It’s a challenge to find someone who is leading and guiding Charter’s corporate culture more than Dziedzic. He collaborated with colleagues in Corporate Learning to develop Charter’s first inclusion training program, a behavior-based education course that received all five-star ratings from participants. He also stepped up during the pandemic to transform the Charter Inclusion Talks initiative, and his efforts led to a more than four-fold increase in attendance. Dziedzic has felt euphoric in recent days not about any one instance of representation in media, but the multiplication of fully dimensional LGBTQ+ main characters across television. “In times like these, it is more important than ever to show the world that the LGBTQ+ community exists in every dimension of life—in every color, gender, ability and age,” he says. “We’re here, we always have been… get used to it.”
What is the state of LGBTQ+ representation in media? Positive representation of the LGBTQ+ community has been increasing steadily over the years, which has helped contribute to wider acceptance of the community across the globe. It has also provided our community with an opportunity to showcase ourselves in all our diversity. But there is still work to do. Many representations, while positive, often have stereotypical character traits and don’t necessarily include the breadth of diversity within the LGBTQ+ community. In order for our lives to be portrayed in authentic and meaningful ways, that work needs to continue behind the scenes as well.
Advice for allies on how to show up for their LGBTQ+ colleagues? I think being open is step one and that is a skill that takes some courage to adopt. Being open to your LGBTQ+ colleagues – or any colleague– helps to foster a culture where inclusion can thrive. Understanding is also an important part of showing up: understanding the experiences of colleagues who may be different from you and understanding the journey of LGBTQ+ colleagues can help you take action when the time is right. Perhaps most importantly, make your allyship apparent. Step up when it’s appropriate, and speak out when it’s the right thing to do. These are some ways to make sure your colleagues know that you don’t just ‘accept’ them, but that you will show up when it is most important.
Favorite media milestone moment in LGBTQ+ history? There are so many it is difficult to narrow it down to just one. I think back on Billy Crystal’s pioneering character on “Soap” – a real character with texture, and a life. Or Ellen’s coming out on her sitcom – a beloved character being her authentic self and the show’s portrayal of the fear of coming out. Or TV’s first gay kiss on “Will and Grace.” These all had a huge impact on the visibility of the LGBTQ+ community. Perhaps my favorite milestone isn’t just one moment but rather the more recent portrayal of LGBTQ+ people as fully dimensional main characters, highlighting our community in all its wonderful diversity in shows like “Special,” “Pose” or “Love, Victor.” In times like these, it is more important than ever to show the world that the LGBTQ+ community exists in every dimension of life – in every color, gender, ability and age. We’re here, we always have been… get used to it.