What is the GLASS Caucus?
The Gay, Lesbian, and Allies Senate Staff (GLASS) Caucus is a non-profit, non-partisan organization open to all whose purpose is to raise awareness of issues affecting the LGBT community, increase visibility and promote the welfare and dignity of LGBT employees of the United States Senate by providing a safe environment for social interaction and professional development.
Who are GLASS members?
GLASS members include staff (and interns) employed by the United States Senate. GLASS is a non-partisan organization made up of individuals from Democratic, Republican, Independent and non-designated offices. This includes personal and committee offices, as well as support staff in and around the Capitol Hill Complex. We come from all walks of life, with diversity in age, gender, ethnicity, geographic location, sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.
What does it mean to be a “member” ?
The term “member” is loosely defined – there is no formal requirement to become a member or join the organization. Most of our events are free and open to the public, unless specifically stated. Current Senate staff members can support GLASS by becoming a “dues-paying member” and contributing a small amount ($20 per calendar year) to help support our programming needs and carry out our mission. Occasionally GLASS provides special opportunities and hosts events for dues-paying members only. Dues-paying members also retain the right to vote in elections, serve on the Steering Committee, and vote on amendments to the organization’s bylaws.
Do I have to be gay, bisexual or transgender to be a part of GLASS?
No. GLASS is an organization for straight allies just as much as it is for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals. With a mission to raise awareness of issues affecting the LGBT community, increase visibility and promote the welfare and dignity of LGBT employees in the Senate, we welcome and encourage straight allies to become members and supporters of the organization.
In 2011, GLASS welcomed the first straight ally to serve on the Steering Committee since the organization’s founding. In 2012, she was elected to the Steering Committee for a full term and currently serves as the Mentorship Chair.
Why would someone join GLASS? What resources are available?
Being a part of a close-knit community allows us to provide unique opportunities to our members through an ever-growing networking of LGBT individuals and allies. Whether it is legislative briefings, employment resources, community events or simply happy hours, GLASS aims to be a valuable resource to Senate employees. GLASS sponsors a variety of social and educational events, as well as professional development and networking opportunities throughout the year. Please see our Senate Resources Page for specific information on our Mentorship Program, Lunch & Learn Series and programs by our partners at the Gay & Lesbian Victory Institute.
How can I get more involved with GLASS?
If you are a Senate employee, please visit our GLASS Membership Page. If you are with an organization, feel free to reach out to us on our Community Page. Members of the media should visit our Press Page by clicking here. For general questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org
How do I find out about GLASS events?
There are several ways to interact with GLASS. Joining our email list is the best way to stay up to date with our events and activities. We often announce GLASS events on our members-only Facebook Group, and share events from the greater LGBT community on our public Facebook Fan Page. You can visit our calendar of upcoming events, and head over to our blog to see current and past events.
Are GLASS events for Senate staff members only?
Each event is different, so please read the event descriptions carefully for specific information on how to participate. From time to time we host events for Senate staff only, but most of our events are free and open to the public, unless otherwise stated.
If you are an organization interested in partnering with GLASS or would like us to share information about your event, please contact Steering Committee Member Michael DiNapoli at email@example.com or visit our Community Page for more information.
Is GLASS an organization that advocates for LGBT legislation in the Senate and on Capitol Hill?
As a non-profit, non-partisan organization, GLASS does not participate in legislative lobbying. Some GLASS members work in a legislative capacity for their respective offices, but some do not. In line with our mission, GLASS provides educational opportunities to its members, Senate staff and the public to learn more about issues affecting the LGBT community. This includes hosting or co-hosting briefings and panel discussions on legislation, serving as a resource to other government and non-governmental organizations, and providing information that further educates stakeholders about our issues.
Does GLASS advocate for specific candidates in the Senate and in Congress?
As an organization, GLASS does not participate in political activity that includes endorsing candidates or participating in functions in which money is raised for a specific candidate or political action committee. As Senate employees, GLASS members abide by their individual office policies, Senate Ethics rules and policies, and all laws prohibiting employees from involvement in political activity in relation to their employment.
How does GLASS work with other LGBT organizations?
GLASS frequently partners with other organizations in the Capitol Hill community and around the Washington D.C. area, including the LGBT Congressional Staff Association in the U.S. House of Representatives and LC GLOBE (Library of Congress). If you are an organization interested in partnering with GLASS, please contact Steering Committee member Michael DiNapoli at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our Community Page for more information.
Who is GLASS led by?
GLASS is led by nine (9) Steering Committee members who carry out the mission of the organization and respond to current issues affecting LGBT staff. They also plan educational, social and networking events throughout the year. The Steering Committee meets, on average, once a month to discuss issues and carry out plans for upcoming activities. As stated in the organization’s bylaws, Steering Committee members are elected by dues-paying GLASS members and serve for a one year term. Steering Committee members must be current employees of the Senate and serve in a volunteer capacity. For more information, visit the Steering Committee Page.
When was GLASS started, and why?
In March 2004, several Senate staffers got together and create a first of its kind organization – a gay, lesbian and allies Senate staff caucus. In organizing the Caucus, they felt that an organization focused on the professional development and social networking of gay and lesbian employees would help bring greater, more positive visibility of gay and lesbian issues to the Senate community and create a more positive environment for LGBT staffers. For more information on how GLASS was founded, please visit the History Page.
How do you handle issues of confidentiality?
While GLASS’s mission is to increase visibility and promote the welfare and dignity of LGBT employees of the Senate, the organization takes the issue of confidentiality seriously. We recognize and respect that each individual is on his or her own journey in navigating the unique complexities of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. In partnership with our allies, we aim to help with these issues by creating a safe environment for social interaction and professional development for LGBT Senate staff.
GLASS safeguards the confidentiality of our members at all times. Specifically, our email and member lists are kept in confidence, and names, email addresses or other information that is voluntarily given is not shared, sold, or distributed outside our network. Our Facebook Fan Page is open to the public, so individuals wishing to interact with GLASS here should review the privacy terms and check their individual settings. If you have additional questions about confidentiality in regards to GLASS events and social media, please review our Press Policy.