Women’s eNews is running a series that I created: The Ovary Office. The intent of this series is to inspire and encourage WOMEN to run for office. While there are women who have thrown their hat into the Presidential ring, there are many women – in small towns and big cities across this Country – who are standing tall and standing up and fighting for justice. Women who know that mud will be slung, dirt will be dug up, and nasty and cruel words will be said about them. But run they must. For their rights, for human rights, for their children, for their friends and co-workers; for all of humanity. Perhaps you’re as exhausted as I am by the bully pulpit and men who not only disregard women, but treat women as second and third class citizens, men who believe that rape is God’s will, and abuse of power is their right.
Lori Sokol and I met a few years ago and just like that magic happened: we determined that we would try our very best to make this world kinder and better; that we would stand up to racism and sexism and homophobia and xenophobia and abuse of power, that we would create opportunities for all women to have a voice.
Lori Sokol is one of my very favorite Warrior SHEroes, and every single day without fail she rises – without fail – so in my world, my little corner of the world, Lori IS the occasion that I rise up to.
In order for The Ovary Office to continue it’s profound & important work – and for Lori (& WEN) to continue interviews and articles and making a ruckus – making sure women who run for office will be heard and seen and yes, voted in – money needs to be raised.
Lori will be reaching out soon through Women’s eNews and giving Tuesday and I hope that you can dig in a bit and donate to this extraordinary series.
We have the power to change the world, we do, through our words, through our actions, through our hearts, through our deep desire to take back this Country.
We are Mother Earth and we will not be destroyed or discarded or abused.
Those days are long over.
Hey reader, I have a question for you. What is it like, being cisgender in the tech industry? What sort of challenges have you faced? Do people treat you well? It must be really scary, being yourself in such a competitive and high-speed environment.
If you’ve never been asked these questions before, then congratulations; you are not an out transgender person who works in tech. In fact, it’s possible that you may have asked somebody else these questions in the recent past. That’s OK! It’s natural to be curious, and I’m sure you want to be a good ally to your trans coworkers. How will you know how to act if you don’t ask questions, right?
Today’s your lucky day, because I am going to tell you the definitive answer to “what does it mean to be transgender in the workplace?” After you read this, you will never have to ask another trans techie about their experiences, because you will already know the answer, and will be able to act accordingly.
Are you ready?
Being a transgender person in the workplace means having this exact conversation, over and over and over, forever. The question can only be answered by the question itself, ad infinitum. We often spend so much time justifying our presence to others that it begins to feel like our reason for being there in the first place. Why are we here? We’re here to tell you why we’re here.
I’m not here to make you feel bad for asking these questions. Well, maybe a little bit, but I want you to understand when your well-intentioned allyship stops being helpful and starts being intrusive. The fact of the matter is that we’ve got a job to do here, same as you; we just have a few more obstacles to maneuver around as we do it.
If you are serious about making your office a more inclusive environment, remember that changing these things is hard work. Your LGBTQIA+ coworkers will probably want to help or advise you, but it’s as unreasonable to expect them to do it all for you as it would be to have employees with mobility issues to commission handicapped parking spots. We can do it, but it’s not in our job description, and it’s an unnecessary amount of physical and emotional labor to demand of us on top of the actual work we are there to do.
With that in mind, here are some easy steps you can take towards making your workplace welcoming to transgender people. This list is by no means exhaustive, but you’ll find that even these small changes can have a remarkably positive effect on morale, engagement, and teamwork.
First and foremost, respect people’s pronouns. Yes, including the singular “they”, and yes, including ones you haven’t seen before. Consistently misgendering people is the fastest way to make them feel that they are in a hostile environment. Model correct pronoun use yourself, and reprimand cisgender employees who refuse to do so themselves.
Will you get pronouns wrong? Almost certainly. Contrary to what the media may tell you, transgender workers can tell the difference between mistakes and malice. When you do slip up, apologize, correct, and move on. Dramatic mea culpas do more to make us uncomfortable than using the wrong pronoun now and then ever could, because it makes us feel like the jerks in the situation.
