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  • benjaminnewman01

Mod. 4 Reflection - Caucusing & Affinity Groups

Updated: Jul 28, 2023

If you’ve been a part of caucusing in your workplace, what offerings do you have for those who might be considering it or having a challenge getting their workplace to offer it?

If you are considering it, what might be helpful support from those in this group?

If you don’t think that caucusing in your workplace would be useful, why do you believe so?


I’ve never been a part of a caucusing or affinity group in the workplace, but I would love to participate in a Queer or LGBTQ+ Affinity Group. While many of my work colleagues identify as Queer, the inherent structures of White Supremacy cause Queer folx to be “othered” in challenging and different ways in the workplace. For example, I recall a former supervisor telling me of his challenge to get the company’s insurance provider to cover medications that the CEO of the company required for his HIV treatment. At the time, these medications were considered a “fringe benefit” that would only impact a small number of employees, and no one was paying attention to the premiums associated with the medications. As a result, none of the plans that were offered to employees included coverage for the medications. The CEO knew there were other gay men in the company who might want coverage for HIV treatment, but were not going to share their HIV status with HR, to avoid “making an issue”. He wanted to make sure that these medications would be covered both for himself, and for others in the company who might benefit from the coverage, without placing anyone in a position where they might be compromised or embarrassed.

It took my supervisor numerous hours to get through various parties at the insurance provider before they were finally able to reach someone who was both familiar with the various plans offered and the HIV treatments the CEO needed and could craft plans for all company staff that wouldn’t compromise other health benefits. Had the CEO of the company not been HIV+ and in a position of power to make sure HIV treatments were covered by company insurance plans, other staffers within the company in need of treatment with fewer resources may have had to pay high insurance premiums in order to acquire needed treatments. This is only one example of what kind of impact a Queer Caucus Group could have. By identifying areas such as a lack of insurance coverage for HIV treatment, the company more directly serves the needs of its staff which creates loyalty, generates trust, and increases staff retention.

As it relates to gaining support from leadership for Affinity & Caucus Groups, one of my takeaways from my supervisor’s story is to try to gain insight into what areas leadership might identify with or support personally to create in-roads for the first Affinity Group. Whether it’s a CEO who is gay, a person of color, disabled, or has a personal connection to someone who identifies as part of one of those groups, addressing that specific issue first could have a higher likelihood of success to begin the first Caucus Group that would then generate opportunity for other Caucus Groups to form.

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