Posts Tagged ‘LGBT community’

An excellent resource (and writer): Cerebral Palsy Guidance and Alex Diaz-Granados

Alex Diaz-Granados, Miami-based freelance writer, online reviewer, aspiring novelist and regular contributor to Cerebral Palsy Guidance

Alex Diaz-Granados, Miami-based freelance writer, online reviewer, aspiring novelist and regular contributor to Cerebral Palsy Guidance

As a career development and diversity (all areas but with an LGBT – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) deep expertise, I often get community contacts via people who discover my website and blog. One particular recent fascinating contact is Alex Diaz-Granados, a writer for the website “Cerebral Palsy Guidance.” Since “people with disabilities” is one the critical diversity constituencies in need to more full inclusion, I discussed cerebral palsy, including its intersection with the LGBT community, with Alex.

STAN: Alex, can you give me a brief description of what Cerebral Palsy Guidance is about?
ALEX: Cerebral Palsy Guidance (CPG) is a website that provides information about cerebral palsy (CP), a disability that affects approximately 764,000 children and the adults in the U.S. alone. CPG was created primarily as a resource for parents of children with CP to give them information about the disability, what treatments are available, what kinds of medical and legal assistance exist, and to dispel some of the myths that surround CP. That having been said, though, we also want to reach the general public and increase awareness about cerebral palsy, which is the most common movement disorder that affects kids.


STAN: Wow, 764,000 people affected is a huge number! Alex, Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and how you got involved in this work?
ALEX: Well, I’m a Miami-based freelance writer, online reviewer, and aspiring novelist – and I happen to have cerebral palsy. I was a preemie, and I acquired CP shortly after birth when a nurse placed me in an incubator – and took a bit too long to turn on the oxygen supply. It was only a momentary lapse, but thus, there was some damage in the motor control region of my brain. Luckily, I fell in love with the written word as a young boy, and I decided that I’d be a writer when I was 14.

As to how I got involved with CPG: I was asked to write a blog for the site in January of 2016. I was writing movie and book reviews for the now-closed Examiner.com at the time, plus I was gearing up to start writing my first novel. But CPG’s chief writer, Leigh Egan, emailed me not long after the New Year and asked me if I would like to be a regular blogger and share with readers what it’s like to live with CP. I’m not a researcher or a legal expert, mind you, but I do know about the challenges of daily existence as a disabled person in 21st Century America. So, I said “yes,” and here we are.


STAN: Alex, could you tell me more about the intersectionality of Cerebral Palsy with being LGB or T? Why is this important to discuss?
ALEX: I’m not LGB or T, but some of my friends are, so I am aware of the challenges they face today. I can identify with the LGBT community’s struggles to gain acceptance in a society where some people still believe that sexual orientation is an anomalous “lifestyle” or “choice” rather than an innate trait. People with CP, whether they’re gay or straight, are still sometimes looked upon as freaks or “damaged” individuals who should be shunned. Disabled people, of course, aren’t vilified or – as in the Pulse shooting in Orlando – targeted by zealots as LGB and T people are, but we still face discrimination and mockery. Look at that disabled New York Times reporter that President-elect Donald Trump made fun of during the campaign. Trump scornfully mimicked his physical disability because he didn’t like the man’s reporting or his probing questions! So for me, the intersectionality of individuals with CP and the LGBT community isn’t about sexual orientation. It’s about human rights.


Alex Diaz-Granados (second from the left) enjoys a dinner party for a close friend

Alex Diaz-Granados (second from the left) enjoys a dinner party for a close friend

STAN: What can allies do to educate themselves about the Cerebral Palsy / LGBT intersection and what actions can they take?
ALEX: I think that dialogue and participative interaction is the best way for people to understand each other. I’m not sure that disabled people in general have a negative worldview about the LGBT community – some people with CP are LGB or T, too. Maybe a small percentage of individuals with CP may have some prejudices about gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender persons, mostly because of their religious upbringing, but others, especially millennials, are more accepting. But by and large I think both groups (disabled and LGBT) get along well.


STAN: How can people learn more?
ALEX: If anyone wants more information about cerebral palsy, its causes, treatments, and what resources are available, there is Cerebral Palsy Guidance. CPG is one of the best sites on the Web, with well-written and researched articles by a dedicated staff. You can find it at https://www.cerebralpalsyguidance.com/


STAN: Thank you for the insights, Alex. Keep up your great work and I look forward to staying in touch and seeing your first novel.

