Stephanie Set to Return to the Forum on Workplace Inclusion

As she did last year, Stephanie will be returning to speak at the 2016 edition of the Forum on Workplace Inclusion sponsored the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business and being held at the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 29 – 31.

On Wednesday, March 30 from 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm she will present a workshop entitled, “So What Do We Do NOW? Evolving the Transgender Workplace Inclusion Narrative from Policy to Practice.”

The session overview outlines what will surely be an interactive and enlightening workshop for all who attend:

The current narrative with regard to the workplace issues of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals has tended to focus on the events and preparations leading up to the time of transition itself. This lively and engaging session evolves the conversation beyond this stage and covers an area that up to now has not been discussed—the post-transition (and beyond) story.

A major international voice in the workplace equality movement for transgender and gender non-conforming individuals, Stephanie throws open the shutters of this darkened room and casts a bright light on the pertinent issues that D& I and human resource professionals need to know to successfully transform their workplaces into a truly welcoming environment for ALL of their employees. Participants will learn key actionable takeaways that will “bring to life” their transgender-inclusive workplace policies and procedures – and leave better prepared to be an advocate / ally.

To learn more about this wonderful conference, you can access a downloadable PDF summary HERE.  

You can also access the 2016 Forum website HERE.

Hope to see you there!

Stephanie On Caitlyn Jenner – & Other Women’s Topics – On Huff Po’s #WMN

Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 7.09.50 AMEarlier this month on June 4th  I had the pleasure to appear as a live in-studio guest on the the Huff Post Live show “#WMN,” hosted by the wonderful Carol Modarressy-Tehrani.

It was a privilege to  be joined by two other terrific women, doing outstanding work in their own fields – and making a difference at the same time:  Author Leora Tanenbaum and Nakisha Lewis, from the Ms. Foundation.  While I was there primarily to discuss my take on Caitlyn Jenner’s coming out in Vanity Fair, what made it even more special for me was that I had the opportunity to be a part of a larger conversation about issues of the day important to all women.  It truly was an awesome experience with plenty of lively conversation.

You can view a video of the show in its entirety Huff Post

 

Stephanie Serves as Consultant to Diane Sawyer & ABC News on Groundbreaking Bruce Jenner Interview

As I settle in to write this, 48 hours have passed since the airing of the Diane Sawyer interview with Bruce Jenner.  17 million viewers, over 675,000 tweets and innumerable Facebook posts (including mine!) later, I feel compelled to ask the question:  so what has the transgender and gender non-conforming community gained as the afterglow of this past Friday’s watershed event ever so slowly begins to fade?  In a word:  Plenty.

To better substantiate my claim, let me first take you back to Tuesday of last week when I found myself at the ABC News studios in Manhattan in a conference room with Diane Sawyer and her production team.  We were all gathered together that evening to screen, for the first time, the program in its entirety.  I was asked to serve as a consultant to the team at ABC because it was very important to them that a trans person not involved with the production itself had a chance to provide input and offer insights on the show.  From the moment I met everyone, it was very apparent that Diane and her entire team had a sincere desire to make sure that the finished product was a genuine, honest and human portrayal of not only Bruce’s journey, but of the myriad issues that the transgender and gender non-conforming community face.  And you know what?  They hit it completely out of the park in all respects.ratings26n-3-web

The point that I made that evening that thankfully was not lost on anyone in the room was the importance of not losing sight of the larger context within which Bruce’s story was being told.  To be sure, the main drawing card of the show is Bruce’s story: to finally hear what he had to say – his feelings, his emotions, and his journey thus far – it provided a much needed counterpoint to the tired, overblown and all-too-intrusive tabloid coverage that we’ve had to endure of late.

But the program would have done a horrible disservice to the trans/gnc community if it did not employ the forum that the story of Bruce’s journey to embrace his authentic and true self provided.  Thankfully, that was not the case at all – and that’s a very good thing.

The legacy that the show will leave behind has yet to be fully written.  For one thing, Bruce’s transition is far from over.  In so many ways, it is only just beginning.  Months from now, when we look back on what transpired last Friday night, that fact will be quite apparent.  But the immediate – and I hope lasting impact – is its ability to instantaneously create a public discourse – a conversation about not only the issues facing the trans/gnc community, but who we are as human beings – in places where perhaps it has never happened before across the country.  The opportunity this presents for our community to simply tell our stories, have them be heard and, most importantly, to educate – is what the real legacy of this moment is.

