Zander Keig is a social worker, emotional wellness and personal growth webinar facilitator, mental fitness coach, and social care clinical consultant based in Central Florida. He is an advocate for mental wellbeing, LGBT veterans, and trans social care, and was named NASW National Social Worker of the Year in 2020 and NASW California Social Worker of the Year in 2018.
Our conversation starts with Zander’s childhood and a devastating bout of childhood illness that not only forced him to miss an extended period of school but delayed his development in a variety of ways requiring occupational therapy and speech therapy and an extended period of rehabilitation. This shaped him in numerous ways – leading to a resilience as well as an empathy which have been central in his career path.
Zander’s career path has been a particularly rich and varied one, including a spell in the Coast Guard, as a firefighter, EMT, in law enforcement and a drug enforcement agency. Zander’s insights from his transition are extraordinary – first he notes the “empathy gap”. While as a Latina woman he would have formerly attracted high degrees of empathy, perhaps due to perceived victim status with those particular intersections. Now as a man he sees far fewer empathic connections, which underscores perhaps the lack of embrace that men get from an emotional support perspective. We move from this to analyze the large number of men who take their own lives every year and how they are perhaps overlooked by society.
Zander’s perspectives on the “gender wars” is a fascinating one – having transitioned he found that people considered him to be a gay man, as he seemed effeminate as a man, yet masculine as a woman. Having realized that no-one wins the gender wars he decided to just stop playing.
You can find out more about Zander’s work at www.zanderkeig.net.
This series is brought to you with the kind support of Wellington Management, one of the world’s largest independent asset managers. Wellington believes in the importance of a diverse workforce, equitable opportunities for all colleagues to reach their potential, and an inclusive culture.