Sherié Hohs recognizes that she has the ability to make a huge impact in her job. Hohs, the LGBTQ+ social worker for the Madison Metropolitan School District, says, "I'm there to make sure our LGBTQ youth in schools are safe and respected and supported and embraced and included." A big part of that job is to listen to students who consider themselves lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer, or questioning their gender identity. Working with K-12 students, she educates staff about being welcoming and inclusive of all students and their families.
"We know that when we teach kids about accepting and embracing diversity, there is less bullying," Hohs says, so it's important to be proactive. When asked about what the "plus" means, Hohs says that came from the kids, who said it was important to them as they try "to figure out who they are."
Hohs is aware of how crucial her work is in light of the high rate of mental health issues for LGBTQ students. What she does, she says, is part of a larger social justice effort. "I'm a believer in equity," she says, adding that true equity "is racial equity, is LGBTQ equity, is equity for non-English speakers." This is what spurs her on in making sure all kids have the support they need to thrive.
The M List
Madison Magazine's M List is a who's who of organizations and individuals who are having an impact on our local culture and economy. In its fourth year, the M List recognizes those making strides as mentors and teachers. Last year's list of honorees were making impacts in the area of social innovation. The original M List, in 2013, honored the technology sector. The 2014 M List honored "Foodtastic" entrepreneurs and innovators.