An easy way to head off these confrontations is to normalize including pronouns when introductions are called for. This might seem odd to you; one complaint I’ve heard several times from cisgender people is “but my pronouns are obvious.” Good for you, but this isn’t the case for everybody. If the only employees in your company that introduce themselves with their pronouns are transgender, then that’s a way they are othered, a marker that they are separate from everyone else. By making pronouns a default part of introductions, then this barrier between cis and trans workers is torn down.
Does this seem like a lot? It really isn’t, but be prepared for pushback. For some people, even this small amount of consideration will be far too much. The people who push back hardest will probably surprise you; some of them will be people you’ve worked alongside for years, people whose politics you thought you understood. Transphobia isn’t limited to any side of the political spectrum, and can be found in even the most empathetic and liberal individuals.
This leads us to a harsh truth. Transphobia cannot be tolerated in the workplace, whether it manifests as refusing to respect a coworker’s pronouns or harassing them for using the correct bathroom. When it occurs, if you really are serious about fostering an inclusive environment, then your transgender employees will look to you for support. Be prepared to offer sensitivity and diversity training to employees who exhibit transphobic behavior. Stricter disciplinary actions may even become necessary.
Being an ally isn’t easy; as somebody once told me, it’s a verb, not an adjective. It means putting yourself out there, to serve as a shield between your marginalized employees and those that would harm them through actions and words. It also means being open to criticism, and accepting that you do not understand transgender people’s experiences the way you understand your own. If you have the strength, humility, and empathy, then you can make your workplace a beacon of inclusion.
A little Wednesday SHErmon for all of us humans who believe we need to shrink or cower or make ourselves small for someone else to be big or seen or visible; for those of us who allow others to take up more space thinking we’re being generous & kind when in truth we are being nice & yes, dare I say a bit fearful, for those of us who believe we are less than when in truth we are fucking epic and much more; we are so much more.
This post is for all the humans, every single one, who need to know that their lives are massive, huge, fierce as all mighty fuck.
The list of #NoMore
- Taking shit from anyone.
- Letting others cut ahead in line & in life.
- Being a doormat, a punching bag.
- Berating your life.
- Belittling your life.
- Begrudging your life.
- Bemoaning your life.
- Stepping aside, standing in the background, standing off to the side.
- Putting your glorious sexy messy life on hold.
- Selling yourself short.
- Accepting less than.
- Giving away the goods & the goodie bag.
- Letting others take what is rightfully yours.
- Believing the ‘blood is thicker than water’ bullshit.
- Believing you’re not enough.
- Carrying the burden of someone else’s shame & guilt.
- Allowing someone else’s abuse, cruelty to define you.
- Accepting crumbs.
- Living someone else’s version of the life you want to live.
- Believing all the bad awful ugly shit someone else says about you so they can feel taller and bigger and more powerful. Fuck that shit.
- Letting the bullies win.
- Living in the closet.
- Staying small.
- Staying invisible.
- Staying put.
- Staying silent.
Wearing clothes that don’t fit, shoes that are too tight, sweaters with moth eaten holes, jeans that no longer zip, tee-shirts with stains, panties that are torn and frayed, bras with underwires, boxer shorts with no elasticity, tattoos filled with hate; no more being uncomfortable in your own skin.
Believing your flaws and your fuck ups and your foibles and all your mistakes are who you are, and not how far you’ve come.
Republican: You Can’t Impeach Trump for a Crime He Does ‘All the Time.’ So re-elect a serial criminal next November? The Republican Party is now a criminal organization with a blind allegiance to a ruthless and evil bigot and racist. The Party of Trump is the Confederate Party reborn. America is facing a new Civil War and the Republicans have denied the memory of Lincoln. The future of our Democratic Republic is in grave danger. This week will determine if we still believe No One Is Above The Law.
