Ep 03 | How to Talk About Your Gender Story

I am in the process of developing a Name and Gender Support Plan for students. In doing so I’ve had a few revelations that I had to share with all of you regarding gender equity in the workplace.

While preparing to roll out this new initiative, I hesitated. This work requires thought before action, even if a DEI strategic plan is in place. Timing matters, too. You never want to appear tone-deaf. And recently, there has been much discussion recently on the ineffectiveness of DEI training, along with the potential to cause more harm and so I knew I didn’t want to launch the plan with another Gender workshop.

I decided it would be best to start with informal dialogues, creating a space for people to ask “dumb” questions without judgment and get a judgment-free response. Then I began to question my ability to hold such sessions without causing more harm to members of the community who may hold identities being discussed or a level of gender equity understanding that is beyond the basics. Even with 20+ years of DEI facilitation, I still question from time to time if I am doing enough, playing it too safe, using the proper tools to bring about desired outcomes, etc. I know there is no “one right way” to bring about change, but I certainly want to do so without causing more harm to our most vulnerable.

Lucky for me, at the onset of my planning for the Gender talks, I would be taking a SafeZone Train-the-Trainer certification program and the exact questions I had around best practices for facilitating talks about gender was one of the main topics in the certification program. Pushback is something we deal with often as DEI practitioners and finding ways to professionally (not always friendly) navigate dialogue with colleagues around equity and excellence can sometimes be a bit difficult. I’ve found that gender, though it is one of my salient identities has been an area that’s more challenging for me to discuss with colleagues due to their lack of understanding of their own gender.

Just because you’ve lived in a body your whole life, doesn’t mean that you fully understand it. You’ve got to stop and think critically about your unique gender story.

Many know that gender is a social construct and yet often still implicitly or explicitly find ourselves marginalizing and minoritizing others based on this identity.

This epiphany let me see that when it comes to gender, and speaking with an audience of different levels of understanding, I have to start with their own cycle of socialization. Harro’s cycle of socialization is one that I use often to discuss my race story and I’ve used it to help others understand their own race story. Talking about gender in this way will help my audience better be able to understand why they think what they think about gender in the workplace. Understanding intersectionality and our cycle of socialization are one of the best tools I’ve found for establishing a foundation for talking about any identity.

So I’ll be taking us back to our roots and allowing folks to share their gender stories as a first look into the Name and Gender Support Plan I’ve been working on for the students. We can never predict if a session will have an agitator or a disruptor, but we can be prepared that people will attend that have blindspots about identities, whether they vocalize them or not. We’re all in this boat together so we must leave a little room and time to better understand ourselves and each other.

C’est la vie.

I love a good ICYMI and so I thought it only fitting that this week’s Stack The Deck be dedicated to my favorite moments from the last two weeks that you may have missed if you aren’t connected to me personally on LinkedIn. (Let’s connect now!)

I must share this resource from Ricardo Nazario y Colón, Ed.D. When so many DEI practitioners were being asked to help their institutions and organizations draft statements and share their think pieces around the murder Tyre Nichols last week, Ricardo shared a plethora of resources he compiled. If you’re looking for resources to add to your DEI toolkit, check out these. This document is a very well-organized, extensive list for Chief Diversity Officers and beyond. This was no doubt a way to help DEI practitioners with their own self-care. We could quickly share links and content to support our work, without constantly exerting new energy. Thank you for thinking of our well-being/capacity, while so many were taxing us and our departments to do this work for them… again.

? I help my clients meet the global demands of business and address the challenges that come along with changing demographics, differing points of view and workplace fairness.

?? I’m a Global Business Manager and Certified Diversity Executive.

 ❤️‍?  I am a cousin of Emmett Till and Mamie Till Mobley. I use my platform to tell my truth and promote racial reconciliation.

?I’m looking for opportunities to speak about race and racial equity in the workplace this year

❓Run a podcast? Want a guest blog?

?Give me a shout: amberly@amberlycarter.com

Uno Out!