Rediscover respect: Hawaii LGBT students, workers remembered on National Coming Out Day

Rediscover respect: Hawaii LGBT students, workers remembered on National Coming Out Day

Hawaii Independent Staff

HONOLULU—This Tuesday, October 11 is National Coming Out Day, a nationally recognized civil awareness day for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) issues. Observed by members of LGBT communities, families, and friends, it is a day that people of all sexual orientations and gender expressions are encouraged to live openly and powerfully.

This year’s celebrations follow a year that saw the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which banned gay men and women from serving openly in the military, a rejuvenated effort to combat bullying in schools, and enormous strides in Hawaii to push forward civil unions.

On Tuesday, the University of Hawaii at Manoa will celebrate National Coming Out Day with “Up and Out,” the theme of the Sixth Annual Amazing Ally T-shirt Day and LGBT Community Resource Fair at the Campus Center from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. It university’s mission to foster a community that is free from harassment, bullying, and discrimination.

Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz is scheduled to attend at noon, and will read a proclamation from the Governor’s Office.

Free T-shirts from the LGBT Student Services Office will be available while supplies last.

Co-sponsors of “Up and Out” activities on campus are Church of the Crossroads, Citizens for Equal Rights, Equality Hawaii, Dignity Hawaii, GLBT Caucus, Happy Unicorn Sparkle Club, Life Foundation, Pride Alliance, Pride at Work Hawaii, PFLAG, UH Mānoa Counseling and Student Development.

Later in the week, Pride at Work Hawaii will continue to spread the message of respect and equality with a film screening and a panel discussion featuring local LGBT workers.

The event, titled “Being Out At Work Hawaii,” happens on Thursday, October 13 (two days after National Coming Out Day) at 6:30 p.m. at the offices of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), Local 142 (451 Atkinson Dr.) in Honolulu.

The documentary Out At Work will be screened. The film chronicles the stories of a cook, an auto worker, and a librarian as they seek workplace safety, job security and benefits for LGBT workers.

A July 2011 study by the Williams Institute of the UCLA School of Law found that discrimination and fear of discrimination can have negative effects on LGBT employees in terms of wages, job opportunities, mental and physical health, productivity, and job satisfaction. Other studies show that discrimination, fear of discrimination, and concealing one’s LGBT identity can negatively impact the well-being of LGBT employees, including their mental and physical health, productivity in the workplace, and job satisfaction.

A major study of Transgender people published in February 2011 by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force showed overwhelming levels of discrimination on the basis of gender identity and/or gender expression. Transgender survey respondents experienced unemployment at twice the rate of the general population, with rates for people of color up to four times the national unemployment rate. Ninety percent of those surveyed reported experiencing harassment, mistreatment or discrimination on the job or took actions like hiding who they are to avoid it.

“Recent attacks on the most basic rights of workers to collectively bargain put at risk many gains LGBT workers have made through their union contracts, including domestic partnership health coverage and family leave, mandated anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies, and transgender health care,” Pride at Work Hawaii said in a statement.

Pride at Work Hawaii advocates for full equality for LGBT workers in their workplaces and their unions.

For more information on the Sixth Annual Amazing Ally T-shirt Day and LGBT Community Resource Fair, contact LGBT Student Services Office coordinator Camaron Miyamoto at (808) 956-8059 or lgbtq@hawqaii.edu.

For more information from Pride at Work Hawaii, visit www.hawaflcio.org/PAWHI/.

To visit UH Manoa’s LGBT Student Services Office, click here