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Dream Gigs for Young Gays

Dream Gigs for Young Gays


The economy may be slowly recovering, but young professionals still see the world as their oyster. In a Universum survey asking 10,000 U.S. job seekers with less than eight years of work experience where their dream job would be, tech giants and government agencies dominated the field (Facebook was the write-in winner of the survey). But what does this mean for young gays wanting to make their stamp in the professional world? The Advocate checked out the top ten companies to see if they pull their weight with gay employees.

Note: The government agencies and nonprofits on the list are not scored in the Human Rights Campaign's index, as those rankings are solely for corporate employers.

10. Teach for America -- New York City
In 1990 a college senior from Princeton turned her idea to help educate inner-city youth into reality when she raised $2.5 million to get the cream of the collegiate crop into some of the least successful school districts in the country instead of cushy desk gigs. Wendy Kopp's nonprofit, Teach for America, has grown to serve more than 3 million young people in 39 areas with poor schools.

9. National Aeronautics and Space Administration -- Houston
Gay astronauts? Why not? Sure, a couple of us played with Astronaut Barbie dolls back in the '80s, but for a select few, playtime became a reality. NASA's top-notch engineering and space programs have placed the agency as the fifth-best place to work in the federal government, and it also ranks as one of the most diverse.

8. Central Intelligence Agency -- Washington, D.C.
You can live as an international man or woman of intrigue in general, but you can do it officially as a CIA agent. CIA recruiters welcome diversity on their team of clandestine service officers. According to its website, the CIA wants a force that looks just as diverse as America, and that includes recruiting openly gay officers.

7. Microsoft -- Redmond, Wash.
HRC Equality Index Score: 100

One of the wealthiest nerds in America is also an advocate of human rights -- including gay rights -- around the world. Microsoft founder and chairman Bill Gates is on track to give away most of his money during his lifetime, fulfilling a philanthropic pledge he made. The international foundation set up by Gates and his wife, Melinda, has included the funding of HIV/AIDS research among its initiatives. Last year Gates came out against the "kill the gays" bill in Uganda and said homophobia fuels stigma against people with HIV. At home, Microsoft was also among the largest employers in the Pacific Northwest (including Nike and Boeing) that came out in support of Referendum 71, which established strong domestic partnerships for gay couples in Washington State.

6. Federal Bureau of Investigation -- Washington, D.C.
There's so much dubious yet interesting gay history at the FBI. J. Edgar Hoover, allegedly one of the highest-ranking gay men in government during his tenure (1935-1972), ruled crime-fighting but was known to have been closer with his right-hand man, Clyde Tolson, than anyone else. But now the FBI investigates and keeps track of hate crimes against LGBT people and performs raids on antigay figures. And there are probably old dossiers with juicy info about old gangsters that would be hilarious dinner party fodder.

5. Amazon -- Seattle.
HRC Equality Index Score: 95
As mom-and-pop bookshops and massive chains like Borders shutter across the country, there's no secret that survey takers would want to be on Amazon's good side -- in January it announced its fourth-quarter sales were up 36%, while Borders filed for bankruptcy weeks later. The dominant online seller is the only corporate employer on the list that does not receive a perfect score from the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index, as it lacks training for acceptance and awareness of transgender employees.

4. U.S. State Department -- Washington, D.C.
The department led by Secretary Hillary Clinton is one of the most coveted employers and is ranked the seventh best place to work in the U.S. government. Furthermore, Clinton's leadership has only led to more inclusion and rights for its gay diplomats and office workers. The department celebrates Gay Pride Month every June, and gay diplomats can now enjoy the same benefits heterosexual ones have when it comes to traveling with their significant others. In its reports on human rights and foreign affairs in other countries, the department regularly covers LGBT people and speaks out against antigay governments.

3. Walt Disney -- Burbank, Calif.
HRC Equality Index Score: 100
The Walt Disney Co. is put on so many lists -- best places to intern, most diverse, most environmentally friendly, most admired entertainment company -- it seems almost as annoying as your high school archnemesis who was perfect at every little thing. However, Disney measures up with its family programing, long history of animated innovation, and its ownership of the most gay-friendly broadcast network on television, ABC.

2. Apple -- Cupertino, Calif.
HRC Equality Index Score: 100
The iPhone producer does incur controversy over which apps it allows in its system, depending on whether they're too sexually explicit or too antigay. But Mac lovers will doggedly fight to defend the form and function of Apple computers and products. Perhaps they also like operating systems that support their freedom to marry -- in 2008, Apple donated $100,000 to fight Proposition 8.

1. Google -- Mountain View, Calif.
HRC Equality Index Score: 100
From the swanky, fun headquarters to the much-touted 20% time allotted to its employees to work on developing new projects unrelated to their day-to-day tasks, Google is rated the most desirable employer among young workers. Nearly a quarter of those surveyed said they wanted to work for one of the best-known tech companies in the world, for several good reasons, but one in particular is its diversity outreach and support. Sure, gay Googlers can join Gaygle, the company's LGBT affinity group. However, most notably, Google took a stand for marriage equality in California in 2008 and decided last year to financially assist its employees in domestic partnerships who have to pay extra taxes for their partners' health benefits.
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