed, accepting workplaces

26 Wrap-Up

27 OTHER QUESTIONS? Richard Killion Melinda Strauss

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