Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging
I have advocated for inclusive and diverse perspectives in research design since I entered research training over 10 years ago. I am committed to outreach in active involvement of minoritized and underrepresented community members in research and education. By research involvement, it is through reaching out to our community partners, asking for their involvement in the study design stage (i.e., questionnaire creation and validation analysis), and acknowledging them as collaborators in research. Researchers call this action: Community-based Participatory Research (CBPR); an illustration can be found on the AASPIRE website in using CBPR with autistic self-advocates. Lastly, education involvement includes curriculum design and community partnership in DEIB content-specific trainings and ensure pay for our community partners' work.
As a first generation academic at the undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral levels, a second-generation Vietnamese American, and autistic mother of neurotypical and neurodivergent children, DEIB in research and in academia are issues important to me as a person who identifies as a minority with intersectional identities. I make it my mission to strengthen representation of minoritized groups and intersectionality in research using CBPR and in academia and by supporting minoritized students in their career development and research training.
Diversity: the quality or state of having many different forms, types, ideas, etc.; the state of having people who are different races or who have different cultures in a group or organization
Neurodiversity: individual differences in brain functioning regarded as normal variations within the human population; the concept that differences in brain functioning within the human population are normal and that brain functioning that is not neurotypical should not be stigmatized
Note: A resource guide on neurodiversity and science made by neurodivergent scientists for the broader scientific community organized by the Scientist Action and Advocacy Network (see this link ScAAN.net).
Neurodivergent: differing in mental or neurological function from what is considered typical or normal (frequently used with reference to autistic spectrum disorders); not neurotypical.
Neurotypical: not displaying or characterized by autistic or other neurologically atypical patterns of thought or behavior.
Equity: fairness or justice in the way people are treated
Inclusion: the act of including; the state of being included; the act or practice of including students with disabilities with the general student population
Racism: prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against a person or people on the basis of their membership in a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that is a minority or marginalized
Anti-racism: the policy or practice of opposing racism and promoting racial tolerance
Sexual orientation: a person's sexual identity or self-identification as bisexual, straight, gay, pansexual, etc.
Sexuality: capacity for sexual feelings; a person's identity in relation to the gender or genders to which they are typically attracted; sexual orientation; sexual activity
Sexism: prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex
Biological sex: either of two major forms of individuals that occur in many species and that are distinguished respectively as female or male especially on the basis of their reproductive organs and structures
Note: Definition above is from Merriam-Webster Dictionary. There are, however, more than 2 biological sexes based on karyotype (sex chromosome variations). Examples are individuals with a single X chromosome (Turner's), an individual with XXY chromosomes (Klinefelter), an individual with XYY, etc. For a detailed essay on sex chromosomes and intersex classifications, see this link to an article by David Andrew Griffiths.
*Sex assigned at birth: the sex that a doctor or midwife uses to describe a child at birth based on their external anatomy
***Gender: Gender refers to the characteristics of women, men, girls and boys that are socially constructed. This includes norms, behaviours and roles associated with being a woman, man, girl or boy, as well as relationships with each other. As a social construct, gender varies from society to society and can change over time.
Note: See this link to the World Health Organization for a more detailed description of gender and health.
*Cisgender: a term used to describe a person whose gender identity aligns with those typically associated with the sex assigned to them at birth
**Transgender: an individual who identifies as a gender different from the sex assigned at birth
*Non-binary: an adjective describing a person who does not identify exclusively as a man or a woman. Non-binary can also be used as an umbrella term for someone who identifies as agender, bigender, genderqueer, or gender-fluid.
Note: For more definitions to help with understanding LGBTQIA terminologies, see the Glossary from this link to the Human Rights Campaign.
LGBTQIA: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning (one's sexual or gender identity), intersex, and asexual/aromantic/agender
Homophobia: irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or gay people
Transphobia: dislike of or prejudice against transgender people
NOTE: This is not a comprehensive list of definitions on human sexuality and LGBTQIA terminologies. Links above provide additional terminologies and definitions as well as guidelines in approaching conversations about human sexuality and LGBTQIA terminologies. Definitions above will vary by sources, and it is recommended to consult multiple reputable sources on community standards. Reputable sources are locally/nationally/internationally- recognized agencies/organizations/institutions where stakeholders (e.g., individuals who identify as LGBTQIA, family members, researchers) contributed to community standards of definitions and practices. When speaking with individuals, it is recommended to ask the person their preferred identity as a sign of respect and kindness, especially in using their preferred identity and pronouns.
