by Emilia Dunham
Reporting on the Transgender Inclusion within Organizations Serving the LGBT Community BrownBag Webinar on November 11th.
On November 11th, we held our Transgender Awareness Week BrownBag Webinar on Transgender Inclusion within Organizations Serving the LGBT Community with special guest co-presenters Susan Forrest and Talia Mae Bettcher. On the webinar, Susan and Talia provided great background on how the transgender community has historically, and is still often, been excluded from the LGBT community. They spoke about challenges of inclusion within the GLBT community like unique tensions that trans people experience from gays and lesbians. This is important to consider when working with the entire LGBT community since trans people may be cautious of even gay & lesbian/LGBT spaces since they feel (and often are) unwelcome in these spaces.
Talia and Susan provided some personal anecdotes that effectively illustrates their points, making the issue of transgender inclusion and sensitivity a real human issue. The two mentioned how it is important to treat transgender people as they deserve to be treated in line with their gender identities, and realize that trans people deserve the same respect as non-transgender people. For instance Susan spoke about how shocking, irritating and mortifying it was when at a trans education presentation an audience member asked the two graphic questions about their genitals. This clarified the important point in not asking blunt unnecessary questions of transgender people that most people find too personal unless in absolutely necessary (ex. It’s not considerate to ask someone whether or not they have had “the surgery” if they are looking for smoking cessation help.)
In addition to discussing how to best understand how transgender people have been excluded by the gay, lesbian and greater GLBT community as well as how to be sensitive to transgender people, Susan and Talia mentioned how agencies can welcome the transgender community. Susan and Talia started the conversation with a very basic suggestion for including the transgender community by asking whether we have an “Us versus Them” mentality. Agencies should not be thinking about how to bring “them (transgender people)” to “us (the agency)” as agencies should be already seeing transgender people as part of “us” (the agency.) A good start is doing specific outreach to the trans community, offering specific trans services (medical consultations, legal advice, etc), supporting and advocating for trans events like Transgender Day of Remembrance as well as hiring trans individuals. It’s important to realize trans people should not just be hired for specific purposes of outreach or service just for the trans community, but can be seen being valuable employees serving other functions too. Taking these important steps will gain your agency the respect and trust of the trans community who will be more likely to be drawn to the organization.
On an administrative point of view, the unique yet justified needs of trans people should be appropriately addressed. For instance, trans people should always be referred with the correct pronoun/name. Similarly, trans folks should not be restricted in bathroom access, but your agency may want to look into converting some bathrooms into single stall of gender-neutral like those listed on this website: safe2pee.org.
This blog doesn’t begin to do their presentation justice as there was tons of information and material, but both the slides of the presentation and audio recordings of the presentation are available below. So you should check it out!
Slides of the presentation are available on our website: http://lgbttobacco.org/files/Trans%20Webinar%20ppt.ppt
If you missed the Webinar, you can listen here: Transgender Inclusion BrownBag Webinar Audio Recording
Resources shared on the call:
The Learning Trans Website is a project of BrownBag presenters Susan Forrest and Dr. Talia Mae Bettcher to produce and highlight trans community-produced knowledge.
National Transgender Discrimination Survey Report on Health and Health Care with nationally significant statistics on transgender health, health care experiences as well as tobacco prevalance rates as discussed on the webinar.
Recommendations for Inclusive Data Collection of Trans People in HIV Prevention, Care, and Services – examines the issue of reliable inclusion of the transgender population in HIV data collection. Topics include questions to ask, helpful implementation of data collection, and resource assistance.
Transgender Awareness Training and Advocacy website: www.tgtrain.org of BrownBag Webinar attendee Samuel Lurie
Safe2pee.org – A community-produced website dedicated to mapping safe restrooms for transgender people across the country. This is both a great resource and an opportunity to contribute.
Transgenderdor.org/ – A website dedicated to raising awareness of Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) and promoting TDOR events across the country.
A few resources mentioned on the call that are specific to transgender men who have sex with men
Transgender Men who Play with Men: http://www.apiwellness.org/tm4m.html
Great site on Paps for Trans Guys: http://www.checkitoutguys.ca/