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While many parts of the world continue to manage the effects of COVID-19, there are parts of the Global North where efforts toward vaccination appear to be demonstrating a way forward. And while some people have rushed into a “new” concept of “normal,” for this period, or era, others feel stuck.  

Some of us are those “stuck” people. Some things feel very fragile, others heavy. From the loss of livelihoods and loved ones to uprisings and broken systems - it’s tough to know where to start or where to go from here. For us, there’s too much left unacknowledged, ungrieved, and unsaid. And a quick pivot to conversations relating to wellness—especially in the workplace—makes us cringe. We can’t expect some upgraded wellness practices to be enough. Not right now, not after all of this. And it’s going to be frustrating when people—especially leaders—think this is enough. 

DEI efforts and wellness are inextricably tied together. So much so that Karen Catlin and Laura Putnum developed the concept of “wellness privilege.” 

When one partakes in wellness activities such as taking time off, attending weekly therapy, and engaging with nature, it can be deeply connected to privilege. Oftentimes, people with wellness privilege find wellness solutions more accessible to adopt than others due to their unique options, time, and resources.  

Depression, isolation, loneliness, grief, suffering, anger, and burnout are complex realities present on our teams that require more than a convenient tagline around self-care to address. And when people’s social, cultural, and physical environments continue to conspire against them, typical wellness support isn’t going to be enough. This is not a matter of personal responsibility; it’s a matter requiring collective action and accountability.

We’re going to need a better playbook.

Inclusive Wellness Tips

  • Gain your team members' trust through support at all levels. Align with team members on your collective commitments to DEI—not just from the top—but also at the leadership management level.
  • Give team members access to the types of wellness that are effective for them. This could be access to a gym, wellness center, fitness classes, or non-physical activity in the workplace.
  • Discourage after-hours emails and meetings outside of regular work hours. Moreover, follow up with intentional commitments to help your team members to take time off, such as reallocating workload.
  • Allow team members to observe the holy days in their religious tradition without having to use vacation days.
  • Make sure everyone gets equal air time in conversations and meetings. Moreover, align with managers/leaders to model behaviour across all levels.
  • Create public green spaces or private spaces that team members can access during breaks.
  • Provide team members with clear access to effective healthcare in their required language and cultural context.
  • And make sure to build trust through demonstrating actions and commitments for everyone to feel welcome and included at networking opportunities.

Non-Binary Inclusive HR Systems

Wellness can be particularly hard to practice in environments where people are consistently erased or misrepresented through even the most mundane processes. For all our HR and People leaders and advocates, this section is specifically for you!

With the celebration of International Non-Binary People’s Day just yesterday, here are some tips to help make HR systems more inclusive of non-binary team members: 

Here are some considerations:

  • Include the honorific “Mx.
  • Include pronoun options beyond He/Him/His and She/Her/Hers on forms and profiles, ideally with a custom answer.
  • Allow multiple answers for people who feel affirmed by multiple sets of pronouns.
  • Include gender selections beyond man/woman, ideally with a custom answer. Allow multiple answers for people who are gender-fluid or identify with multiple genders.
  • Allow room for designations of chosen names that might differ from legal names. Prioritize chosen names in all spaces legally permissible, such as emails, nameplates, business cards, etc.
  • Allow options to voluntarily and confidentially self-ID as LGBTQ2+ so organizations can track people’s experiences and discover/address inequities.
  • Utilize gender-neutral labels such as “parent/guardian” with or in lieu of terms such as “mother” and “father.” 
  • Include disclaimers as to why you are collecting certain gender information when you do or why the options are limited for legal compliance.
  • Reassure team members that they will have the opportunity to list gender options beyond legal designations in other areas. 

For more tips, review “Designing forms for gender diversity and inclusion.”

Using Drag to Challenge Biased Technology

Tomorrow is International Drag Day. It is an annual event on July 16 to celebrate and recognize Drag art worldwide. 

The term “drag” refers to the performance of femininity, masculinity, androgyny, and/or other forms of gender expression. It is commonly associated with drag queens, people (usually men) who perform femininity; however, it is certainly not limited to this association. 

In recent times, drag has become somewhat mainstream, popularized by the hit show RuPaul's Drag Race, as an example. Although there are other even more subversive uses of drag that not many know about. 

For example, did you know that Facial Recognition Technologies (FRTs), increasingly adopted in cities, workplace technologies, and law enforcement, are often profoundly inaccurate and even dangerous, for people of colour and trans and non-binary communities? This is because the datasets used to train FRT algorithms are not representative of all the racial and gender diversity in our world, and FRT algorithms usually only allow binary gender designations, erasing millions

Drag has offered a unique and artistic way to push back against this bias embedded in FRTs. Specifically, people use drag techniques to change how facial recognition technologies perceive their faces, so facial surveillance is rendered impossible.
Learn ways to challenge FRTs through drag from the Algorithmic Justice League

Digital Land Acknowledgement

Feminuity was founded on land that is the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat peoples and is home to many First Nations, Inuit, and Metis peoples.  

As a remote team, we encourage our team members, clients, and partners to reflect on colonialism’s enduring legacy and engage in reconciliation meaningfully. We encourage everyone to visit Whose Land and access the Indigenous Ally Toolkit by Dakota Swiftwolfe.

Creator Feature 📱🎵

Lance Tsosie grew up on the Navajo Nation, is a TikTok creator with over 1.5M followers, co-founded the first Native student group at Denver University, and enjoys fitness challenges. He is most known for his tagline “hey colonizer” on TikTok.

Engage with Lance Tsosie on TikTok
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