MANAGEMENT CONSULTANT & CORPORATE ACTIVIST
CELIA SANDHYA DANIELS
CELIA SANDHYA DANIELS IS A MANAGEMENT CONSULTANT AND CORPORATE ACTIVIST FOR THE TRANS, GENDER EXPANSIVE AND INTERSEX COMMUNITY
You are the Management Consultant and Corporate activist for the Trans, Gender expansive and Intersex (TGI) community based in Los Angeles. What do these roles involve?
I have established businesses across the globe and managed portfolios worth millions for 20-plus years in the corporate industry.
After I decided to come out in my preferred gender as Celia, it wasn’t easy finding a job at the same level. Unfortunately, when women were struggling at leadership levels within the company, here I was, a gender non-binary, trans woman of colour trying to find my purpose and value in the corporate world. I was offered junior positions or blue collar jobs in various companies, undermining my experience as a professional.
That’s when I decided to start my own company (Rebekon Consulting LLC rebekon.com ) and provide management and business strategy consulting for Healthcare and Pharmaceutical companies. As a corporate activist I educate companies and help change their fundamental culture at the policy level to provide a safe space for the TGI employees and jobseekers.
What is your background and how did you involved in the trans, gender expansive and Intersex communities?
However progressive these organisations are, most TGI professionals still feel alienated, misunderstood and undermined at work. Unfortunately, top-down approach of inclusivity doesn’t percolate down to every level within the organisation. Employees are generally accepting or at least tolerant towards LGBTQ+ professionals. But let’s face it, workplace bias still exists, either consciously or unconsciously. A recent HRC study reported that 53% of LGBTQ workers have heard jokes about gay or lesbian folks at least once in a while at work.
For a long time the acronym “LGBT” has been missing the “T” and the “I”. Why is it so important that these letters should now be included?
These acronyms are evolving based on education and awareness. Bottomline is based on the recent article in USA Today: 7.1% of the adults in the US identify as LGBTQ. As the numbers increase there is so much of backlash to the TGI community. There are more than 220 anti-transgender bills that would greatly impact the LGBTQ community – most focused on school curriculums, healthcare, workplace and sports. We need to work together as a community to support each other and bring changes at the policy level in our country.
TGI employees face immense gender dysphoria, implicit discrimination and bias within their own departments. It might come in the form of offensive comments or plain misgendering which takes a constant toll on their mental and physical health.
What more needs to be done, and what challenges does the Trans, Gender expansive and Intersex community face which their LGB and Ally friends may not face?
I created a Trans ecosystem for an organisation called translatinacoalition in Los Angeles that captures the challenges that the TGI community faces from the cradle to grave. Systemic discrimination can rock the entire universe of TGI individuals. Needless to say, they go through bullying, unemployment, homelessness, poverty, incarceration, mental health and violence, in some form or the other in their lives.
(Go to: translatinacoalition.org/trans-gnc-ecosystem)
The Trans Policy Agenda seeks to expand our understanding of TGI people’s experiences and opportunities to create a healthy and larger ecosystem in humanity.
In personal or professional matters, what has been your proudest achievement?
From a professional standpoint I am proud of the business successes that I had in my career. Recently I was able to educate and change a 30-year-old billion dollar organisation to onboard gender non-binary individuals in the workplace. This was a huge challenge from a compliance standpoint but they made it happen.
Besides that, I received the 2019 Human Rights Campaign’s equality award for“Outstanding commitment and service to our community”.
I also serve on the Executive Board for Trans Can Work( transcanwork.org ), an organisation that focuses on Economic Empowerment for the Transgender and Gender Non-Binary community in North America.I am also the VP of Stonewall Democrats to bring awareness and meaningful change at the policy level in our county.
I also help organisations like Sahodari Foundation in India founded by Dr Kalki Subramaniam, who is a trans trailblazer in South Asia. ( sahodari.org )
What’s a typical day in the life of Celia Sandhya Daniels?
As Kimberley Williams Crenshaw, an American lawyer and civil rights advocate rightly said, “The future is NOT women but Intersectional Identities.”
Besides being an entrepreneur and corporate/community activist, I am a parent of a 22-year-old daughter and have been married to a beautiful woman for 25 years now. Family is an integral part of my journey.
I love photography and film-making. As a song writer and composer, I have written songs to empower the transgender community. I love hiking and snorkeling with my family.
Growing up as a lonely closeted trans child in a conservative middle class Christian home in Southern India, I write and speak passionately about my inner struggles, gender dysphoria and social challenges that I faced in my family, work, school and community both in the US and India.