‘Being Queer in Your Career Panel’ to address unique needs of LGBTQA students

Erica Grasmick

Lately, I’ve been freaking out.

For a lot of college students like myself, the idea of “life after school” is equally terrifying as it is exhilarating.

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We know how privileged we are to be able to attend a university and pursue an education, but we are fed up and ready to free ourselves from exams, group projects, tuition payments and the countless other annoyances that come with the pursuit of a degree.

However, at the same time we are fearful of failure in our future endeavors. When I think about my life post-graduation, the little voice of doubt in my head starts asking questions like, “What if I don’t find a job right out of college, and end up at a dead-end job until I’m 80 years old? What if I didn’t do enough outside of the classroom to be a well-rounded job candidate? What if I chose the wrong field to go into?”

But for all the fears and doubts I have about my career, I have never had to ask myself, “What if my career field doesn’t accept me because I don’t meet society’s hetero-normative standards?”

As a straight, white woman, I have a privilege I take for granted. I have never had to ask myself if the way I identify as a person will keep me from pursuing a successful career. I have never had to ask myself if I will be treated poorly because of my sexual identity. This is a privilege that, really, shouldn’t even exist.

But it does, and the Human Rights Campaign has facts to back this up.

In 29 states a person, a real, living and breathing person with emotions, can be fired for identifying as homosexual. Not only that, but in 34 states there is no legal protection for someone who is transgender.

According to the Center for American Progress, up to 43 percent of people who identify as non-heterosexual or non-cisgender have experienced discrimination and/or harassment at work.

Not only does this put the individual at an emotional risk, but also an economic one.

The good news is there are resources that can help LGBTQA individuals get help for dealing with the unfair obstacles they may face in the workplace.

One such resourceful event is taking place Thursday night on our very own CSU campus. The “Being Queer in Your Career Panel” will focus on addressing concerns LGBTQA students have during their career search.

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According to the event posting, professional panelists will speak about their experiences through the perspective of individuals who don’t fit into hegemonic ideals. Speakers include Alice Johnson of The Matthews House, Jay Ogan of the Northern Colorado Aids Project and Barb Kistler, Diversity Solutions Group Co-Founder.

This successful and insightful panel will speak on a range of topics specific to the LGBTQA community, including looking for employers that support and encourage diverse identities.

The goal is to assure students who may not be completely confident going into post-graduation that there are opportunities for them out there, and that they won’t have to navigate the job market alone.

The panel is sponsored by the Career Center and the GLBTQQA Resource Center.

Collegian A&E Writer Erica Grasmick can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @E_Graz_.