I offer a number of options for training seminars and conference presentations. These are always customised to fit the needs of the organisation and available time. There are common themes and some elements that should be included wherever possible and I call these “Essential Elements”. These are listed below along with some suggested optional topics.
The Transgender Spectrum is complex. This module looks at the range and variation of people who identify in one way or another as Transgender. An important aspect of this is to realise that there are many misconceptions that come from media coverage of trans people. The variables of gender, sexuality and other aspects are explored and explained.
To some extent this module tries to categorise the trans world. This is necessarily arbitrary given the huge range of people involved and an ever changing vocabulary in common use.
Questions and Answers
Sometimes people have all sorts of questions that they would like to be able to ask someone who is trans. But perhaps they don’t dare to or feel that it would be intrusive or embarrassing. In this session participants are encouraged to ask these questions openly.
What is it like to be Trans
Although each individual is different and has their own experiences we can look at some common themes found in transgender people. Worries and fears that are commonly held can be explored. Aspects such as purging and dangerous behaviours as well as some insight into the daily reality of various types of people. Importantly this topic includes the impact of depression and despair that is common in people who are coming to terms with their own identity.
Motivations and desires can also be looked at here. For some who have a very strong feeling of being trapped in the wrong body this may be clear. But in fact there are many other common drivers for gender identity issues.
Coming out and exposing yourself as trans is one of the most difficult things someone can do. Rejection by close friends and family members is common. Risks of losing your loved ones, your job and your home are high. Each person will come out in a different way and it is important to look at how this affects both the individual and those around them.
Being Trans in Public
Exposing yourself to public situations as your chosen gender is a very big thing. Many will never feel that they can do it whilst others find that they must do so. What are the difficulties that are experienced and how does that leave someone feeling?
Being Trans at work
One of the biggest issues in a transgender person’s personal journey can be that of presenting at work in the gender of their choice. This usually means that they can no longer control who they are seen by. Prejudice and difficulties can surface at any time from colleagues, managers, customers and clients.
This aspect can be customised to fit the particular needs of an organisation. It looks at common areas of perceived difficulty. Questions about how a trans individual is seen by different interest groups are explored.
We all have relationships that are uniques to us. Spouse, children and family matters are often complex but always important. How are these relationships affected by someone being transgender?
Options and ways forward
For many it can be difficult to see how they can take their lives forward. It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that all trans people will wish to fully transition both socially and physically. But in fact this is not the case and there are other options that depend on the circumstances of that person and their own beliefs and motives.
Behave in the way of your chosen gender
As we grow up we learn to behave in the way of a particular gender. We learn spoken an explicitly stated rules about how we should behave. For transgender people this can be difficult, particularly for those who look to change later in life. Not having had the important experiences of youth where we share with friends and learn, often by mistake, make this difficult. And making mistakes in later life when presenting as a different gender can lead to difficulty or danger.
How do your staff react to trans people?
How does your team react to transgender people? This might be a reaction to a colleague who changes their presentation at work. It might be how you deal with customers and clients. What are the common pitfalls?
Remember that most trans people keep their identity secret. If there is an underlying climate of transphobia you might be affecting these people without you knowing it.