Chinese NGO launches fundraiser for projects aimed at improving workplace conditions for LGBTQ+ community

By Ji Yuqiao Source: Global Times Published: 2020/9/8 16:23:41

One experience-sharing session in a company Photo: Courtesy of the Beijing LGBT Center

The Beijing LGBT Center kicked off an online fundraising drive on Monday as part of a project aimed at supporting members of the Chinese LGBTQ+ community as they come out, creating better working environments and building bridges between enterprises and LGBT employees. The project, which started in May 2019, has helped more than 1,000 members of the LGBTQ+ community in the workforce.

The fundraiser, which comes to an end on Wednesday, is looking for funding for new public benefit activities for the organization such as a mentorship program and youth camps.

Ivan Zhang, the center's business and diversity officer, told the Global Times on Monday that the mentorship program will have 10 experienced LGBT employees provide instruction for members of the community just entering the workplace, teaching them professional skills and how to communicate with employers.

The youth camps are for university students in the LGBTQ+ community and are aimed at providing information and opportunities to help them better adapt to the workplace.

The fundraiser has been performing well, earning 105,000 yuan ($15,361) of its 330,000 yuan goal during its first day, Ren Naying, the center's director of Project Development, said.

Zhang said that funding will also be used to gain experience from overseas organizations about how enterprises deal with LGBT issues.

According to Zhang, as part of the project the center has cooperated with 15 Chinese companies to instruct them how to protect the rights of LGBT employees. The center has also sent mentors to companies to hold workshops and training sessions.

"We want to tell enterprises that respecting and protecting the legal rights of LGBT employees will allow them to see financial returns and benefits when it comes to talents," Zhang said.

While cooperating with enterprises across various industries, such as the internet, medical and consulting industries, Zhang and his colleagues found that many Chinese companies have done an impressive job when it comes to LGBT issues.

One internet company had built special washrooms for the third gender to show respect for this group, while other companies had incorporated rules against LGBT discrimination in their official regulations and allowed LGBT employees to oversee recruitment to show their open attitude.

"Some enterprises have stipulated that same-sex couples enjoy the same marriage leave policies as heterosexual couples, and that transgender employees' medical fees for gender reassignment surgery are also included in their provided commercial insurance packages," Zhang said, praising the efforts of these companies.

The center is also trying to offer more services to members of the community who are employed, especially transgender people.

In February, some transgender people were invited to give lectures to share their experiences working for companies to help young people better adapt to the workplace. Experience-sharing sessions were also held online, during which some overseas members of the transgender community also joined in.

Discrimination is still a major issue in China. Recently, Chinese online bookstore was caught up in an employee discrimination case after it ended a labor contract with an employee who underwent gender reassignment surgery. 

The hashtag for the case had been viewed more than 380 million times as of Monday on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo, with many netizens calling for more respect toward the LGBTQ+ community.


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