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Diversion and inclusion event



I really was honored to be selected to be a panelist for an event which was part of a week long summit put on by Microsoft last month on diversion and inclusion which was originally titled woman in technology. I was approached by Microsoft for this event and after talking to them I said why not include all sectors which includes LGBT and those struggling because of race, beliefs and culture although most of the latter have been coming to light in recent times.

They already know of my transition because when I transitioned I needed to change my name and gender for my account and that I'm a Microsoft MVP.

The event began by a introduction to how the event would go then five questions were asked, each of the panelist were given time to respond. To be honest I don't remember the questions. I do remember that in the first question I focused on cisgender females and the transgender community. The second question I moved focus to LGBT as the other female panelist had the cisgender aspect covered.

After finishing with the second question response I said something like, I'm one of the fortunate transgenders who transitioned unscaved which is not common place for most transgenders. Not only did I get an applause but a standing applause.

After the questions were asked the audience was given time to ask us questions but nobody did. After that we sat there thinking that people might come up and ask questions and I had a handful talk with me, one asked for my contact information as they had a family member who was transgender.

Over the following days I had people come up to me at the summit thanking me for speaking out and for having courage to speak. I told each and everyone of them is that I feel obligated to speak out for those who can not and that most who transition still need help but many times simply want nothing more to do with the transgender community and only want to blend in while there are others on the opposite end of the septum who are very vocal yet sometimes go to far and then we have some in the middle.

I did say during the event that to get people from the transgender community is not simply on large companies but also on the transgender person to as I know all to well that to be in technology of writing or supporting software or hardware things change all the time. Those who make the big bucks do so because they are continually bettering themselves like myself and I worked hard, was a window treatment sales person who studied at night for a year before quitting my window treatment job for writing software.  

Not everyone is cut out for working in IT but let's broaden this to other high paying professions and better your life along with showing others we are truly no different from cisgender and in some cases better.

I put myself in front of several hundred people with afterwards thousands who did not know who I was now and prior now know. I didn't want recognition for myself but instead to enlighten the cisgender community about the transgender community. Sorry if I didn't speak up per say about other parts of LGBT as I wanted to focus on trans. I did have one attendee who confided with me that he was gay and was worried about how to present himself and I got him to be confident and saw that he was doing better after talking to him.  




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Dear Karen,

Want to thank you and Microsoft for sponsoring "An Hour of Code" which really helps encourage women to study and pursue STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers.  By the way, they have a wonderful website, www.code.org.  Well worth checking out!

Your friend,


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Congrats on doing that!  It sounds like a really good event.

I guess I'm not too surprised that people didn't ask questions - I feel like we're still at a point where people know so little about being transgender that they don't even know what questions to ask - or for those who are supportive, they might be afraid of asking the wrong questions.  In closer relationships if people express curiosity I usually try to make them more comfortable by saying that nothing they ask me will offend me - if it's something that is objectively offensive I'll just tell them that, but I won't take it personally (if the person is supportive, then I know they aren't trying to offend) - but that wouldn't work in a larger group setting, I would never give an entire audience the option of being offensive :-)



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Dear Christie,

In my opinion, it is not what a person says, but HOW they say it.

The transgender community is so diverse and changing so fast, that it can be overwhelming to learn about or question it.  My suggestion is for people to study from REPUTABLE sources on the Internet and elsewhere, and start with where they resonate the most.

Have a Happy Holiday!

Yours truly,


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