Friday, October 30, 2009

My Eye-Opening Experience At A Forum For The Transgender Community

Very rarely, I would attend an event or participate in a situation for which I know little information, especially upon invitation. Yesterday, going to an event blindly paid off for me mentally and spiritually.

Check out my testimony in the video below. I talk about how I was invited to a "networking event" by a friend who really did not know what the event was about. Instead of a networking event for the unemployed, we entered into a forum discussion about transgenders in the workplace, transitioning and transformed.

Until last night, I would have quickly balked about such invitation since I can openly admit that I have not been open to socializing and associating with the transgender community. (By the way, this has been my preference, and my views are not uniformed with The Future Forward team.) Additionally, I have classified the transgendered community minimally to clubs, pageants, female impersonations, low-paying/less-skillful employment and the ball scene. Fortunately, my mind has opened and views has changed as I decided to check out what the symposium entailed. At the panel discussion, four transgendered men and women shared their stories of success, guilt, shame, stress and laughter as they transitioned from one sex to the other while they were in their executive positions. In fact, one of them manages accounts in excess of a billion dollars and transitioned during the height of her success. [She was born as a male.] Their stories wowed me as I would have never imagined people of the transgender community being successful outside of the GLBT and mainstream entertainment circuit.

I was more impressed by the message the last speaking panelist gave than the collective's transformation during employment. Though the forum was about fighting for rights and discussing the disparities of equality for transgenders in corporate America, the panelist spoke a message of empowerment and ownership of self. When people of ownership when people talking about being victims, I listen because solution brings progress where problem remain.

In fact, people [still] think that Blacks, gays and other groups cannot succeed in certain things. Who would have thought they would live through a Black man becoming President of the United States?

At that point, I knew that setting limitations on a group limits my perception of life. Everything is possible, and people are capable of accomplishing whatever their hearts desire. Even if we have never seen such a benchmark set for a demographic, one can ensure that someone will achieve that notoriety and pave the way for others someday.

Each of us have a bias toward a group or demographic. Yes, you do too. Think about the characteristics you associate with that group. Now, I challenge you to meet or find someone in that group that defies your classification of that group. You, too, will be more enlightened and open-minded as I have last night.

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