* * * *

NOTE: FYI – here is a link to Alex’s LinkedIn Profile to learn more about him.

A RANT: Facebook and LGBT bullying and hate speech

NOTE: Several useful resource links included at the bottom of the blog.

This 12-year-old boy, Ronin Shimizu of Fresno, California recently committed suicide as a result of intense bullying by classmates for being the only boy on his junior high cheerleading squad.

This 12-year-old boy, Ronin Shimizu of Fresno, California recently committed suicide as a result of intense bullying by classmates for being the only boy on his junior high cheerleading squad.

UPDATE: I received these useful links on handling hate crimes from a reader.
* How to combat hate crimes from the Anti-Defamation League
* Hates Crime Guide that includes links to dozens of resources, information on famous cases, etc.
* Definition of a “hate crime” from the Sydney Institute of Criminology.

# # # # # # #

OK, it is time for one of my “rant blogs” where I am going to discuss the epidemic of online hateful speech and verbal bullying of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) people. Given the disproportionate amount of gay teens committing suicide and transgender people being beaten and murdered, our entire society must strongly address this.

In two recent posts that I made on my Total Engagement Consulting business site on LGBT diversity, some extremely hateful and inaccurate comments were posted. First, I do not understand why these haters would even see my posts in their Facebook feed since I pay to have them displayed to people who have designated subjects such as transgender equality, LGBT community and employment nondiscrimination as topics of interest. Second, I am completely baffled that when I reported the hate speech, Facebook ruled that the comments did not violate their community standards stated of “we allow users to speak freely on matters and people of public interest, but take action on all reports of abusive behavior directed at private individuals.”

Let me provide two examples.

In mid-November, I published a blog titled “Five Things Never to Say to Transgender People” in recognition of the Transgender Day of Remembrance. Very sadly, over 80 transgender people were murdered in 2014 (link), most of which appear to be victims of targeted hate crimes. One young man responded to the post with “f*** your bulls***” and then continued to write, “I shouldn’t be seeing this garbage on my newsfeed in the first place. And stop over reacting drama queen, when was the last time transgender people got murdered? Remember all the sick homosexual people that pop up on the news everyday doing horrible, sickening things to children. Stop acting like your kind isn’t tainted with the most disgusting people this world has ever seen.”

Transwoman Mia Henderson  was found dead of “massive trauma” in an alley in Baltimore, Maryland in June of this year.

Transwoman Mia Henderson was found dead of “massive trauma” in an alley in Baltimore, Maryland in June of this year.


On December 4, I wrote a short paragraph announcement for my Facebook page after the US Department of Labor announced the implementation of President Obama’s executive order protecting LGBT government contractors. One young man responded to this post that he was very glad to see this news since he was previously fired from a job for being gay. Then a hater responded to this heartfelt post of gratitude, “Good for you, you dumb queer. You lost your job, now you can burn in hell.”

These are the exact kinds of things young LGBT people read online that leads to self-condemnation and later to harmful behavior including suicide. It also “gives permission” to haters to perpetrate bullying and even physical attacks. In a way, I consider Facebook partly responsible for these suicides and murders since they are failing to enforce their own community standards and contribute to harm by not condemning these kind of personal attacks and hateful posts.

Furthermore, I encourage all members of our society to strongly and actively condemn hate speech and bullying whenever possible. To stand by while our national epidemic of hate and violence festers is almost as irresponsible as participating in this behavior. One step everyone can take is when they see a friend or loved one participating in hate, realize that the perpetrator probably has self-image or self-hate issues of their own and recommend they enter intensive counseling or anger management class. If not, that person may one day snap, kill or harm someone, and spend years in prison.

IMPORTANT NOTE: I do hope this is read by a senior Facebook executive and that they will have a responsible staff member overseeing the Facebook community standards contact me to discuss addressing this. Perhaps the Facebook monitoring team could use some LGBT Diversity Awareness training.

SOME USEFUL RESOURCES:

The Tyler Clementi Foundation is a national organization committed to ending bullying, harassment and humiliation, online and offline, especially for marginalized youth.

Inclusion and Respect materials for educators from GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network.)

Anti-bullying resources from the National Education Association.

Friendfactor, an excellent organization with the mission of building strong active ally programs at schools and businesses.

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