GLASS Caucus Statement on Senate Democratic Diversity Initiative Survey Results

WASHINGTON – The GLASS Caucus, the official LGBTQ staff association of the United States Senate, issued the following statement on the results of the 2019 Senate Democratic Diversity Initiative Survey:

“We commend the Senate Democratic Diversity Initiative in collecting LGBTQ data on this year’s survey. Their efforts in including LGBTQ staff in their survey is a step in the right direction. We look forward to continued action towards improving the collection of this important data for all Senate offices,” said the Senate GLASS Caucus Steering Committee Co-Chairs.

On July 10, 2019, the Senate Democratic Diversity Initiative publicly released its third Democratic staff survey as of June 30, 2019. This report provides a snapshot of the racial, ethnic, and gender diversity among Senate Democratic staff. 

The 2017 and 2018 survey reports, however, did not collect LGBTQ staff data. In response, the GLASS Caucus proactively reached out to the Senate Democratic Diversity Initiative urgingthem to include and help shape a LGBTQ-specific item in this year’s survey. GLASS is pleased to have played a role in this first step towards capturing this important data and looks forward to continued action to improving upon these efforts.

Earlier this year, the Senate GLASS Caucus Steering Committee issued a letter to all new Senate offices requesting they include in their workplace policy manuals language that protects LGBTQ employees from discrimination based on their sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. GLASS issued a similar letter in 2018 to all Senate offices. 

Currently, the United States Senate, as a body, does not have any standing rules or procedures that prevent discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity—leaving the task of guaranteeing protections to individual offices and committees. The data in this report provides insight why these protections are necessary for a significant number of Senate staff.

As a non-partisan organization, the Senate GLASS Caucus is prepared to serve as a resource for all Senate offices and welcomes the opportunity to form policies that create an improved and welcoming workplace for all Senate employees.

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Senators Honor 15th Anniversary of the Senate GLASS Caucus

WASHINGTON – A group of U.S. Senators, led by Senator Tammy Baldwin (WI), this week marked the 15th Anniversary of the Senate GLASS Caucus—the Senate’s official non-partisan LGBTQ staff association—through a resolution recognizing the organization’s contributions to the U.S. Senate and its employees.

“The Senate GLASS Caucus has championed for 15 years efforts to promote a welcoming professional environment for all LGBTQ staff and their allies in the U.S. Senate,” said the Senate GLASS Caucus Steering Committee Co-Chairs. “We’re proud of that mission and are greatly thankful to Senator Baldwin and the co-sponsoring Senators for their leadership.”

“For the past 15 years, the GLASS Caucus has broken down barriers to public service and representation in the United States Senate. I am proud to recognize the Senate staff and allies for raising awareness around issues affecting our LGBT community,” said Senator Baldwin. “Together, we’re honoring the GLASS Caucus as we continue working to promote the welfare and dignity of LGBT Senate employees.”

In addition to recognizing the organization’s contributions to the U.S. Senate and its employees, the resolution—S. Res. 207— also honors its founding Steering Committee members, Lynden Armstrong, Brett Bearce, Josh Brekenfeld, John Fossum, Jason Knapp, Jeffrey Levensaler, Kelsey Phipps, and Mat Young, and congratulates the organization on its 15thAnniversary.

The GLASS Caucus, formed by LGBTQ Senate staff and their allies, was founded in March 2004 by a group of Senate employees to create a non-partisan organization focused on the professional development and networking of LGBTQ staff to bring visibility and promote a more positive environment for LGBTQ staff in the U.S. Senate.

The Senators who joined Baldwin in introducing this resolution are: Patty Murray (WA), Ed Markey (MA), Bob Menendez (NJ) Tim Kaine (VA), Jeanne Shaheen (NH), Bernie Sanders (VT), Michael Bennet (CO), Mazie Hirono (Hawaii), Dianne Feinstein (CA), Amy Klobuchar (MN), Martin Heinrich (NM), Dick Durbin (IL), Debbie Stabenow (MI), Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), Tammy Duckworth (IL), and Kamala Harris (CA).

GLASS Caucus Requests New Senate Offices Include LGBTQ Protections

WASHINGTON – Today, the bipartisan GLASS Caucus Steering Committee called for better protections for Senate LGBTQ employees. In a letter sent to all new Senate offices the Steering Committee requested that their workplace policy manuals include language that protects LGBTQ employees from discrimination based on their sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.

“In the spirit of promoting a more inclusive and affirming workplace in the U.S. Senate, the GLASS Caucus is committed to serve as a resource for all offices. We aim to help offices address workplace culture and create safe spaces for all LGBTQ individuals and their allies. We firmly believe steps like these will help create an atmosphere where employees can better serve their colleagues and principals in carrying out the Senate’s business,” said the GLASS Co-Chairs.

The GLASS Caucus issued a similar letter last year asking for LGBTQ workplace protections. Currently, the United States Senate, as a body, does not have any standing rules or procedures that prevent discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity—leaving the task of guaranteeing protections to individual offices and committees.

