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How to Turn Your LGBTQ+ Identity Into a Career


For some people, their job is their identity – but what if your identity could be your job? Believe it or not, there are tons of ways for you to infuse your sexuality or gender identity into your professional life, be it by working for an advocacy organization or literally writing the book on queer studies. If that sounds like a dream come true, we’ve rounded up a few ways for you to turn your paycheck into a gaycheck (sorry).

Before we get into different career options, remember to brush up on your job-hunting skills! This seems obvious for any job search, but it’s important to remember the basics: How to create a resume, flawless interview techniques, office etiquette, the works.

Vicki Salemi, author of Big Career in the Big City and career coach, stresses the importance of your network.

“If you're in groups on campus, network among them and reach out to [alumni] as well,” Salemi says. “If you have attained leadership roles in campus groups among the queer community, highlight it during your informational interviews and job interviews.”

If you think you’ve mastered the art of the cover letter, then it’s time to start exploring your options!

Go into counseling or outreach

As many of you know, growing up and struggling to come to terms to your sexuality or gender identity can be scary, confusing and lonely. Become a counselor or a mentor to queer youth to help them figure things out or keep them safe. If you’re studying psychology, social work or something similar, this might be a good career track for you.

Besides being able to listen and connect to young students, it’s likely that you will need certification (and background checks) to work directly with high-schoolers. You could also become a psychologist or a psychiatrist specializing in queer issues if you’re willing to commit to the education requirements. If you’re a people person who just wants to help, any of these are great options to consider.

Be a professor

So many colleges and universities are adding LGBTQ+ studies departments and offering super-interesting queer studies classes. Now’s your chance to bring queerness into academia and explore some previously uncharted territory, all while helping the next generation understand the world (and themselves) a little bit more.

Going into academia means serious schooling, often through to doctoral programs. You’re also going to have to do some major writing and research, which can be fun if you’re really interested in what you’re doing (just remember: “fun” doesn’t mean easy).

Be a journalist

With major publications like Cosmopolitan (and Her Campus!) adding more and more stories and sections specifically about queer girls, it’s the perfect time to break into the field and report on issues that are relevant to the LGBTQ+ community. You could also launch your own blog or website, grow your following and turn it into a moneymaker – Tumblrs have been turned into book deals before. Queerer things have happened.  Here’s how to make money blogging.

While studying journalism and getting internship experience is important, you don’t need a degree from a J-school to start a blog. Even just blogging about your personal experiences as a young queer person or exploring the intersection of your identity with what you study (like religious studies or biology or art) could turn into a lucrative venture – or get you noticed by someone who might actually want to hire you.

Work at a nonprofit

There is no shortage of nonprofits working to benefit the LGBTQ+ community, especially in Washington, D.C. From the Human Rights Campaign to the Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, you’re bound to find a nonprofit that’s right for you, and you can end each day knowing you tried to make the world a safer place.

What you could do at a nonprofit is pretty endless – communications students should bulk up on internships at local public relations firms (or PR departments) in order to score a position directing marketing strategy or public relations, and government majors could take courses on policymaking and public affairs to get in on lobbying local governments. Coding and web design are crucial if you’re interested in the creative side of working at a nonprofit.

If you’re looking to make a difference in the LGBTQ+ community, these are some great careers to think about. Whether you’re an artist or an academic, there’s a way for you to turn your queerness into a career!

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