Historically, being out on Capitol Hill was taboo. The risk of experiencing discrimination, losing your security clearance, or even being fired made coming out a nonstarter for many – regardless of party. With that in mind, over two decades ago, LGBT Congressional staffers started a professional network that could be a safe space for other LGBT staffers who sought advice, friendships, and allies in the workplace. This network evolved into what today is the official LGBT Congressional Staff Association. The mission is simple: advance the interests of LGBT staffers in the U.S. House of Representatives.
That mission remains alive today. On National Coming Out Day, dozens of congressional aides from the LGBT Congressional Staff Association and its partner organizations in the Senate and Library of Congress will stand together proudly on the steps of the U.S. Capitol showing their pride. Together, we will celebrate our members’ identity and the progress we’ve made in making Capitol Hill a more inclusive workplace environment. We know the struggle for LGBT acknowledgment in our government still faces many challenges, but our presence continues to grow and our voices continue to multiply.
Holding true to our mission, the LGBT CSA actively finds ways to help build up its membership through networking, happy hours, career workshops and speaker series; helping interns start their professional careers to senior staff planning their next move after the Hill. Ensuring our Board of Directors reflects the diverse beauty of our community, half the board are people of color and, for the first time in a decade, our members elected a bipartisan Board of Directors.
Being out and proud in the workplace, LGBT congressional staff make our congressional institutions stronger. When we bring our perspective into our respective offices, we provide a unique insight on legislation that advocates for the LGBT community. Our presence allows LGBT people to be heard in our nation’s law-making branch of government and provides us with a unique opportunity to have people sitting at the table and advocating for LGBT interests.
The brave women and men who pioneered this organization over two decades ago began a journey that, while a long path, has proven to different congressional offices that value of having LGBT staff. The legacy of these staffers resulted in the active recruitment of LGBT congressional staff. Their lasting impact continues to be seen today as more LGBT employees join Capitol Hill on both sides of the aisle.
And today, they can know that our LGBT Legislative Branch staff will be thinking of their legacy as they stand proudly like a family, unconditionally accepting and building each other up. They are the products of professional safe space for LGBT people that share one common purpose, proudly announcing that they are out and proud.
The LGBT Congressional Staff Association works to advance the interests of LGBT staffers in the U.S. House of Representatives.