So-called Illegal Aliens are Human, Too

When I do general diversity and inclusion training, I often include a section on diversity of language and communications. I provide lists of the appropriate and respectful terms and words that people should use when referring to different groups of people. One example is using the term “sexual orientation” instead of “sexual preference,” which is insulting to gay people.

In a recent training session with a city police department, I got pushback when I shared that the respectful term to refer to immigrants who are here without proper documentation as “undocumented immigrants” instead of “illegal aliens.” I explained that all humans are created equally by God or whatever higher power you may or may not believe in and should be treated with respect. I do not believe God sees any person as “illegal.”

Some in the audience continued to argue that these are illegal bad people. I did try to have them separate a person’s actions from their humanity, and asked them, “If you do something bad from time to time, does that make you a bad person?” Yes, you can say that someone’s actions are illegal or bad, but that does not mean the person is illegal.

They still were not buying it. Then one person in the back of the room gave that old age argument, “they should come into this country legally like our ancestors did,” to which I replied, “I wonder what the Native Americans who were here before us think about that argument. Our forefathers stole their land from them and pushed them out.”
After the training, I then realized how I could further the discussion by asking them to have some empathy and put themselves in someone else’s shows.

EXAMPLE 1 – As Hitler was leading millions of Jews to the gas chamber, do you think the Jews may have the human right to get out of there any way they could, even if by illegal means? Or should they just stand by passively and get killed instead of illegally entering some other country?

EXAMPLE 2 – A good policeman just like you in Mexico is trying to fight the powerful drug cartels that are sending their drugs into the USA. The drug lords have already killed one police officer and their family, and have communicated to you that you, your wife and children are next on their hit list. Would you just stand by and let your family be executed, or would illegal escape to the USA to preserve you and your family’s life?

As a country and as individuals, let’s show some empathy and kindness toward everyone, including illegal aliens … WHOOPS … I mean undocumented immigrants.

Why do we all need someone to hate on? … and now in North Carolina, it’s transgender people

So is it appropriate for this beautiful woman to use the men's room?  Our North Carolina legislature and governor sure think so.

So is it appropriate for this beautiful woman to use the men’s room? Our North Carolina legislature and governor sure think so.

There has been so much written the past few days about the horrific anti-LGBT bill that just passed in North Carolina, I decided to write a blog about the larger systemic societal and political issue that has led to this.

As a diversity consultant, as a Christian, and as an overall positive upbeat person, I cannot understand why a huge segment of the American population needs “someone” or “some group” to “hate on.” It is a very sad fact that many people run for public office on platforms of what group we are going to punish or kick out. In the distant past, African-Americans were often demonized, as well as business-oriented women who wanted equality in the workplace. Then after that it was gays and lesbians, and in a way, they are still a target in many locations. But lately it seems the heat of hatred has been really turn up on undocumented immigrants (often referred to as illegal aliens – I thought all people were created and loved by God so how can they be “illegal?”), Muslims, and especially on transgender people.

Transgender people are indeed a very small segment of our population, but have been increasing in visibility as high profile celebrities such as Chas (formerly Charity) Bono and Caitlyn (formerly Bruce) Jenner have come out and undergone gender transition. Now over half of US Fortune 500 companies include nondiscrimination protection for transgender individuals, and many now include gender transition medical benefits. (link to my blog about the increasing visibility of transgender people.)

But now in many states, legislators are proposing new laws that would be very harmful to transgender people, including not allowing them to use the public restroom of their presenting gender, or not being able to change official records such as drivers licenses if their current gender does not match their gender assigned at birth. Some politicians are causing a frenzy of hate against transgender people by shamelessly scaring people with totally fabricated and non-factual statements such as transgender people going into restroom to molest children.

Quote courtesy of Blackwell Pierce

Quote courtesy of Blackwell Pierce

Now in my state of North Carolina, our State Republican leaders called a hastily convened expensive special session of our state assembly and in one day with minimal reviews and discussion passed a state law forbidding municipalities of including protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in their own non-discrimination ordinances. In addition, this new state law dictates that transgender people must use the restroom of the gender on their birth certificate.

Recently, my letter to the editor (link) of our local newspaper (the Raleigh News and Observer) was published where I shared the true factual information. Namely:

1. Transgender women are truly women and transgender men are truly men, and the medical profession will support that.

2. Transgender women and men go into the restroom of their presenting gender to “relieve themselves”, period. Watch this fun video of a transgender woman singing about needing to pee.

3. There are never been a single recorded incident of a transgender person attempting to molest someone in a restroom. Never. Not one.

So what are these politicians afraid of? Sadly, they must feel the only way to get elected is to appeal to humanity’s base side and give them someone to hate. How sad!

ACTION: All people who want to stand up against hate need to reject all politicians who operate out of that mindset and elect officials who want to treat all people fairly and humanely.

FINAL NOTE: Blog author Stan C. Kimer provides corporate and organizational training on a wide range of diversity topics including transgender diversity. Check out “my speaking page” where you can see my upcoming schedule and request a copy of my speaking package.