Creating a Positive Work Environment for LGBT Faculty: What Higher Education Unions Can Do

Source: American Federation of Teachers, April 2013

…This third report in our series on diversity in higher education discusses the challenges faced by the LGBT community in our institutions of higher education and how these challenges stem from the broader issue of a lack of federal protection for LGBT civil rights. The report highlights the perceptions of LGBT faculty, staff and students about the campus climates in which they live and presents practical advice to higher education unions about how to make their institutions more inclusive and welcoming for the LGBT community…..

Here are the key findings:
■ LGBT discrimination is real. LGBT faculty, staff and students still experience the negative impacts associated with homophobia, discrimination, and perceived or actual threats to their physical safety.
■ It matters that various bases for discrimination intersect. In order to improve the campus climate for LGBT people of color, for example, we must confront discrimination based not only on sexual identity, gender identity and gender expression, but also on race and ethnicity.
■ Institutional commitment matters. Institutions can show support for the LGBT community by providing resources and setting policies that address LGBT concerns. Overall, creating equitable policies for this population has a positive impact on the campus climate for everyone.
■ The academy provides an intellectual home for LGBT diversity. It is important that the LGBT community sees itself openly reflected in the intellectual life of the academy—that its members’ contributions are noted and that their scholarship is valued….