Dearest HFES members -
This is one of the co-chairs of our HFES LGBTQ+ Affinity Group, Hanna, here to say:
Happy Pride Month!!
And to all of our queer HFES members, I see you and I honor you.
I know we are about halfway through the month, but if your inbox or social media feed has looked anything like mine, you’ve probably seen plenty of “Happy Pride!” messages by now.
My intention in writing this message isn’t just to say happy Pride, though. Nor is it to remind us all that HFES is an organization committed to recognizing and celebrating members of the LGBTQ+ community. Rather, I want to prompt us to use Pride month to explore the history of Pride, get curious about others’ experiences, and reflect on and commit to tangible ways of creating a more just world.
The riots at the Stonewall Inn in 1969 are best known as the start of Pride. This historical moment demonstrated the LGBTQ+ community’s strength, when united, to stand up against unjust systems. Pride month became a way to demand continued change on behalf of queer people. Today, Pride remains a protest, but also is a chance to honor the work done by our Black, Trans, Queer ancestors–Marsha P. Johnson, Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, Sylvia Rivera, among others.
Pride is also a time for us to be curious about the variety of experiences of the LGBTQ+ community–those folks who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Non-binary, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, and on. While folks with one (or more) of these identities all belong to the LGBTQ+ community, their experiences are far from homogenous. This is especially the case when considering intersecting identities, e.g., Black, Hispanic, Disabled, etc., that compound oppression. With nearly 1 in 10 adults identifying as LGBTQ+, we’re easier to find than you might think; if you’re willing to see us and honor our unique experiences.
All of this to say, as Human Factors and Ergonomics professionals, we are charged with designing for people, which begs the question: which people? We are uniquely equipped to carry on the legacy of Pride by designing technology and systems that honor the experiences of the LGBTQ+ community. In fact, some of us are already applying HFE to advance social justice.
So, tell me, what did you learn newly? What are you walking away with? How will you carry on the legacy of Pride using HFE? I’m here to hear about it.
Hanna Barton (they/them)
Ph.D. Student @ UW-Madison
“Do you already know that your existence--who and how you are--is in and of itself a contribution to the people and place around you? Not after or because you do some particular thing, but simply the miracle of your life. And that the people around you, and the place(s), have contributions as well? Do you understand that your quality of life and your survival are tied to how authentic and generous the connections are between you and the people and place you live with and in?
Are you actively practicing generosity and vulnerability in order to make the connections between you and others clear, open, available, and durable? Generosity here means giving of what you have without strings or expectations attached. Vulnerability means showing your needs.”
― Adrienne Maree Brown, Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds
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