The Cost of Exclusion

28 Aug

You may have heard/read about/seen the kafuffel about the transfather who breastfeeds his child and who wanted to be a La Leche League Canada Leader – and who was told “no”.

La Leche League Canada (LLLC) is an organization that advocates  breastfeeding. The “no” was because Trevor McDonald  does not identify as a mother, and therefore it would be “difficult for him to represent LLL philosophy”.

Interestingly, his “non-mother” status did not prevent him from becoming a member of LLLC in his hometown of Winnipeg,  from receiving support, and from being welcomed there with open arms. But attempting  leadership, I suppose, brings out a different side.

Ah, the challenges of sharing power…

Trevor’s hope (according to the article in Metro last Monday) was to “coach LGBTQ members and those who struggle, like he did, to breastfeed after chest reduction surgery”. Sounds like a niche market to me, and one which would benefit from a leader with personal experience and awareness – and a safe place to talk about specific issues other parents may not be facing. Sounds like a golden opportunity to reach out to a specific group, acknowledge that there are some differences, and provide support in a “culturally competent” way.

One cost of exclusion is missed opportunity.

If La Leche League Canada could see beyond the word “mother” to the diversity of parenting breastfeeding experiences that now exist, they would embrace Trevor and his vision of reaching out to  communities that currently may not feel safe or welcome to join. In so doing, La Leche League Canada would fulfill it’s mandate of advocating breastfeeding even more, and further their vision.

If your vision is clear, then embracing diversity and inclusion can only make it stronger, because you will include people and perspectives (and therefore ideas and actions) that you never dreamed of when you started. And you will go further.

See more.

copyright 2012 Annemarie Shrouder
Speaker, author and facilitator on issues of diversity and inclusion.


One Response to “The Cost of Exclusion”

  1. Frances Olsen August 28, 2012 at 4:13 pm #

    Well said! Fran

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