Working in DEI can be difficult.
I'm sure the other DEI consultants that I know would agree.
It's tiring to see your identity misrepresented, stereotyped, discriminated against and more. It's tiring not to see your identity represented at all.
My interest in DEI only started a couple of years ago. I was very naïve, thinking that I wanted to represent everyone - and I wasn't confident of how to do it. Because, like everyone else, my lived experience is limited.
I think this is why I've started to concentrate on the LGBTQIA+ community. And also because it's extremely frustrating to think that in 2023, there is virtually no representation in ELT coursebooks.
Saying that, I don't have lived experience of all identities under the LGBTQIA+ umbrella. But I can support them.
I have some lived experience of mental health problems.
On my website, it states that I'm interested in those two areas as well as disability and neurodiversity. I'm interested in those because I have close family members with lived experience.
Yes, I can point out where I think there's racism or overwhelming whiteness on a page. But I don't have the lived experience to be able to fully understand.
This is why it's important to hire experts with lived experience. Use your privilege to help amplify voices. People are not an expert without lived experience.
DEI will always be difficult. But with the support of colleagues, it's bearable.