by Lori Fox, President of Lori Fox Diversity/Business Consulting | This year will be my 15th year of attendance at the Southern Comfort Conference (SCC). Actively participating in this annual conference has changed my life over the past several years.
I struggled with Gender Identity most of my life. I struggled to come out as a Transgender woman to family, friends and co-workers, and was living deep in a closet, not knowing how or where to turn for help, especially in my workplace. Being very “closeted” at work, and without any Gender Identity policies, practices and benefits within my company, I felt unsafe and powerless to do anything; feeling that if I advocated for myself or for others too strongly, I would be terminated.
Sadly, this is what the power of fear and shame can do in a non-inclusive workplace culture. Not courageously standing up for what I believe in was one of the most painful and agonizing consequences of “living a lie” and being in the closet. Unfortunately, this happens in many workplaces throughout the country. It is unconscionable for someone to be fired simply for being their “authentic self” – whether that is identifying as Transgender, Lesbian, Bi-sexual, Gay or Questioning.
So today, I want to share exciting news about one of the premier lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) events in the country, with a specific focus on the diverse Transgender community. Entering its 23rd year, the Southern Comfort Conference will run from September 4th through 8th at the Crowne Plaza at Ravinia in Atlanta, Georgia.
Each September, the SCC hosts, not only members of the incredibly diverse Transgender community and their partners/spouses, but the entire LGBQ & Ally community, providing a professional forum for accessing unique resources, training and networking opportunities. This comes in the form of four days of professional seminars, speakers and entertainment. Many of the best doctors/surgeons, therapists, voice coaches, business professionals and vendors from around the world will be available, catering specifically to SCC attendees needs.
This year, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates is excited to be working with SCC to create a one-day program on Friday, September 6th that focuses specifically on issues of workplace equality impacting the Transgender community, an especially timely issue as the Employment Non-discrimination Act (ENDA) is set to return to the U.S. Senate floor this fall. The Out & Equal Workplace Equality Track at SCC will include a number of workshops throughout the day, in addition to general sessions that feature two of the leading voices in the LGBT equality movement from the Transgender community. The breakfast plenary session will feature remarks from Transgender Law Center Executive Director Masen Davis, while the luncheon session will welcome business executive and transgender activist Meghan Stabler.
Additionally, SCC is making the one day Friday program available as a separate registration option! For a discounted rate of $95, interested HR and Diversity professionals, Employee Resource Group (ERG) leaders, and Out & Equal constituents can register specifically for the Out & Equal Workplace Equality Track. This special registration not only provides a unique educational opportunity for LGBTQ employees and allies, but also will provide an affordable introduction to the SCC experience.
Learn more about the Southern Comfort Conference and the Out & Equal Workplace Equality Track online. The online registration deadline is August 24th.
Lori Fox is a member of the Out & Equal Workplace Advocates Board of Directors and a passionate advocate of the incredibly diverse LGBT community. As a Transgender woman and President of Lori Fox Diversity/Business Consulting, Lori works as a diversity/business consultant and personal coach, consulting with individuals and corporations on workplace issues, in particular, Transgender workplace issues.