The Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest affirms and supports our LGBTQIA2S+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and/or questioning, intersex, asexual, two-spirit) community. As a Catholic organization, we recognize and seek to heal past and on-going harms experienced by this community. For years, we have offered gender and sexuality training to our volunteers, staff and board.
At orientation, we provide LGBTQIA2S+ awareness training for all Jesuit Volunteers (JVs). We also have a mentorship program provided by former Jesuit Volunteers and JV EnCorps members for JVs who identify as LGBTQIA2S+. In addition, as part of JV Identity Groups, JVs can join the GayVC group, where they receive support and build strong relationships with other JVs and staff who identify as LGBTQIA2S+.
Out of respect for gender identities, we practice pronoun use in our own organization as part of introductions, and we ask our JV communities and partners to do the same. We recognize many cultures and languages have genderless language, and we welcome individuals not sharing pronouns if it isn’t a practice in their culture.
In 2023, for the third year in a row, presenter Elliot Hinkle shared their expertise with our incoming JVs at orientation in a session called, “Intro to Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity Expression (SOGIE) Cultural Competency.” The session helped educate us about SOGIE, beyond just the LGBTQ community. Volunteers also had time for reflection about how this impacts all of us and those we may end up serving. Participants left with new ways to think about gender and sexuality.