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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GLASS Statement on Omission of LGBTQ Questions from the 2020 Census

For Immediate Release
March 30, 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 on the U.S. Census Bureau’s omission of questions related to sexual orientation and gender identity from the 2020 Census:

“One of the guiding principles of the GLASS Caucus is to increase the visibility of the LGBTQ community. A key component to being visible is collecting information and having scientific data on the number of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer individuals in the country.

However, the federal government does not have a formal mechanism in place to track how many Americans identify as LGBTQ individuals. The Steering Committee was disappointed to learn that the Census Bureau will not include sexual orientation and gender identity in the 2020 Census or the supplemental American Community Surveys.

Data collection can be used not only to gauge how many LGBTQ people live in the United States, but also how current and future policies affect the LGBTQ community. Without a clear picture of just what the LGBTQ composition of the United States population is, it is very difficult for lawmakers and the federal government to create policies that enable the LGBTQ community to escape poverty, find lasting employment, and tend to unique medical needs. GLASS seeks to promote the welfare and dignity of LGBTQ people and as such, hopes that sexual orientation and gender identity data will soon be collected as part of federal surveys.”

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GLASS Caucus Statement on 2017 Steering Committee Members

For Immediate Release

March 10, 2017
info@glasscaucus.org

glass 2017 steering committee

 WASHINGTON, D.C. – The GLASS Caucus is happy to announce that it has elected its 2017 Steering Committee. The new leadership has already begun working on programming and events to benefit the LGBTQ and ally community in the United States Senate.

Elections were held on the week of February 20 and the Steering Committee’s first organizational meeting was held on March 7.

At this meeting, Andrew Shine of Senator Tom Carper’s office and Caitlin Hart of Senator Bill Nelson’s office were unanimously selected to serve as Co-chairs of the Steering Committee.

“Our new Board has some of the most dedicated champions in the Senate for LBGTQ voices,” said Shine. “I am humbled to be a part of this select group as we look forward to forging new relationships and maintaining existing ones in an effort to raise awareness of important issues affecting our community.”

“It’s an honor to serve with such a diverse and hardworking group of individuals,” said Hart. “The new board really hit the ground running, and I look forward to continuing GLASS’s mission of raising LGBTQ awareness and being a true resource for LGBTQ Senate staff and allies.”

Additionally, the following positions were selected for the rest of the 2017 Steering Committee members:

Robert Curis (Sen. Debbie Stabenow), Director of Social Engagement;

Tré Easton (Sen. Patty Murray), Director of Membership Engagement;

Trelaine Ito (Sen. Brian Schatz), Secretary;

Michelle Mittler (Sen. Chuck Schumer), Director At-Large;

Peter Narby (Sen. Jeff Merkley), Treasurer;

Mario Semiglia (Sen. Martin Heinrich), Director of Communications; and

Russell Page (Sen. Martin Heinrich), Director of Outreach.

 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.

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

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Statement on the U.S. Supreme Court Ruling Affirming Marriage Equality

Statement on the U.S. Supreme Court Ruling Affirming Marriage Equality

For Immediate Release

June 26, 2015
Contact: info@glasscaucus.org

WASHINGTON, DC – The Steering Committee of the Senate GLASS Caucus, the professional association for LGBT Senate staff and their allies, released the following statement on the Supreme Court’s ruling on state-level same-sex marriage bans:

“The GLASS Caucus proudly joins the growing chorus of those applauding today’s Supreme Court decision affirming marriage equality nationwide.

“As we celebrate the Court’s historic ruling, we remember those who fought so hard and so long for this incredible victory.

“While the Justices have removed a long-standing barrier to equality, GLASS remains committed to raising awareness about issues that continue to affect the welfare and dignity of all LGBT people.”

Statement on the U.S. Supreme Court Ruling Upholding the Fair Housing Act

Statement on the U.S. Supreme Court Ruling Upholding the Fair Housing Act

For Immediate Release

June 25, 2015
Contact: info@glasscaucus.org

WASHINGTON, DC – The Steering Committee of the Senate GLASS Caucus, the professional association for LGBT Senate staff and their allies, released the following statement on the Supreme Court’s ruling on disparate impact:

“Earlier this year the Supreme Court considered whether the Fair Housing Act of 1968 permits certain lawsuits based on the discriminatory effect of housing policies, even if this discrimination was not overt or intended.

“Today, the Court ruled in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project that such claims to discrimination in housing policy, known as “disparate impact”, are in fact lawful.

“This decision helps ensure that LGBT people and families across the nation, especially those in communities of color,  have fair and open access to affordable housing.  The GLASS Caucus applauds this decision, and remains committed to raising awareness about issues that continue to affect the welfare and dignity of all LGBT people.”