Post submitted by Eva Walton Kendrick, Alabama State Manager
Earlier this month, I had the privilege to participate in a panel with fellow leaders in Birmingham’s LGBTQ and allied community as a part of the Leadership Birmingham Class of 2016’s “One Community Day.”
Each year, Leadership Birmingham brings together 50 Birmingham-area leaders from diverse backgrounds to engage in a series of monthly programs exploring issues and exchanging ideas about challenges and current issues in the Birmingham region. These panels aim to elicit different points of view to help expand the perspectives of high-level persons leading our community. Topics have included hate crimes in Alabama, the Muslim community in Birmingham, Jewish life in Birmingham, immigration and the greater Birmingham community, civil rights memory and racial justice and LGBTQ lives in Birmingham.
The Magic City Wellness Center, Alabama’s first LGBTQ health clinic, hosted the Leadership Birmingham class for the LGBTQ pieces of the day’s conversations. In addition to the “LGBTQ in Birmingham” panel, participants joined in conversation on “Corporate America and the LGBTQ Community,” the “Family Matters” art exhibit and the new documentary, “State and Union: Lesbian Families of the Deep South.”
Panel participants included representatives from PFLAG and Magic City Acceptance Project, as well as a local transgender advocate. The panel conversation allowed participants to ask questions of the LGBTQ ambassadors around marriage equality, gender identity and expression, non-discrimination protections and the recent increase in anti-LGBT legislation introduced and passed this legislative session. As panel participants, we not only shared our expert knowledge on these subjects but also shared our personal stories about our various experiences as Alabama LGBTQ persons and allies, emphasizing to participants that we are proud to call this state home.
As HRC's representative, I emphasized the value of the business and corporate communities in advancing conversations on LGBTQ equality, highlighting the 2015 HRC Alabama Workplace Inclusion Summit and HRC's Corporate Equality Index and Buyer's Guide. I also spoke about opportunities for healthcare industry leaders to join hospitals that are leading LGBTQ-inclusive healthcare equality efforts through partnerships with HRC Foundation’s Healthcare Equality Index.
I am grateful to the participants from the Leadership Birmingham class for their attentiveness and true concern for leading Birmingham forward in a way that will be inclusive and affirming of LGBTQ Alabamians. We will not stop working until all LGBTQ people can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in their communities. To learn more about HRC’s work in Alabama, click here.