Open Letter to LGBTQ-Friendly Businesses


An Open Letter to LGBTQ-Friendly Businesses:

We are reaching out to you because 1) you’re the good ones, 2) we have a problem, and 3) we need you.

You have demonstrated your support for LGBTQ Chicagoans. As members of the LGBTQ community, we want to thank you for your vision, your partnership, and your commitment to inclusive practices. Your websites and job postings stress non-discrimination and equal opportunity. You have featured lesbian and gay people in your advertising.  You’ve scored high on the HRC Corporate Equality index.

But we must ask you to do more. According to the 2015 US Trans Survey from the National Center for Transgender Equality, the unemployment rate among trans people is three times higher (15%) than the national average (5%). Middle Eastern, American Indian, multiracial, Latinx and Black respondents report even higher unemployment rates, some as high as 35%. And 1 in 3 (29%) of survey respondents are living in poverty, more than double the national average (14%).

The discouraging reality is this: though we have made great strides, with your help, to ensure greater access to safe, affirming, fulfilling work for many lesbian, gay, and bisexual communities, trans people still face staggering rates of discrimination on the job and in hiring. We have to work together to change the story. We must create even deeper partnerships.

Our program, TransWorks, offers holistic career counseling, job readiness training and mentorship for trans and gender non-conforming adults. We also offer competency trainings for local employers to ensure that the workplaces we recommend to our clients are inclusive and affirming. Our clients are talented, motivated, and resilient.  Despite this, we still struggle to find employers who will commit to their hiring. We are asking you to step up to the plate. Please help us combat unemployment in the trans community by committing to hiring, training, and promoting trans people.

We will support you. Not only do we have a pool of job-ready candidates, we have resources to ensure that both you and your new hire succeed together. We work with both our participants and their employers to provide in-person training, resources or mediation as needed.

We’re looking to you because you’re already leaders. We are asking you to be trailblazers as well. What commitment will you make to create trans-affirming workplaces and combat these disproportionate statistics? Expand your commitment to equality to include hiring people who are trans and gender non-conforming.

In the words of the inimitable Audre Lorde: “[we] are not free while [anyone] is unfree.”

We look forward to your call.

Kate Harrington-Rosen                                                              
TransWorks Program Manager
(773) 248-5200 x108

Jes Scheinpflug
TransWorks Program Staff
(773) 248-5200 x367

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TransWorks Program Publishes Open Letter to LGBTQ-Friendly Businesses
Chicago House’s TransWorks’ Team Lauds Businesses’ Inclusivity Practices & Extends Partnership Invitation to Address Unemployment and Discrimination in Trans Community

Chicago, IL, April 17, 2017 – Chicago House’s TransWorks Program sent an open letter to over 40 businesses that are located in Chicago and/or have a history of supporting and advertising to the LGBTQ community. While many have already demonstrated commitment to inclusive practices, this letter addresses the reality of discrimination and unemployment in 2017 for people who are transgender and/or gender nonconforming. In the US, the unemployment rate among trans people is three times higher (15%) than the national average (5%).

“We are so excited to support companies who continue to grow and establish even more inclusive hiring practices,” said Kate Harrington-Rosen, TransWorks Program Manager at Chicago House. “Our hope is that our letter not only touches people's hearts, but spurs them to action. We are truly looking forward to hearing from these companies, and others we haven’t reached out to yet, who would like our support in fostering more trans-affirming workplaces.”

Letters have been mailed and/or sent via company website contact forms to:

  • Absolut
  • Allstate
  • Amazon
  • AT&T
  • Banana Republic
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Boost Mobile
  • BP
  • Campbell’s
  • Charles Schwab
  • Chobani
  • Clean and Clear
  • CNA
  • Coca Cola
  • Doritos/Frito Lay
  • Equinox
  • Gap
  • Hallmark
  • Honeymaid
  • Hotwire
  • iCandee Marketing
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Kohl’s
  • Kraft Foods Global, Inc.
  • Lexus
  • Lush
  • Macys
  • Marianos
  • MB Financial
  • Nabisco
  • Nielsen
  • Nordstrom
  • Oreo
  • Pepsi & Co
  • Sabra
  • Salesforce
  • State Farm
  • Subaru
  • Tiffany and Co
  • Tylenol
  • Wells Fargo
  • Xfinity
  • Zales

If you are interested in learning more about the TransWorks Program, contact Jes Scheinpflug at (773) 248-5200 ext 367 or at


About Chicago House and Social Service Agency
Chicago House and Social Service Agency (CHSSA) serves individuals and families who are disenfranchised by HIV/AIDS, LGBTQ marginalization, poverty, homelessness, and/or gender nonconformity by providing housing, employment services, medical linkage and retention services, HIV prevention services, legal services, and other supportive programs.

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Jes Scheinpflug