I really enjoyed listening to my fellow cohort speak on such powerful and significant topics. Our panelists got right into the facts immediately, discussing how the process of collecting data on LGBTQIA2S+ is still gaining traction. Myah Armstrong explained some of the common terminologies such as gender expression, gender identity, non-binary and trans. Noting that Gender expression can be different than the gender assigned at birth or with which a person identifies. They discussed pronouns such as she/hers, they/them, ze/zir. Panelist Aisha Tory expanded on the different gender pronouns, which I believe will become more prevalent with the coming generations.
Issues facing the transgender community was presented by Myah. She explained that there are significant wage gaps and employment gaps in the transgender community. Trans people experience rejection and hardships as a marginalized group, such as social ridicule. Myah then discussed the landmark Supreme court case Bostok vs. Clayton County, GA, which prohibits discrimination on gender identity and sexual orientation in the workplace. I enjoyed learning about the different cases. I learned that Gender dysphoria is a protected disability under the ADA.
The conversation then turned to best practices for creating an inclusive environment such as having open forums and support groups. This is something that I could see being implemented at my workplace and I think these are realistic ideas to spread awareness and create an inclusive workplace.
I was shocked when Teryl brought up that there are many bills that are anti-LGBTQIA2S+. I am surprised to hear about it. On the positive side, It is a relief to hear Teryl Booth go on to say Gen Z will be the generation that will help with the political movement toward embracing LGBTQIA2S+ persons.
The guest speaker Kaela Sosa from Diversity Movement, was really engaging. One thing that was discussed that stood out was DEI positions and budgets are the first things to be cut when times get tough financially for businesses.
Another topic Kaela talked about was reasonable accommodations for individuals with Gender Dysphoria, such as coming to work and showing themselves on zoom. So being flexible about remote work and not showing oneself on a zoom call being mindful of the person going through their gender transformation, that they might now want to be seen, doesn’t have to be a costly accommodation.
Teryl brought up the gender sphere which is a new concept that Kaela explains and I had never heard of, which accounts for gender fluidity and presenting oneself as feminine and masculine at the same time or at different times.
Another poignant point that Kaela spoke of was Trans people who have been incarcerated that are sent to prison for their gender assigned at birth or the gender the physically appear to be, I am paraphrasing so you will just have to listen to the panel presentation to get all the great details! It is important to put emphasis on Kaela's point that it is damaging to the inmate because not only are they being abused but the gender is not being affirmed and that can be psychologically damaging and can lead to suicide or suicidal ideation. I have met CeCe McDonald and her story and part in the movement to bring awareness to the issue of trans people incarcerated is something to look into as it is inspirational to say the least.
The panel presentation was very on point and provided solid information surrounding hot topics about LGBTQIA2S+ persons in the workplace and issues the LGBTQIA2S+ community faces today in society.