Just last month, worker-owners from Sunset Scholars Tutoring Cooperative and Trusty Amigos Dogwalking Cooperative held a workshop on LGBTQ competency for worker-owners and allies. A representative from the NYC Commission on Human Rights came to meet the following goals:
- Increase cultural competency so that co-ops can work professionally with members of the LGBTQ community, including both clients and members
- Build awareness within cooperatives so that they can be more open, welcoming, and safe spaces
- Help members understand the difference between ‘gender’ and ‘sexuality’
- Support members in practicing how to effectively communicate with/about LGBTQ issues
The workshop contained detailed and shocking statistics, increasing awareness around the disparate wages earned, education accessed, and promotions received amongst queer-identified workers, especially people who identify as transgender and gender non-conforming. Participants shared stories, strategies, and questions in a lively and important conversation.
Given that queer- and trans- identified individuals are actively shut out of our current economic system, it is especially important that cooperatives—which have the potential to provide necessary access to dignified workplaces for so many marginalized communities—push conversations about LGBTQ inclusion forward. Further, these conversations should not only be limited to thinking through how to support LGBTQ worker-owners, but also clients, particularly in the sectors of childcare.
While it is impossible to cover everything in one workshop, we are extremely proud to see cooperators and our membership actively creating spa