Hello Charter Family! 

For those who don't know much about me, my name is Felipe, I'm the marketing director at the Charter. I'm a Millennial, queer, and really happy to identify as one. During this pride month, I've been thinking about what to share with all of you, our readers, to bring more awareness of issues that pertain to the LGBTQ+ community and see how compassion can move us to take action to bring equality and safety to the marginalized community I love to which I belong.

I think the pride flag reflects so well how diverse and multicolored we are. Lesbians, Bisexuals, Gays, Transgenders, Queers, people Questioning, and the + show that there are so many more letters that could be included in this abbreviation such as intersex, and asexual. All those gender identities exist and have become more visible as people explore and question who they are and what they feel.

I've been fascinated by the generation right after mine, Gen-Z, or "Zillennials" as some people call them. These are people born between 1997 to 2012, so at this time, ages 10-25. Millennials took on being more curious and louder than the previous generation (Gen-X) when it comes to sexuality, but Gen-Z's have been especially critical in the process of questioning the binary and the systems we have grown up with that tell us that there are only two options: Man or Woman, Black or White, when in reality more and more we realize that we belong to a spectrum and that there are more genders than just male or female, and that we are a range of grays and colors. For some people this might be challenging to understand, and that's okay because we have been raised in oppressive systems that have shaped how we think and see the world; patriarchy, colonialism, capitalism. But it is important to realize that there's more and we should embrace the change. (Remember nothing is more constant in this life than change!)

Perhaps you read or heard about a new study from the Pew Research Center that came out with this past week indicating that 1 in every 20 Americans under 30 years of age identifies as trans or non-binary. That's 5% of that population which equals to 1.6% of adults in the U.S. You can read the whole research article here

You probably also know that some people now use they/them pronouns instead of he or she, with the goal to show that there's more than the binary we have grown up with.

In 2019, the word of the year for Merriam-Webster was "They," "noting that the tiny, unassuming word had undergone a rather radical transformation in usage in recent years — and found itself at the heart of some wide-ranging cultural conversations in the process.

"English famously lacks a gender-neutral singular pronoun to correspond neatly with singular pronouns like everyone or someone, and as a consequence they has been used for this purpose for over 600 years," the dictionary publisher explained in a statement.

"More recently, though, they has also been used to refer to one person whose gender identity is nonbinary, a sense that is increasingly common in published, edited text, as well as social media and in daily personal interactions between English speakers." Click here for Source

It's definitely been a time of change and questioning, and joyful in learning more and finding out more regarding the depths of our existence and experience on this Earth. However, not surprisingly, I see how much of society tends to resist change, and while many of these discoveries are coming through the old fabric we call society, there's an equal or bigger force to erase or slow down change and progress.

In many countries, and especially here in the US, multiple attempts have been made to create legislation banning trans people from playing sports, or that determine who can use which bathroom, eliminating critical medical care to someone in need of it, simply because they don't identify as a either man or a woman.

Will you help to create more openness and compassion in your communities when it comes to this new rising generation that identifies as something other than man or woman? This generation speaks out loud about embracing these changes. I'm sure that there are many people in older generations who would have identified as non-binary, using they/them pronouns, had they been born in a time during which this was available to them.

For me, compassion is about creating the safety to explore who we are, learn more about ourselves without judgment, and be supported and welcomed by our communities.

For many of you, using they/them pronouns might be confusing, or a chore, or dumb. However, if your child, your grandson, your sibling, your friend, or someone you love needed this, challenged the status quo like this generation, would you see it as an annoying task?

It hasn't been that long since same sex relationships were unaccepted in society, illegal and even criminal. Look at the progress we've made. It came about by creating more safety, better legislation and legal protections, and by the courage of people who identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual, who would not be silenced, that our point of view and acceptance in society changed.


During this pride month, and the rest of the year I would like to challenge you to be a more compassionate person by doing the following:

  1. If there is a legislative effort to create laws against trans people in your region, state or country, – Please! Call your representatives and let them know you are against that. We may try to host and cultivate safe spaces for everyone, but this type of legislation is toxic and has been proven to result in many more youth suicides, youths living with depression, and anxiety and self-deprecation. Surely, none of us want our loved ones who might identify as trans or non-binary to feel unsafe or considering leaving this experience we call life at a young age because of suicide. This is important. This is Compassion.

  2. Embrace using they/them as pronouns. I know this is a very confusing point for many. It has been for me too but I continue working on it. The more we train ourselves to use them, the easier it becomes, just like any new habit and this is a great one to adopt. A wonderful way to begin conversations, especially introductions are to let people know what your preferred pronouns are: "Hi, my name is Felipe. My pronouns are He/His/Him" – "Hi my name is Mary and I use She/they pronouns". In your online communications via meetings, social media, or even email signatures, add your pronouns at the end of your name, like "Felipe Zurita (he/his) Marketing Director Charter for Compassion." It allows people to feel safe to use they/them pronouns and makes it easier for you to know how others want to be referred to. Creating safety in any situation is important. This is Compassion.

  3. Get to know more people that are different from you. Especially trans/non-binary people. Younger generations are eager to share more about their journey. But you have to ask. Embrace change, embrace questioning and let this process help you grow as a more compassionate person. It feels good, and it is important and it is Compassion in action.

  4. Money talks: Do you do business with companies that are publicly against the LGBTQ+ community? Or, do you spend money at businesses that fund political campaigns of candidates involved in creating anti-trans legislation? Stop funding them. Money is our loudest voice.

I hope that not only this month, but all year long we celebrate each other. Let's not wait for Pride to think of our LGBTQ+ siblings. Let's not wait for designated months to remember to celebrate marginalized communities. The more marginalized we are, the more divided we become and the less safe and well we are as a whole.

Commit to our journey in Compassion, and growing pains are GREAT--it makes us feel our growth. We got this.

With love,

Felipe 


If you feel like supporting the Charter and want to do some online shopping looking for some PRIDE things,
check out the Pride collection in our online store here.


This message from Felipe Zurita, Marketing and Social Media Director of the Charter for Compassion, appears in our 6/18/2022 weekly newsletter. To sign up for our newsletter, scroll all the way down to the end of this page to get to the bottom menu; in the newsletter section, enter your email address and click on subscribe.