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Breaking Barriers: Navigating the Journey of Gender Diversity Advocacy



As a passionate advocate for gender diversity, my journey has been shaped by a commitment to inclusivity and equality for all genders. While my identity includes a trans+ history, I do not consider myself solely a trans+ advocate. Instead, I see my role as a gender diversity advocate, championing the rights and experiences of individuals across the gender spectrum.


Alongside my advocacy, I offer consulting services to help businesses, non-profits, and other organisations navigate diversity challenges, foster inclusion, and create a more equitable workplace culture.


My advocacy journey began with a focus on women's rights, rooted in the belief that gender equality is fundamental to achieving a just and equitable society. Through my involvement with organisations such as Women's March Canada, I have advocated for feminist 4.0-centred advocacy, working to amplify the voices of women and marginalised genders in pursuing social and political change.


Expanding beyond the binary framework of gender, my advocacy work has encompassed leadership roles within the LGBTQ+ community. From my initial efforts with the Rainbow Resource Centre in Winnipeg, Canada, I have been dedicated to advancing LGBTQ+ rights and promoting greater visibility and acceptance of diverse gender and sexual identities.


In my time at Rainbow Resource Centre, I spearheaded efforts to maintain four consecutive balanced budgets while also confronting significant advocacy challenges. One notable instance involved addressing a radio personality's derogatory remarks about trans+ individuals. Following the incident, I engaged in numerous media interviews, including a nationally televised segment, to convey a simple yet powerful message: fostering allies requires more effort than cultivating adversaries, but it's a worthwhile endeavour. The radio personality declined despite extending a personal invitation for dialogue. Ultimately, his actions led to a decline in the station's advertising revenue and his contract termination due to repeated public backlash. This incident demonstrates the power of advocacy and the importance of understanding and addressing diverse perspectives within our communities.


My journey has taken on a global dimension with my board role at Outright International, a leading advocate for LGBTIQ human rights and the secretariat for the UN on LGBTIQ issues. Here, I have the privilege of engaging with an organisation working in high-level advocacy and policy dialogue, advocating for the rights and well-being of LGBTQ+ individuals on the world stage. From lobbying for inclusive policies to supporting grassroots organisations in conflict-affected regions, our work is guided by a commitment to amplifying the voices of those most marginalised within the global LGBTQ+ community.


More recently, my participation as a delegate with UN Women UK for CSW68 gave me invaluable insights into the global landscape of gender equality advocacy. Engaging with activists, policymakers, and stakeholders from around the world, I witnessed the power of cross-cultural dialogue and collaboration in advancing gender diversity and inclusion on a global scale. From advocating for gender-responsive policies to promoting economic empowerment for women and girls, our collective efforts underscored the urgency of addressing systemic barriers to gender equality.


I have embraced an intersectional approach throughout my advocacy work, recognising the interconnected nature of gender, race, class, sexuality, and other facets of identity. By centring on the experiences of marginalised communities and amplifying diverse voices, I strive to create inclusive spaces where everyone feels valued and empowered to thrive.


As a gender diversity advocate, I believe in the power of collective action to drive meaningful change. Whether through grassroots activism, policy advocacy, or international diplomacy, I am committed to working towards a world where all genders are celebrated and afforded equal rights and opportunities.


While my journey includes a trans+ identity, I see it as incidental to the broader work of promoting gender diversity and inclusion. As One Leader with Two Genders of Experience, I embrace the complexity and diversity of gender experiences to build a more just and inclusive society for everyone.

 

With over 25 years of dedicated leadership in the corporate, feminist, and LGBTQ+ realms, I possess a unique blend of strategic thinking, problem-solving, and a deep understanding of diversity and inclusion. I've helped organisations:


  • Develop inclusive policies and practices. Deliver and support gender-related language initiatives, comprehensive policy reviews, and creating language guides that support an intentional culture of inclusion.

  • Cultivate a culture of belonging. Delivering impactful training sessions and providing mentorship services for underrepresented groups.

  • Navigate complex diversity challenges with sensitivity and expertise: Review and recommend solutions to conflicts before going to a tribunal and facilitate difficult conversations on diversity topics.


Let me partner with you to create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace. Your journey towards a genuinely inclusive culture begins with a conversation. If you have any inquiries, reach out to me at cynthiafortlage@cynthiafortlage.com.



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