HW Pride hosts Zoom with gender consultant


Illustration By Sydney Fener

Iona Lee

Senior Director for Professional Development at Gender Spectrum Joel Baum spoke in a Zoom webinar hosted by the HW Parents Association (HWPA) and HW Pride after school Dec. 6. Gender Spectrum is a consulting company that meets with educators, parents, leaders and others to help create sensitive and inclusive environments for children of all genders and ages, according to its website.

Baum opened a discussion around gender diversity by speaking about the prominence of stereotypes in society. Baum said gender is individualistic as everyone considers their own, therefore it is a very broad topic that affects everyone in society.

“Many of the systems, policies and informal interactions often occur with assumptions about an individual’s gender and typically operate from a binary view of gender as strictly biological and static,” said Baum. “This has huge implications on how individuals are treated regardless of their gender, and many of the limited notions of masculinity and femininity associated with a binary model create harm and distress for many people of all genders.”

HW Pride member Phil Mercado (Blue Mercado-Quinn ’23 ), who helped arrange the event, said he was eager to have Baum speak to the school community.

“Gender Spectrum usually doesn’t interface with families but rather they do a number of programs for those involved in education,” said Mercado. “I reached out to them after speaking to Crossroads and Viewpoint and told [Gender Spectrum] that we really wanted to hear this program and we would include not only parents and students but faculty and staff. That convinced them to agree to do this program with us [Dec. 6].”

HW Pride member Vanessa Herman (Simone Herman ’23 ) said the event was educational.

“Despite being a member of the LGBTQ community myself, I am still learning about the expansiveness of gender,” said Herman. “Terms like nonbinary weren’t common when I was a teenager and the lives and experiences of transgender people were not commonly talked about. [Baum] recognized that some in the audience were somewhat new to the topic and presented a program in which the experiences of trans people and their families were treated with warmth, dignity and respect. It gave me a lot to think about and I hope it will help me better support the trans people in my life.”