A virtual town hall-style discussion about identity, language and gender will be held on Monday, March 22, as part of Vanderbilt’s commemoration of Women’s History Month. All members of the university community are invited to participate.
Student Access, the Office for Inclusive Excellence and the Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center will host the conversation about person-first versus identity-first language from 11 a.m. to noon CT via Zoom. Aimi Hamaraie, associate professor of medicine, heathy and society, and Claire Barnett, communication coordinator at the Frist Center for Autism and Innovation, will serve as panelists.
Conversations about identity-first language (“I am a disabled person”) versus person-first language (“I am a person who is disabled”) have long had implications for how society views disability as a lived experience. The purpose of the March 22 dialogue is to hear opinions on the language used when talking about identity within the Vanderbilt community regarding dis/abilities and gender.
The virtual event will be captioned using Otter, an AI technology. Those who need additional accommodations for the event should contact Student Access.
Vanderbilt is a member institution of the Association on Higher Education and Disability, which recently released a position statement about the use of identity-first language. Vanderbilt’s Student Access and OIE teams agree that “language is a powerful way to demonstrate values,” and input from the disability community is critical to guide language and support coming from these offices.
InclusAbility is one of several identity initiatives supported by the Provost’s Office for Inclusive Excellence with the goals of bringing awareness and understanding of the multiplicity of identities within the disability community and acknowledging the specific strengths and challenges that members of the community face.