Cracking the Lavender Ceiling – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Cracking the Lavender Ceiling

Students who identify as members of the LGBTQ community may face unique challenges on their pathways to career-building, says Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Residential Education Brandon Barile, who has organized a panel to help students learn about challenges and opportunities in the workforce.

The discussion, “Cracking the Lavender Ceiling: Being LGBTQ in the Workplace,” will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 29 at 7 p.m. in the Geneva Room of the Warren Hunting Smith Library. Moderated by Director of Intercultural Affairs and a member of the LGBTQ and Allies initiative Alejandra Molina, the event will focus on the unique experiences of the panelists including Barile, Trans* activist, musician and artist Skylar Kergil, Assistant Professor of Women’s Studies Michelle Martin-Baron and Bard College Director of Residential Life Darnell Pierce, the Colleges’ former assistant director of Residential Education & Club Sports.

Attendees will be invited to ask questions of the panelists regarding their experiences in the workplace as members of the LGBTQ community. Even those who do not identify as LGBTQ can gain enormous perspective from attending this event, Barile adds.

“All students and community members can benefit from understanding the unique experiences of LGBTQ community members—how we perceive the workplace, the factors we look for when assessing whether a workplace is safe and supportive, and how sexuality and gender have intersected for us. My experiences as a gay, white male will differ from the other panelists, who identify as a transman, lesbian woman, and black, gay male,” says Barile. “I think participants will walk away with a deeper understanding and appreciation for identities different from their own.”

Martin-Baron reflects, “We talk often about issues of gender and racial equity in the workplace, but much less often about how sexuality impacts work environment, climate, promotion, pay, etc. In many states, LGBT folks are not protected under the law for employment discrimination.”

The event is open to the public.