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25
Aug

Fun with Flags

Fantastic! Finally, Fun with Flags! Fabulous! Ok, enough of the alliteration, let’s get to the facts (ha). With our journey into LGBT frequently asked questions, today we will discover the + that often gets put at the end of LGBTQ+ (see what I did there?)

A shout out to Target for their celebration of PRIDE month (June), especially the first week of June. Last year, we were able to pick up many small flags that I posted in my office. Rainbow (Gay), pink/blue/white (transgender), and a bisexual flag (remember that from our letter “B” post?)

ICYMI, this is a nice summary of Gilbert Baker’s original flag from 1978 (Thanks, Pinterest!)

Today, the hot pink and the turquoise have been dropped and here is what we see most often today:

Now, let’s jump into the plus (+) of other flags an who they represent.

This graphic from Live Loud Graphics gives more insight on the different terminology in the LGBT+ community and the different flags that help give a voice to our identities. There may be groups you’ve never heard of — that’s fantastic! There may be groups that give voice to an identity you’ve experienced and didn’t realize there were others like you — that’s exciting! The purpose isn’t to divide an already marginalized group; it really is to highlight all of the different facets that make up our community and to celebrate each one.

This week, I encourage you to take the time to read through the resource above from Live Loud Graphics and educate one other person on something you learn. As their motto says, “Education is the cure for homophobia.” Thanks for helping us spread education and love!

~Lisa from Wisconsin (Lady Rainbow)

19
Aug

The Letter “E”…Equality vs. Equity

18
Aug

The Letter “E”…Equality vs. Equity

Welcome back to my LGBT FAQ blog. This week, we look at the difference between the terms equality and equity. By definition, equality is ensuring individuals or groups of individuals are not treated differently or less favorably, on the basis of their specific protected characteristic, including areas of race, gender, disability, religion or belief, sexual orientation and age (check out that Enumeration!). While equity means the quality of being fair or impartial (dictionary.com). These terms can be confusing, so you’ll often see different analogies to help make the difference a bit easier to understand. Which one is your favorite?

Thank you to our friends at Public Policy & Governance Review in Toronto, Canada for this image!

My favorite is the shoe analogy (and they’re rainbow!). Equality is giving everyone a shoe. Equity is giving everyone a shoe that fits.
– Naheed Dosani

I would even go a bit further to add inclusion meaning that everyone has a shoe that fits, is comfortable and matches their sense of style. The first time I heard the shoe analogy to represent Equality vs. Equity was at a training called “Courageous Conversations.” This training was early in my school counseling career and reminded me of growing up with an uncle who had polio. His physical limitations were perhaps equal to those needing the specified parking space, but his brilliant mind gave him equity in his place of work.

Perhaps you have seen the analogy of the people watching a ball game and there are three boxes. Each individual is of a different height trying to see over the fence. Equality is that each person has a box upon which to stand. Equity is that the tallest person can see over the fence without a box, the middle person has one box and and can now see over the fence and the third person is standing on two boxes in order to see over the fence. What if we removed the fence all together? Let’s consider taking away barriers in order to promote equity.

Using the word “versus” in between Equality and Equity shouldn’t be seen as a competition. Depending upon where you are in your cultural awareness, or how your life experiences have shaped the lens through which you view the world, I might suggest that we all strive for Success for ALL! When you’re just starting your journey, equality is a good place to start. However if you look at the illustration below, you’ll see that while many might benefit from one solution, through an equitable solution(shoveling the ramp first), everyone will benefit using the ramp.

Source: Peytral Publications

Ahhh, good old Wisconsin winters…but this illustrates the difference between equity and equality. Equity is good for ALL. Think about those registration forms I refer to in earlier blog posts. By asking for adult 1 or caregiver 1 rather than “mom” and “dad“, you are now including grandparents, foster parents, or another relative caring for that student. Oh, and not everyone is a husband or a wife or a mom or a dad!

Cheryl Wheeler is a singer songwriter and just happens to sing one of our favorites, “Ghandi & Buddha.” In this version, she introduces the song sharing how she was happy to finally be able to marry her wife. She apologizes — tongue in cheek — for how our gay marriages have ruined all of the heterosexual marriages. In other words, by giving everyone the right to marry, whose marriage has that hurt? AND now we have access to the 1,100 protections and laws that heterosexual couples have enjoyed throughout time, while not taking a single protection away from hetero couple’s marriages. Win-win when love wins!