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As I was rushing home on Friday night from another commitment I had in New York City, I had one eye on my Facebook feed to see what people’s reaction to the interview was. Honestly, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  Having already seen the show I knew that it was a solid, non-sensationalistic portrayal, but that was just one trans person’s opinion, and obviously mine was just a bit biased.

What I saw amidst the repeated pinging and buzzing of my phone was one very obvious truth: people were all talking to each other about what was unfolding before them on the television screen.  They were sharing their stories.  They were sharing their feelings. They were teaching.  Teaching everyone that we share one common desire:  to be happy.  The pursuit of happiness – a concept our founding fathers got a long time ago.

To see such a display of truth and authenticity left me feeling grateful – for having had the opportunity to serve as a consultant to Diane & her team, emotional – because there are so many parallels I can draw from my own journey to Bruce’s, and last and most importantly – so very proud of who I am, my history and the community I am a part of.

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As a runner, I subscribe to inspirational quotes that I receive in my email each morning.  They help me get out on the road on those days when I would rather do anything but that.  Much to my delighted surprise, today’s edition was from another American Olympic hero, Frank Shorter, which beautifully provides inspiration for not only my newest sister, but for all of the transgender and gender non-conforming community:  “Be willing to move forward and find out what happens next.”

This blog post also appears in the Huffington Post here

Stephanie Named to PFLAG National Board of Directors

pflag_headerEarlier this month, I was voted on to the PFLAG National Board of Directors at the Board’s most recent meeting in Washington, D.C.

PFLAG National is the nation’s largest organization uniting families, allies, and people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ).  PFLAG  is doing wonderful work, a good portion of which has to do with educating the community about, and providing support to, transgender and gender non-conforming individuals through its network of over 350 chapters across the United States.

As the only transgender identified member of the the National Board, I am truly honored to be a part of a collective of passionate and committed individuals, and am looking forward to adding my voice to the initiatives PFLAG has underway with regard to the development of allies for the transgender community, and bringing a greater level of understanding to the issues facing transgender and gender non-conforming individuals.

Click Here, to read the full press release.

My Love Letter to Ottawa

The U.S. Embassy displays it's Pride!

The U.S. Embassy displays it’s Pride!

Where to begin? Over the course of a mere three days in this lovely city I experienced the warm embrace and graciousness of an LGBT community that has redefined the term “togetherness.” Without exception, every person I met at every event I spoke at, every reception I attended, every media appearance or interview – and yes – even at the drag shows – made me feel so welcomed and included.  From the very first time I was approached to participate by the Capital Pride committee to be a part of this year’s events oh-so many months ago, I have said it is truly an honor to contribute to the amazing undertaking that is Capital Pride.

To Jennifer and the entire staff at the U.S. Embassy, I thank you for your sponsorship and I am profoundly appreciative of all your efforts in shaping what was an incredible 72 hours.

To Brodie, Stephanie, Andrea, Giselle, Dixie, Hannah, Rob, Alex and everyone at Capital Pride, from the bottom of my heart I thank you for your tireless efforts and your commitment to the LGBT community of Ottawa and beyond. You have so much to be proud of.

Stephanie and Cason Crane with Capital Pride Board Member Hannah Watt

Stephanie and Cason Crane with Capital Pride Board Member Hannah Watt

To Sophia, Janne, Amanda, Linda and everyone at Gender Mosaic, what you have created and nurtured over the years is truly inspiring to me. Many transgender organizations in the United States and around the world can learn from your model of togetherness, unconditional acceptance and commitment to the creation of community for each one of its members. I am proud to be your sister.

Stephanie& Sophia Cassivi, Gender Mosaic Past-President, at the Pride Reception sponsored by TD Bank.

Stephanie& Sophia Cassivi, Gender Mosaic Past-President, at the Pride Reception sponsored by TD Bank.

All of you have successfully shaped – and continue to shape – the narrative for transgender and LGBT rights not only in Ottawa and Ontario, but across all of Canada. As an activist, I am energized by your commitment to equality and human rights for all. I consider it a privilege to have been given the opportunity to contribute to this narrative in my own way.  Please know that as I leave Ottawa I will take a little piece of each one of you along with me. I leave a different person than the one that arrived. I am deeply touched by your outpouring of love and support. You have enriched my soul. For that I am eternally grateful.

As someone at the Human Rights Vigil said to me afterward, “this is not goodbye,” and indeed it is not for I know in my heart that our paths will cross again.

Thank you, Merci beaucoup, God Bless . . . and Happy Pride!

Your honorary Ottawan,
Stephanie