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Senate GLASS Caucus Elects Bipartisan Steering Committee

WASHINGTON – Today, the GLASS Caucus, the Senate’s official LGBTQ staff association, announced its newly elected bipartisan Steering Committee for 2019:

· Co-chair: Robert Curis (Sen. Debbie Stabenow)
· Co-chair: Tré Easton (Sen. Patty Murray)
· Treasurer: Hans Hansen (Agriculture Committee)
· Secretary: Trelaine Ito (Sen. Brian Schatz)
· Social Engagement Director: Donald Pollard (Sen. Tim Kaine)
· Communications Director: Pablo Sierra-Carmona (Sen. Kyrsten Sinema)
· At-Large Director: Brennen McAndrew (Sen. Bill Cassidy)
· At-Large Director: Mairéad Lynn (HELP Committee)
· At-Large Director: Russell Page (Sen. Martin Heinrich)

The new leadership team was elected by a February vote of GLASS Caucus members, after which the Steering Committee met and elected its co-chairs and other officers. Following the meeting, the GLASS Caucus co-chairs Robert Curis and Tré Easton released the following statement:

“GLASS strives to make the U.S. Senate a more inclusive and welcoming workplace for all LGBTQ people and their allies,” said the co-chairs. “To that end, we welcome the opportunity of being a resource to offices and staff to diversify and increase LGBTQ visibility in the Senate. We plan to deliver on those goals by hosting professional development, networking, and diversity events. As a nonpartisan organization, it is our priority to improve the representation of women, people of color, and Republican and Democratic LGBTQ staff on Capitol Hill. Offices on both sides of the aisle represent a wide range of constituencies and we stand ready to help in those important efforts.”

The GLASS Caucus is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization open to all whose purpose is to raise awareness of issues affecting the LGBTQ community, increase visibility and promote the welfare and dignity of LGBTQ employees of the United States Senate by providing a safe environment for social interaction and professional development.

GLASS strives to advance LGBTQ interests on Capitol Hill by hosting various events that enhance LGBTQ visibility and working with offices to strengthen protections for LGBTQ employees. These events include marching in the Annual DC Pride Parade with the LGBT Congressional Staff Association and Library of Congress GLOBE; a semiannual Speaker Series, which most recently hosted Senators Heidi Heitkamp and Doug Jones; and senior staff panels on Senate LGBTQ history.

Staff interested in becoming involved with the GLASS Caucus can visit glasscaucus.org or email info@glasscaucus.org.

Senate GLASS Caucus Calls for Protections for LGBTQ+ Senate Staff

WASHINGTON – Today the Steering Committee of the Senate GLASS Caucus, the professional association for LGBTQ+ Senate Staff and their allies, sent a Dear Colleague letter calling on Senate offices to commit to implementing non-discrimination policies protecting staffers from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.

“The Senate GLASS Caucus requests that each U.S. Senate office commit to the inclusion of a clause or language prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression within their office policy manuals and hiring processes,” the letter says.

“We applaud the Senate offices that presently formally prohibit discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression, and we strongly urge those that do not yet include such language in their internal office policy documents to swiftly adopt these provisions to ensure a safe and respectful workplace,” the letter continues.

Currently, no Senate-wide rules or procedures prevent discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression in the United States Senate.

The text of the full letter is available here.

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Senate GLASS Caucus Responds to Dem Diversity Survey

WASHINGTON – Today the Steering Committee of the Senate GLASS Caucus, the professional association for LGBTQ+ Senate Staff and their allies, released the following statement following the publication of survey results conducted by the Senate Democratic Diversity Initiative:

“We applaud the efforts of the Senate Democratic Diversity Initiative to give an accurate depiction of racial diversity across Democratic Senate Offices. However, while these results show many Senators taking positive steps toward a more representative Capitol Hill, this important survey still paints only part of the picture. The fact remains that LGBTQ+ representation — particularly for LGBTQ+ people of color — is an ongoing, unresolved challenge.

“We strongly encourage both the Democratic and Republican caucuses to make equal opportunity for LGBTQ+ staff a priority and to expand the parameters of such surveys to include items related to sexual orientation and gender identity and/or expression. The GLASS Caucus stands ready to work with any and all offices to create a more inclusive and affirming Senate workplace for LGBTQ+ staff.”  

The results of the survey may be found here.

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Senate GLASS Caucus Announces 2018 Steering Committee

WASHINGTON – Today the Senate GLASS Caucus, the association of LGBTQ Senate staff, announced its 2018 Steering Committee:

  • Co-chair: Robert Curis (Sen. Debbie Stabenow)
  • Co-chair: Tré Easton (Sen. Patty Murray)
  • Treasurer: Peter Narby (Sen. Jeff Merkley)
  • Secretary: Trelaine Ito (Sen. Brian Schatz)
  • Social Engagement Director: Hans Hansen (Senate Sergeant at Arms)
  • Membership Engagement Director: Russell Page (Sen. Martin Heinrich)
  • Communications Director: Wyatt Larkin (Sen. Mark Warner)

The new leadership team was elected by a February vote of GLASS Caucus members, after which the Steering Committee met and elected its co-chairs and other officers. Following the meeting, the GLASS Caucus co-chairs Robert Curis and Tré Easton released the following statement.