Sources: Merriam-Webster Dictionary; Oxford Languages (access date November 9, 2021)
*Glossary from this link to the Human Rights Campaign (access date March 23, 2022)
**Glossary from this to the Gender Spectrum organization (access date March 23, 2022)
***Glossary from the World Health Organization (access date March 23, 2022)
Person-first language: puts the person before the disability and describes what a person has, not who a person is (i.e., individuals with disabilities, person with a disability, children with disabilities; link: Office of Disability Rights)
Identity-first language: emphasizes that the disability plays a role in who the person is, and reinforces disability as a positive cultural identifier (i.e., autistic person, deaf person, blind person, disabled person; link: Association of University Centers on Disabilities)
*Disorder: an abnormal physical or mental condition
*Disability: a physical, mental, cognitive, or developmental condition that impairs, interferes with, or limits a person's ability to engage in certain tasks or actions or participate in typical daily activities and interactions
*Ability: possession of the means or skill to do something; talent, skill, or proficiency in a particular area
*Developmental disability: any of various conditions (such as autistic spectrum condition, cerebral palsy, intellectual disability, blindness, or fragile X syndrome) that usually become apparent during infancy or childhood and are marked by delayed development or functional limitations especially in learning, language, communication, cognition, behavior, socialization, or mobility
Note: Other developmental disabilities include but not limited to attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder, hearing loss, learning disability (e.g., dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, auditory processing, language processing, nonverbal), vision impairment, speech and language disability.
*Intellectual disability: mild to severe impairment in intellectual ability equivalent to an IQ of 70 to 75 or below that is accompanied by significant limitations in social, practical, and conceptual skills (as in interpersonal communication, reasoning, or self-care) necessary for independent daily functioning and that has an onset before age 18
*Mental illness: any of a broad range of medical conditions (such as major depression, schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder, or panic disorder) that are marked primarily by sufficient disorganization of personality, mind, or emotions to impair normal psychological functioning and cause marked distress or disability and that are typically associated with a disruption in normal thinking, feeling, mood, behavior, interpersonal interactions, or daily functioning
Note: Other mental illnesses include but not limited to anxiety disorders, personality disorders, eating disorders, trauma-related disorders, substance abuse disorders.
Chronic illness: conditions that last a year or more and require ongoing medical attention and/or limit activities of daily living (e.g., heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, asthma, arthritis; link: Frontiers in Public Health)
*Immunocompromised: having an immune system impaired or weakened (as by drugs or illness; i.e., those with HIV/AIDS, cancer, congenital agammaglobulinemia, or taking immunosuppressive drugs, or a person with an organ or bone marrow transplant)
*Immunosuppressed: suppressed immune response or to suppress immune response
*Autoimmune illness: conditions of, relating to, or caused by autoantibodies or T cells that attack molecules, cells, or tissues of the organism producing them (e.g., alopecia areata, inflammatory bowel disease, lupus, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis)
Ableism: discrimination in favor of able-bodied people
Ageism: prejudice or discrimination on the grounds of a person's age
NOTE: This is not a comprehensive list of definitions on disabilities terminologies. Links above provide additional terminologies and definitions as well as guidelines in approaching conversations about disabilities terminologies. Definitions above will vary by sources, and it is recommended to consult multiple reputable sources on community standards. Reputable sources are locally/nationally/internationally- recognized agencies/organizations/institutions where stakeholders (e.g., individuals who identify as disabled/with a disability, family members, researchers) contributed to community standards of definitions and practices. When speaking with individuals, it is recommended to ask the person their preferred identity as a sign of respect and kindness, especially in using their preferred identity.
*Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary; Oxford Languages (access date February 12, 2022)
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
"The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, State and local government, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation, and telecommunications and applies to the United States Congress."
"An individual with a disability is defined by the ADA as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment. The ADA does not specifically name all of the impairments that are covered."
For a complete read of the ADA laws and regulations, see ADA.gov link, which include information:
Title I: Employment
Title II: State and Local Government Activities
Title III: Public Transportation and Public Accommodations
Title IV: Telecommunications Relay Services
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
The IDEA law states, "Disability is a natural part of the human experience and in no way diminishes the right of individuals to participate in or contribute to society. Improving educational results for children with disabilities is an essential element of our national policy of ensuring equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for individuals with disabilities."
Learn more about educational rights of students with disabilities by visiting this link to the U.S. Department of Education website.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
According to USLegal link, "The Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972 is the act which gives the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) authority to sue in federal courts when it finds reasonable cause to believe that there has been employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. In the case of public employment, the EEOC refers the matter to the United States Attorney General to bring the lawsuit. The Act prohibits employment discrimination in its programs on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, and marital or familial status. Added as an amendment to Title VII , it expands the protection of Title VII to public and private employers with 15 or more employees, both public and private labor organizations with at least 15 members, and employment agencies."
For a complete read of the EEOC laws and regulations, see EEOC.gov link, which include information:
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Pregnancy Discrimination Act
Equal Pay Act of 1963
Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967
Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
Sections 102 and 103 of the Civil Rights Act of 1991
Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) Discrimination
SOGI anti-discrimination: "The law forbids sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment. "
Know your rights. Visit this link to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) website to learn more about LGBTQIA rights.
Title IX and Sex Discrimination
"No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance. Title IX applies to schools, local and state educational agencies, and other institutions that receive federal financial assistance from the Department."
For a complete read of Title IX laws and regulations, see U.S. Department of Education link.