top of page

LGBTQIA+ Adults and the Workplace


Trauma Informed Research

Service Design

Self Guided Thesis

March 2023

Prompt and Overview

EDI thesis allows us to choose our own subject matter from scratch. I have chosen to focus my research and design on the LGBTQIA+ community and experiences surrounding employment. This includes the pursuit of employment as well as time spent while employed.

The resulting design focused on the importance of apparel for queer people in the workplace by creating a service allowing people to learn adjustment methods while bonding at work.

Trauma Responsive Research

As the subject matters of queer identity and employment can be very sensitive  I very deliberately put trauma centered design methods in place for each step of research. This included offers for accommodations as needed, the ability to determine what information is retained in what ways, and up front information about the nature of the research and project.

LGBTQIA+ Adults and the Workplace: Past Events


To kick off primary research a survey was constructed and distributed to begin establishing relationships with research subjects as well as begin collecting information of its own. This in addition to secondary research built a base over both individual experiences and the experiences of the community at large across the country.

image (1)_edited.jpg


Initial interviews included both users and professionals involved in the space of employment and queer experience. These interviews painted a detailed and varied picture over the various hardships that individuals face on their journeys with some unexpected insights that worked on guiding the project moving forward.


Trust in Community

LGBTQIA+ people find solidarity and trust intrinsically in each other but have an inherent hesitation towards unknown or non-LGBTQIA+ individuals regardless of evidence regarding acceptance.

Bending for Bias

LGBTQIA+ people searching for jobs want to find employment that respects their identity but will hide their identity sometimes to gain employment.

Appearance as Communication

LGBTQIA+ people use appearances and objects not just as a method of personal expression for themselves but also as a tool for visual communication, hazard reduction, and interpersonal evaluation.

LGBTQIA+ Adults and the Workplace: Past Events

Further investigation

With another more directed survey it was revealed that the queer community had a large number of differentiated needs for apparel and expression but accompanying those needs was a predilection for DIY and bonding through apparel. This came in many forms but largely put the project on the direction of being a service and how this type of group work could be fascilitated.

PXL_20230220_204410026 (1).jpg

How Communication Works

Within the realm of apparel several things became immediately relevant when investigating the queer community. Gender and self expression are both vastly important but come with major difficulties. Four main concerns were isolated looking at fit, cost, style, and social responsibility providing the bounds to our design.


Once the frame of a service around adjustments and alterations was set trials had to be done to ensure it could truly work. Testing with both individuals and a group various people were run through an alteration session taking their clothing into their hands and completing various skills. Having successfully established how DIY can function in the area of work clothes it was time to bring it all together!

LGBTQIA+ Adults and the Workplace: Past Events

Sewcial Hour

Sewcial Hour is a bookable meeting service which provides knowledge and materials to facilitate clothing alterations and bonding within an office or community space. Sessions conform to the people and the space they are hosted for and it but follow a consistent set up.

LGBTQIA+ Adults and the Workplace: Text

Trading in and up

Sewcial Hour allows participants to bring in pieces that don't work for them, their body, or their style anymore and exchange them with others. This takes their monetary and sustainability concerns into play in the adapting of their wardrobe to themselves.


A large concern among the queer community is the ability to have their wardrobe fit their body or style depending on their specific scenario. Sewcial Hour gives the ability to


Social Space

The space for Sewcial Hour meet employees where they are while transforming that space to something different. It is accessible but inviting and is opened to promote the community that is so important here.

Lasting Change

Sewcial Hour doesn't just allow the individuals to change their clothes but it's something that fundamentally changes how they feel. The creation turns to pride in their work, new relationships with coworkers, and the ability to keep adjusting moving forward.


"It’s not that it’s amazing, it’s that I put effort into it, and I think it looks good"

regarding altered clothing

Moving Forward

This project is ongoing through March and will continue to be updated as it progresses! For now it is progressing into it's first rounds of prototyping and testing.

bottom of page