Sept. 21, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Caucus Fosters LGBT Staff Growth

Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call
Launched in 2004, the GLASS Caucus was the first LGBT staff association on the Senate side. Members seek to help one another navigate their professional careers; the group does not get involved in policy or advocacy.

Interested mentees should be either new to the Senate, or have worked on Capitol Hill for fewer than two years. Interns are welcome to participate for free. 

Those who wish to participate must submit an application by July 1 on the GLASS Caucus’ website (glasscaucus.org).

Creating a Lasting Community

Launched in 2004, the GLASS Caucus was the first LGBT staff association on the Senate side. Members seek to help one another navigate their professional careers; the group does not get involved in policy or advocacy. 

Since it got off the ground, the group’s activity level has ebbed and flowed, Levensaler said. It has held periodic events such as the “Lunch and Learn” series, where LGBT-friendly Members of Congress and other leaders in the LGBT field talk to GLASS caucus members over lunch, and happy hours off the Hill. 

But recently, the group’s board has wanted to ramp up its activity level to create a larger, more active and more inclusive organization and has done so with the launch of both the mentorship program and a new website to allow staffers interested in the group to find out what resources and events the organization has to offer. 

Members also attend community events together, such as the annual AIDS Walk and the Pride Parade. 

“It’s gone through lulls; it’s been quiet,” Levensaler said of the organization’s eight-year history. “But this is a very, very involved and active and committed group that we have right now, so I think that the steps that we’ve taken with the new website and the mentorship program is kind of a giant step from just doing social events and the occasional Lunch and Learn.” 

Walden-Newman stressed that members can be as active as they wish and added that confidentiality and privacy is one of the group’s top concerns. 

“We’re here, here are our resources, here is this safe space that you’re more than welcome to come to, we’re ready to have you, and we’re excited to have you,” Walden-Newman said.

Looking to the future, Levensaler said the main goal is to sustain an active and inclusive membership on Capitol Hill. 

“I think the ultimate goal is for it to sustain,” Levensaler said. “To be not just a resource but a sense of community just for folks to be able to connect on a professional level, and I think we’ve done a great job with that, and I would be happy for it to just continue to be that.” 

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