Last Friday morning, DiversifyIT hosted a PRIDE 2021 panel discussion and 40 of us attended in support of our LGBTQIA+ colleagues working in the IT and STEM fields. The meeting room was quieter than ever with everyone focused on the four panelists allowing them intimate space to share their full selves.
The speakers were: Janghoon Yoon, a Lab Research Analyst II at Duke Transplant Center; Emily Noneman, an IT professional at of Oracle Corporation in Durham; Elizabeth Edmiston, a Duke alum and senior software engineer at Lucidworks; and Cathy Rimer-Surles, a Duke alum who served most recently as Assistant Director for Contracts and Intellectual Property at Duke University Press. (see complete bios)
Were you there?? Let us know what you thought by taking this brief survey: https://duke.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_9ETaWkSGpTzWZTg
Over the course of the hour each panelist shared their personal experiences and opinions on very personal decisions common to members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Cathy prompted the other three through a series of revealing questions, interjecting her own thoughts for one of DiversifyIT’s most powerful discussions yet.
Here are some of the questions the group answered:
- What is it like to be LGBTQIA in the IT or STEM field?
- What was it like coming out at work?
- Is it difficult to find affinity groups? Are they helpful?
- Has the workplace environment become more inclusive?
- Are workplace polices supportive?
- What can employers like Duke do better?
- What acts of allyship do you find most impactful and meaningful?
One powerful act of allyship is to use your personal pronouns as a way to normalize gender diversity and show support. Panelists said they hoped that attendees would realize how damaging it can be to make assumptions about people based on gender. They said it’s important to have an open mind.
It was a great way to kick off DiversifyIT’s fall 2021 programming.
Join us this Wednesday (9/22) at Noon for a Brown Bag Lunch on this season’s book club selection, “Me & White Supremacy: Combat racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor,” by Layla F. Saad.
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Meeting ID: 925 1603 6566