26Health Represents on The Ted Show

by Liyya Hassanali

On June 1, 2021, staff from 26Health participated in a special Pride Month episode of The Ted Show, a popular talk show local to Orlando that features daily discussions on topics including business, the arts, community and community events, relationships, and more.

During this episode, the panel discussion focused on the importance of letters and pronouns in the LGBTQ+ community.

Panelists included:
– Debo Ofsowitz: L – Lesbian – She/Her/Hers
– ZoeZo: G – Gay – He/Him/His
– Lu Mueller-Kaul: B – Bisexual – She/Her/Hers
– Ashley Brundage: T – Transgender – She/Her/Hers
– Abel Rodriguez: T – Transgender – He/Him/His
– Jamie J. Umanzor: Q – Queer – She/Her/Hers
– Shaun Struble: Q – Queer – They/Them/Theirs
– Dr. David Baker Hargrove: N and + – Nonbinary – Ve/Ver/Vers
– Alexia James: P, D, T and + – Transgender – She/Fae

Host Ted Bogert kicked the episode off by explaining that there is often a level of confusion among the cis population about using different pronouns and letter identities, which can hamper discussions and also the understanding of these identities.

Understanding LGBTQ+ Identities

Each panelist shared their preferred pronouns and gender identities and explained why letter recognition is so important to them. Event organizer Debo (L – Lesbian, She/Her/Hers) then explained it in the simplest terms, “Each letter represents an identity. Above all, it’s part of who you are as a person. Everyone has an identity that resonates with them. For some, it’s sexuality. For others, it’s nationality, political persuasion, or color.”

Panelists were also in agreement that letters and pronouns are a way for people to harness their identity and become more comfortable with who they are as a person. In other words, they help differentiate people from their perceived peer groups, expand understanding and knowledge of the different identities and labels, empower individuals, and create opportunities for future generations.

At the end of the episode, Dr. David Baker-Hargrove (N and + – Nonbinary, Ve/Ver/Vers), co-CEO and co-founder of 26Health, explained the concept of “fluidity” regarding gender. He also explained that the field of psychology uses the concept of a continuum in nearly every aspect of personality, except for gender identity and sexuality. Said Baker-Hargrove: “Everything is on a continuum or a spectrum, from shyness to competence. It is only in the last four or five years that we have started the conversation about sexuality and gender identity being on a spectrum where we are not necessarily 100% male or female. When we talk about being gender fluid or fluidity, it’s really about having a spectrum for these identities.”

Do you know someone struggling to understand gender identification pronouns and letters, the concept of gender fluidity, or why it matters? Share this Ted Show episode with them!