Provided by Cydny A. Neville, Dumfries Town Councilwoman
We recently realized that the Town of Dumfries non-discrimination policy needed to be updated. As a teacher, my initial thoughts were of those who want to fill positions like those provided in the Town. The fact is, there was a lack of protections for them based on their gender identity or sexual orientation.
As of Sept. 4, 2018, this barrier has been removed for employees of our Town! The Town of Dumfries is the first municipality in Prince William County to adopt this progressive change to our nondiscrimination policy. We stand firm in protecting the human rights of those who are the strength of our local government: our staff!
“Non-discrimination policies show a commitment to uplifting marginalized communities,” explains Jason Shriner, a facilitator for Prince William County PFLAG and an employee for a local municipality. PFLAG stands for Parents, Families, and Friends of the LGBTQ community and provides community groups for parents of LGBTQ children.
“When an organization creates a stronger, more well-defined policy, they’re sending a message to future employees that all talented, qualified individuals are welcome.” Shriner also notes that residents of the Town of Dumfries will also benefit from the policy. When researching places to live and businesses to patronize, LGBTQ people will review websites and advertising to get a feel if the culture is affirming or not. “It sounds exhausting, because it is, but with organizations coming out and demanding the right to discriminate, folks in the LGBTQ community are taking the time to deliberately support organizations that are committed to supporting the community,” said Shriner.
Aside from wanting their dollars and time to only go to organizations that respect them, LGBTQ people don’t want to spend the time having to explain to businesses why a phrase is offensive or why a particular issue is important to them. Shriner noted that LGBTQ employees are not LGBTQ cultural teachers for their coworkers and employers. He went on to say, “More organizations are making a direct effort to recruit LGBTQ talent. With more and more options becoming available, they have the opportunity to be more selective about where they apply and ultimately decide to work. Not only is Councilmember Neville keeping the Town of Dumfries a competitive employer, she recognizes how important it is for someone to be their authentic self in the workplace.”
I’d like to thank the Council for supporting this effort, with a unanimous vote on the consent agenda. The Town of Dumfries exemplifies what it means to be inclusive, regardless of whom you love, or how you choose to identify. All are welcome and respected here.