Pride Month 2023 . . . . A Parting Thought

As this Pride Month comes to a close, I’d like to take a moment to remind all of you that consider yourselves an ally that doing so is an active undertaking. I, and all of my trans and nonbinary siblings are our authentic selves 24×7, 365 days a year – not just for the month of June!

The reality is, that it is the same for you. Being an ally is a daily commitment to social justice and reinforcing the right that we all live our lives authentically and without fear. Especially now, when the forces that seek nothing less to eradicate us from existence are attempting – and some would say, succeeding – in bending the narrative to their wishes through a torrent of mis- and dis-information. But try as they might, the one thing they will never have is our stories. As I reflect on this past Pride month, and all that I have participated in and seen celebrated, I always come back to this simple fact: there is immense power in our stories. Our stories can move mountains, change hearts, and change minds. It is, and will always be our superpower. They define our histories, our yesterdays, todays, and tomorrows. They are OUR narrative.

But the simple truth is we cannot do this alone. If we are honest with ourselves, we never could. Because at the beginning of the movement and at various points throughout it, we were denied access to the spaces where we could tell our stories. I hasten to add that in many state legislatures today we are still being denied that fundamental human right.

It is for this reason and countless others, that we need our allies.

You amplify and elevate our stories. You help shape the narrative. You stand in solidarity with us when the clouds of hate, prejudice, and fear darken the path to our authentic selves. In so many ways, you are the light that illuminates the path forward when perhaps we are unable to see where our next step will lead us.

So I ask you: Are you an ally with a capital “A”, or are you an ally with a small “a?” “Capital A” allies live their values actively and openly every day, and they confront “teaching moments” that inevitably arise when it is clear that others are attacking my right, and the right of my trans and nonbinary siblings, to live as we are. “Small a” allies remain silent. They put away their Pride flags and change their rainbow Zoom backgrounds the moment the calendar flips to July. Lest we forget that silence condones, and in the final analysis, is a “small a” ally really an ally at all? One simply cannot consider themselves an ally and then disappear in the moments when we need them the most.

Now I realize that not everyone possesses the mettle, or can find it in their nature, to be a vocal, bullhorn-blaring, sign-waving ally. But the good news is being an ally is not a one-size-fits-all deal. To be sure, Capital A allies come in all shapes and sizes and in multiple varieties. So, as we move into the hazy days of summer and further away from a Pride Month filled with celebrations, protests, marches, and parades, I ask you to please create a moment of contemplation and discernment to examine your own values, your own belief system, and your own sense of grace. It is my hope that you emerge from that reflection ready and willing to be an ally – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

TD Bank hosts Stephanie for Pride!

A BIG THANK YOU to Stephanie Eckersley-Ray and Steven Garibell and the entire team at TD Bank for including me in last Thursday’s AMCB Pride event! It was truly a transformative day for me and a real honor to be included in the program. I was so touched by the energy and passion that was in the room – and the commitment to evolving the already inclusive culture that has been built. You and all of your colleagues should be so very proud of all that you have accomplished – not only in making the event happen but for the positive, inclusive impact you have had and no doubt will continue to have on the culture at TD Bank!

Making Corporate America a Safer Space with Stephanie Battaglino

It was a real honor and privilege to lend my voice and perspectives on creating more diverse and welcoming workplaces to the #SpeakUpForEquity podcast with my friend and colleague in the DEIB movement, Robert Lawrence Wilson in conjunction with the Tennessee Diversity Consortium!

With respect to #transgender and #nonbinary #workplace #inclusion, if we just allow ourselves to lean into our #vulnerability and let our actions be led by our own personal sense of #grace and #integrity a more vibrant and evolved #culture awaits where the contributions of all make for a stronger, more #agile collective.

Listen Now on Spotify

Trans Rights Are Women’s Rights

Somehow in the blur that was the month of March, I completely missed this WONDERFUL, thought-provoking piece from the ACLU‘s #WomensRightsProject director Ria Tabacco Mar.

I speak often about how the warm embrace of my #cisgender female colleagues greatly aided me after I came out in my workplace, and how, as I continued to live into my authentic self at work, I found myself living at the intersection of gender equity and gender inequality. Reading this piece made me realize how much transwomen share the same space in the battle that is the women’s rights movement. As Ria so aptly points out, “Not only is there no conflict between demanding rights for women and for all transgender people, advances in #trans #rights hold a specific promise for women’s liberation. . . Defending trans people is not only a moral duty for the #feminist #movement; it is central to it.” Thank you for standing in #solidarity with my #community, my sister!

Trans Rights Are Women’s Rights

One Human Family

As we move from Black History Month #blackhistorymonth and into Women’s History Month, #womenshistorymonth, the beautiful and poignant words of Maya Angelou #mayaangelou give me hope at a time when there is so much hate and bigotry directed at the transgender community. If only those that seek to legislate us out of existence would stop the nonsense and embrace the indisputable fact that we are . . . One Human Family . . . .

“I note the obvious differences
In the human family.
Some of us are serious,
Some thrive on comedy.

Some declare their lives are lived
As true profundity,
And others claim they really live
The real reality.

The variety of our skin tones
Can confuse, bemuse, delight,
Brown and pink and beige and purple,
Tan and blue and white.

I’ve sailed upon the seven seas
And stopped in every land,
I’ve seen the wonders of the world
Not yet one common man.

I know ten thousand women
Called Jane and Mary Jane,
But I’ve not seen any two
Who really were the same.

Mirror twins are different
Although their features jibe,
And lovers think quite different thoughts
While lying side by side.

We love and lose in China,
We weep on England’s moors,
And laugh and moan in Guinea,
And thrive on Spanish shores.

We seek success in Finland,
Are born and die in Maine.
In minor ways we differ,
In major we’re the same.

I note the obvious differences
Between each sort and type,
But we are more alike, my friends,
Than we are unalike.

We are more alike, my friends,
Than we are unalike.

We are more alike, my friends,
Than we are unalike.

Songwriters: Maya Angelou / Shawn Rivera