“We look forward to a productive year of enhancing membership engagement, creating new opportunities for our members, and serving as a resource to make the Senate a more affirming and inclusive workplace,” the co-chairs said. “To that end, the GLASS Caucus will make it a priority to improve the representation of LGBTQ staffers – of queer women and people of color, in particular – on Capitol Hill. Many offices on both sides of the aisle can and should do more to make their staffs more representative of their constituencies, and we stand ready to help in those important efforts.”

The GLASS Caucus is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization open to all whose purpose is to raise awareness of issues affecting the LGBTQ community, increase visibility and promote the welfare and dignity of LGBTQ employees of the United States Senate by providing a safe environment for social interaction and professional development.

The GLASS Caucus currently has two vacancies on the Steering Committee. In an effort to provide inclusive and representative leadership, GLASS encourages LGBTQ women, Republicans, staffers of color, and other underrepresented staff to apply.

Staff interested in becoming involved with the GLASS Caucus can visit glasscaucus.org or email info@glasscaucus.org.

 

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CONGRESSIONAL STAFF ASSOCIATIONS CALL FOR ACTION TO ADDRESS SEXUAL HARASSMENT

For Immediate Release
December 8, 2017
info@glasscaucus.org

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Congressional Asian Pacific American Staff Association, Congressional Black Associates, Congressional Hispanic Staff Association, Congressional South Asian American Staff Association, Congressional Vegetarian Staff Association, Italian-American Congressional Staff Association, LGBT Congressional Staff Association, Professional Administrative Managers Staff Organization, Senate Black Legislative Staff Caucus, Senate GLASS Caucus, and Women’s Congressional Staff Association together issued the following joint statement urging Congress to take additional action regarding workplace sexual harassment:

“Working for Congress is an honor and a privilege for all of us. We work hard to support Members of the House and Senate in their service to the constituents they represent. The #MeToo movement has sparked an important national conversation and brought to light cases of sexual harassment at all levels of Capitol Hill, including between members and staff, between senior staff and the people they manage, and between colleagues. It also made clear what many of us already knew: the current disjointed process for reporting sexual harassment discourages victims from coming forward and has allowed a culture where this type of abuse goes unchecked.

“The legislation that the House and Senate passed to require sexual harassment and workplace rights training for all Members and staff is a step in the right direction. Holding Members of Congress accountable for their actions is critical and we need to reform the current reporting process to protect survivors. Members of Congress and their staff should be held to high standards and our workplace should set an example. It is our hope that Congress takes sexual harassment seriously and considers legislation to address these issues.”

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GLASS Statement on Justice Department Directives

For Immediate Release
October 6, 2017
info@glasscaucus.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Steering Committee of the GLASS Caucus, the professional association for LGBTQ Senate Staff and their allies, released the following statement in response to “religious liberty”  and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 guidance recently issued by the Department of Justice:

“Yesterday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued new guidance to U.S. Attorneys reversing an interpretation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that had previously extended nondiscrimination protections for transgender Americans. And today, the Department of Justice issued a memo to government agencies that expanded ‘religious liberty’ considerations for government hiring, contracting, and programming, allowing organizations and businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ Americans.

“Both of these new directives undermine the fundamental American principle that all people should be treated fairly and equally throughout society, whether at a place of business, when receiving goods and services, or even here in the halls of Congress. The Steering Committee of the GLASS Caucus calls on the President and the Attorney General to commit themselves to fostering an open and inclusive society that protects all Americans from discrimination, and where religious liberties do not circumvent Americans’ constitutional right to equal treatment under the law.”

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GLASS Statement on Transgender Service Policy Reversal

For Immediate Release
July 26, 2017
info@glasscaucus.org

WASHINGTON, DC – The Steering Committee of GLASS Caucus, the professional association for LGBTQ Senate Staff and their allies, released the following statement following the announcement by the President of the United States declaring that transgender individuals will no longer be able to serve in the military:

“Today, President Trump announced that ‘the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.’ An estimated 4,000 transgender Americans actively and selflessly serve in our Armed Forces. These heroes rise to this call for the same reasons as any other American and to turn them away and label them a ‘burden’ does a disservice to all those who have earned the respect and gratitude of the entire nation.

In 2016, the U.S. Department of Defense ordered the military to begin allowing transgender personnel to enlist and serve openly. The Steering Committee strongly condemns the Administration’s reversal of this policy. We call upon President Trump and Defense Secretary Mattis to release all relevant studies and findings supporting the conclusion that open service of transgender Americans in the military would have adverse effects on readiness and inflict significant costs on healthcare spending for personnel.”
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