Big thanks and congratulations to Inclusive Leader, Ayodele Moffett, for co-writing “The Alphabet Community: Who We Are and What We Need From You” recently published in The International Journal for Direct Support Professionals, Volume 8, Issue 2 by Dave Hingsburger, Virginia Jahyu, Luke Lynn, and Ayodele Moffett.
“The Alphabet Community” article clearly defines the diversity of identities within the LGBT+ community with a comprehensive glossary of terms. “The idea that a community aims to be one community built out of many communities is kind of beautiful don’t you think?” (p. 1). The glossary is a back drop for a treasure trove of practical information for Inclusive Leaders every where no matter where we are on our life-long learning curves embracing our own and others’ diversity with connection, compassion, creativity and courage. Although the main audience for this article is professionals who are paid to support people with disabilities, this article is a valuable resource for anyone in any kind of a support role (such as parent, teacher, care-giver, service provider, counsellor) and is a valuable tool for self advocates, advocates and allies everywhere.
“Yes, knowing what the words mean is important, but treating the people who identify with any of these words with respect and even tenderness is more important. This is particularly true when you are the power in a power-based relationship. Who you are matters, what you do, and what you say matters. You have the power to not only hurt but destroy and, therefore, you need to recognize some moments for what they are – a test of your character and your capacity for compassion.” (p. 3)
Reading “The Alphabet Community” article will provide informative, practical and thought provoking answers to these complicated questions:
What do you do when you are told or are asked to support someone who is out or comes out?
What might be going on and what do you do when no one in a group or an organization seems to be a member of the LGBTQ+ community?
Each specific piece of advice in this article is essential reading. Here is the link once again to:
“The Alphabet Community: Who We Are and What We Need From You”
In summary: “Our job is to create community. We know that. But sometimes we need to recognize that there is more than one community. People with disabilities are a diverse community. We are all the same because we are all different. Disability, however, means that, because of your need for
the help of another, your life can become one where you never feel really safe to be who you
really are. It’s our job as DSPs to ensure that, around each one of us, we communicate the
simple message: “We won’t hurt you.” And then. We don’t.” (p 6).
Ayodele Moffet’s leadership in building inclusive and welcoming communities began with her diverse life experiences growing up in Toronto as a child of first generation Canadians from Guyana. Ayodele’s passion for this work is fueled by her identity as a lesbian and over a decade of experience working with children, adolescents and adults who live with diverse intellectual and physical disabilities including: Autism Spectrum Disorder, Pervasive Developmental Disorders, Mental Health concerns and Addictions. Ayodele holds a diploma in Law Enforcement and a bachelor’s degree in Behavioural Science. Ayodele became involved in Inclusive Leadership while living and working on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada almost a decade ago now. What a gift to the Inclusive Leadership Co-operative that she has stayed in touch since moving back to Toronto where she is currently working as a Behavioural Therapist with Vita Community Living Services.