LGBTQ Representation Will Be a Key Issue in the 2020 Election, Says Leader of Kogod Pride

For Scott Schneider, president of Kogod Pride, LGBTQ representation in government policy and in the workplace will be the most critical issues of the 2020 presidential race. 

The election will be pivotal for the acceptance of LGBTQ professionals, Schneider said. Homophobic lawmakers could leverage the underrepresentation of LGBTQ groups in government in order to reverse laws that advocate for the rights of people from those groups, he explained. 

Further, Schneider said, even if anti-LGBTQ laws are not passed, a homophobic White House could create a national culture hostile to the LGBTQ community.

“If there’s a culture of the country of non-acceptance being okay, then it doesn’t really matter what the law is,” Schneider said.

Schneider, a second-year MBA student at American University’s Kogod School of Business, was inspired by such issues of workplace diversity to restart the business-oriented LGBTQ student organization Kogod Pride after a short hiatus in 2020. He hopes that the group will advocate for LGBTQ issues in the professional world, Schneider explained. 

“What’s it like to be out in the workplace? What kinds of opportunities exist? It’s good to have someone who talks through to that,” Schneider said.

Schneider warned that an anti-LGBTQ climate could extend to the workplace, where normalized LGBTQ discrimination could prevent marginalized people from expressing their identities while at work.

“That’s a lot of time that you’re not being able to be yourself, and that’s unfortunate,” Schneider said. 

Schneider considers himself fortunate to have consistently felt welcome in the workplace, he said. However, Schneider explained, not everyone from the LGBTQ community has shared his experience of acceptance at work.

“If you’re lucky, you don’t even have to think about it being an issue. But if you’re not, then that’s a huge thing,” Schneider said.

Schneider, who plans to vote in November via absentee ballot, is optimistic about the Democratic party’s ability to respond to issues of LGBTQ representation.

“Based on history of advocacy, of supporting and voicing opinions, I think it’s much stronger on one side of the aisle for sure,” Schneider said.

A Republican victory, however, could reverse decades of progress toward LGBTQ rights and representation, Schneider warned.

“With everything else going on in the world, it’s very upsetting to see time spent trying to undo something that is largely positive,” Schneider said.

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