This was an absolutely INCREDIBLE meeting! We had Adrien Lawyer from the Transgender Resource Center of NM provide an extremely insightful training for us! I want to express my gratitude to you all for giving an extra hour of your time for this opportunity. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did! If you weren't able to attend, don’t worry I can guarantee he will be joining us again.
Our announcements yesterday were 1. Next week we will be planning the Core Team meeting as well as brainstorming how we can honor National Youth Homelessness Awareness Month!
2. There has been a hiccup with the fliers and I am doing my best to resolve it. My sincere apologies for the delay.
3. Last week Forrest told us he will be presenting at the PED Community of Practice Meeting and invited us to present in this space so he reached out to the facilitator and they loved the idea and would like us to present in December! Here is a poll to determine which day we will be presenting! PLEASE ANSWER! https://forms.gle/ymSmK9Wq9ZQYyRkk6
Adrien provided a plethora of information but I will do my best to recap. First lets go over some of the awesome things TGCRNM does. They have a drop-in center where they provide food, case management, bus passes, HIV testing, support groups and more! They can assist with legal name changes and changing the gender displayed on your ID and birth certificate. They are also major advocates that work towards changing laws and policies to be more inclusive and fair!
We went over the difference between sex and gender. Sex has to do with your body(chromosomes, gamets and gonads) where as gender is how you feel internally. Gender expression is how you choose to present yourself. We discussed intersex individuals and the fact that being intersex is as common as having red hair! This super cool video was shared https://www.buzzfeed.com/watch/video/4847.Adrien talked to us about gender stereotypes as well and how they can be damaging to young people but are also really hard to avoid.
A common misconception about transgender kids is that they are receiving intensive medical attention at a young age. That is simply not true If a child expresses they are transgender, professionals recommend you simply refer to the child by the name/pronouns they prefer and allow them to dress in the clothes they feel comfortable in. No one is trying to prescribe hormones or surgeries to children. Another misconception is that being transgender is a new concept. However there are words in ancient languages to describe this occurrence. It is not that there are more transgender people now but rather that more people are willing to admit they are transgender because society is more accepting of them now. Back in the day people were ridiculed for being left handed and during that time very few people reported being left handed now that there is no stigma around it the numbers have gone up, the same is happening in the transgender community!
Being transgender is not a linear experience. Some people experience physical gender dysphoria and desire hormone treatment and surgeries and some are comfortable with their bodies the way they are simply change their gender expression.
Because of this it is inappropriate to ask a transgender individual when they are getting surgery or starting treatment. It is okay to wonder if someone has had surgery but don’t ask people about their genitals. Genitals have nothing to do with gender.
Non binary people are often grouped in with transgender individuals and while they are both fighting for similar rights they are not the same. Non binary people are people whose gender identity doesn't sit comfortably with 'man' or 'woman'. Non-binary identities are varied and can include people who identify with some aspects of binary identities, while others reject them entirely.
Remember that language matters! It can be difficult to integrate new language into your vocabulary and it is okay to make mistakes. But if you accidentally misgender or dead name someone please try to acknowledge the mistake, apologize, correct yourself and move on. A Lot of people struggle with this in reference to using the they/them pronoun. Some say “it’s not grammatically correct” however the singular they has been used for centuries by prolific writers such as William Shakespeare and even if it wasn’t grammatically correct, grammar is not more important than people. People are deeply impacted by misgendering and deadnaming and you can help them feel comfortable and confident so why wouldn’t you?
Again this is just the tip of the iceberg! If you have any questions please please send them my way so I can send them to Adrien and share his answers with you all. If you would like to bring this training to your work, school, church or anywhere please contact Adrien! He is awesome and kind and would love to educate wherever possible. Below is a list of links shared during the meeting as well as his contact information