As a board certified physician in the pharmaceutical industry, Dana Pizzuti has not only seen herself climb the ladder to be a Senior VP, but in the process she has also become her true self, transitioning on the job over 3 years ago to fully live as the woman she has always known herself to be. During that time, she has not only continued to be recognized for her work, but she has also become an outspoken advocate for transgender people, particularly as it regards access to healthcare and employment rights.
“Members of the LGBTQ community are entitled to the same rights and privileges as all other Americans and can and do make important contributions to society,” she said.
In addition to her professional life, Dana is also a proud wife, mother, and stepmother. She has two grown children from a previous marriage — financial executive Nick and Loyola University economics major Sofia, and has been married to her current wife Stella for almost 3 years, becoming stepmother to Stella’s daughter Delaney, a soon to be high school graduate who will attend school for computer animation, and 14-year-old Hayden, a member of his high school’s varsity golf team.
As a parent who is transgender, Dana is aware that her identity is viewed through different lenses by both sets of children, and she has come to accept that.
“For my own children, to whom I was a father for most of their lives, I can’t really say that I feel like a mother to them,” she said. “The fact remains that they also still ha
ve their real mother, so I don’t expect them to call me Mom…but I do ask they call me Dana in public. In reality, I will still always be their Dad and I am okay with that. F
or my stepchildren, who have only known me as Dana and seen me throughout my transition, I feel much more like a stepmom to them. Regardless of my gender identifier, I try to be the best parent I can be to all of our kids.”
By sharing her story and being an advocate, including alongside the National Center for Transgender Equality, Dana hopes to speak to those who may not see the issue of discrimination against LGBTQ people as a prevalent issue, even though it 31 states still lack comprehensive protections from discrimination in housing, employment, or public spaces for LGBTQ people. She has also written a book, Transitioning in the Workplace, A Guidebook for transgender employees, families, co-workers, and HR departments in order to assist and educate about the transition process at work. It will be available in September.
“It is crucial for LGBTQ persons to be able to live their lives authentically and without fear of harassment or discrimination either with respect to employment, health care, and access to public places,” she said. “Research has shown that diversity is important to success of businesses and other social groups; having representation from the LGBTQ community is an essential component of diversity.”
This story was produced in collaboration with the National Center for Transgender Equality. Learn more here: www.transequality.org