One moment of generosity can change a human heart.
These days, here in America, are hard right now. Folks are suffering, folks are mortified, folks are feeling disconnected, folks are feeling the unbearable weight of anger and frustration and worry and scared to fucking death; fear running through their veins.
Folks need love, compassion, understanding, generosity, sympathy and goodness.
Let’s give what we have to all those who need a bit more; let’s not hoard kindness, let’s give that away.
Kindness is meant to be shared not owned.
You have to love this woman!
Today I get to read about my mom here at Writers Conference – thank you so much Victoria Zackheim – and I want to share with you how I came to know that I had become the woman she always wanted to be.
It was the last time I saw her. She was in an Assisted Living facility; I now refer to our last visit: Assisted Loving.
I went to spend 10 days with her. I stayed at a hotel nearby, walking distance. Our visit was hard. Some days she was feisty and difficult and irritable, and on others she was tender and frail and gentle. Some days she had no idea who I was, one others I was her Amy; some days she was filled with rage and howling noises, other days she was silent and watching cartoons – her favorite. She wore a soiled nightgown and her hair, once coiffed weekly and curled, was now full on gray and stick straight.
She had once been a beauty – a beauty queen – she was now small and shrinking into her own skin; disappearing physically and emotionally.
I spent time down at the bar at the hotel I was staying at, and went back to my room. Undressed, washed up, got into bed, called Ken and chit-chatted for a while. In the middle of the night I got up to pee. I stopped at the full length mirror, and I looked at myself – full on – naked; and I saw myself: a woman who never had kids, a woman who followed her heart even when her heart was cracked & chipped & yes, broken; a woman who was feisty and crazy-ass and yes, often testy and impatient; a woman who went for her dreams and never gave up even when it felt wholly fucking impossible, a woman who chose a creative path – writing; a woman who chose unconventional and rebellious and shaky as her foundation; and as I stood there looking at my body – a body that was slender but not tight, a body that was strong but not muscular, a body that had so many hidden scars that had turned into stardust, and I knew in that moment, in that hotel, in front of that mirror that I had become the woman my mother always wanted to be.
And in that moment, in that hotel, in front of that mirror I let go of much of the anger & much of the disappointment & much of the bitterness I held onto for so very long and replaced that with a profound appreciation that she – a woman who gave up all of her dreams of being an artist and all of her hopes of living a creative life and her desire to be unconventional – that she brought me into this world.
***Thank you Amy for these beautiful words. They reflect so much that is in my heart about my own momma!”
Hello Rand Paul… my name is Alex Bevan… you don’t know me… but I see what you have done…and are doing… I wish you lived next door to me… there’s a lot I would like to say to you… not in public though…. no… certainly not in public… trust me… i would not call you a piece of shit or threaten you… but… I would talk to you about the trail of political dreck you have left… certainly for your own gain.. maybe a little for your party… but not for us… the Americans who pay for your fucking mis-steps with our taxes, diminished freedoms and injured trust in the our system of government…. yeah… I wish I lived next door to you…. ….. ….
I am so proud and excited to be introducing you to a new podcaster who will begin with us in January 2020. Her name is Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW, who is an NYC-based psychotherapist and author. Sherry will be creating SHERAPY, and you can read all about this right here on the website.
In keeping with the theme of awareness and finding the path to travel or detour in life, this nationally known psychotherapist will be sharing your stories with our listeners. Sometimes it is easier to be anonymous (faceless, nameless) when you begin to open up. I agree with Sherry; we must not be afraid of what we think our frailties are; instead, we must strengthen our inner selves to love life to the fullest.
If you have a story or want to share issues, please contact us here at newclevelandradio.net, and your information will be sent on to Sherry Amatenstein. You need not reveal any information to us other than a name and email so Sherry may connect with you.
2020 is going to be a big year for all of us at newclevelandradio.net, and you don’t need to be in Cleveland, Ohio, to become part of the big picture, your PORTRAIT!