So, in terms of equality, we can equally get married as all can. On the other hand, equity is felt in some areas more than others. We chose to live in Madison, Wisconsin, which for the most part is a very welcoming city. It’s nice when I call to make an appointment for my wife that I only get asked a couple of questions. Not sure if we were a male and a female if I would face the same questions, however I don’t get push-back or a negative reaction that can occur in some less-equitable areas. However when we go out to dinner as a couple, we still get asked if we want separate checks, even if we’ve been holding hands across the table throughout our meal.

Thanks for reading this article. I hoped you enjoyed the song by Cheryl Wheeler. Your call to action is to do something GREAT to make things more equitable in your work space! Stand up for those without a voice. Take the time to educate someone needing that lesson on how to treat people! Think about this… intelligence is distributed equally, but opportunity is not!

~Lisa from Wisconsin (Lady Rainbow)

18
Aug

The Letter “D”…Diversity Equity & Inclusion (DEI)

How interesting! When I typed “DEI” into a search engine, what do you think was the first thing that popped up? If you said, DEI, a Greek national electric company, I say, “OPA!” to you. Next, I found Dale Ehrnhardt, Inc. Go cars! Finally, I found what I was hoping for: Diversity Equity & Inclusion. This term is being used in workplaces to raise awareness of individual needs as well as to highlight the benefits of greater diversity in our workplaces. It’s pretty common to hire people who look and think like us — how about where you live/work? I have to say that is my truth. As a lesbian, I often feel like I am THE diversity in the room, so I have used that as an opportunity to educate those around me with lots & LOTS of rainbows!

What is the meaning of diversity and inclusion in the workplace? Thanks for asking! And thanks to our friends at SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) for their definition. Inclusion, while closely related, is a separate concept from diversity. SHRM defines inclusion as “the achievement of a work environment in which all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully, have equal access to opportunities and resources, and can contribute fully to the organization’s success. Mar 6, 2014.” If you want to learn more about building a business case for diversity and inclusion, please go to SHRM’s website for a great resource.

As a school counselor, diversity training was always a part of back-to-school pre-service work. We might have used the terms “Celebrate Diversity” or made bulletin boards to reflect our student body. I bring up the school examples because I am now working at a university and I want to bring my message to the business world.

One of the first steps in raising DEI in your organization is to raise awareness through a company- or school-wide definition of what DEI means to you. A great example to get you started on this path comes from the University of Michigan.

Erica McCool, this one goes out to you!

Defining diversity, equity and inclusion

At the University of Michigan, our dedication to academic excellence for the public good is inseparable from our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. It is central to our mission as an educational institution to ensure that each member of our community has full opportunity to thrive in our environment, for we believe that diversity is key to individual flourishing, educational excellence and the advancement of knowledge.

Diversity: We commit to increasing diversity, which is expressed in myriad forms, including race and ethnicity, gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, language, culture, national origin, religious commitments, age, (dis)ability status and political perspective.

Equity: We commit to working actively to challenge and respond to bias, harassment, and discrimination. We are committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, religion, height, weight, or veteran status.

Inclusion: We commit to pursuing deliberate efforts to ensure that our campus is a place where differences are welcomed, different perspectives are respectfully heard and where every individual feels a sense of belonging and inclusion. We know that by building a critical mass of diverse groups on campus and creating a vibrant climate of inclusiveness, we can more effectively leverage the resources of diversity to advance our collective capabilities.

Chief Diversity Officer Robert Sellers often has emphasized the importance of considering all three topics – diversity, equity and inclusion – which he likened to various aspects of attending a dance:

“Diversity is where everyone is invited to the party.

“Equity means that everyone gets to contribute to the playlist.

“And inclusion means that everyone has the opportunity to dance.”

https://diversity.umich.edu/about/defining-dei/ (2019)

Your call to action on Diversity Equity and Inclusion is to make sure your registration forms, artwork on the walls, and actions are in alignment with a positive atmostphere for all. Ask your human resources person/people if they have the DEI certification! And while it would be amazing for you all to adopt a DEI definition and policy, you know you can always start with a rainbow on your lanyard or desk! Let’s all dance together!

~Lisa from Wisconsin (Lady Rainbow)