Gender 101 Workshops
Wesleyan University, Fall Semester 2003
10 min Introductions:
Name, preferred pronoun, why they came/what they want out of the workshop, favorite activity and if they think it is gendered.
10 min Definitions with small groups
Every group gets a few of the following words and discusses their experiences with and connotations of them.
Genderqueer: A person who identifies as something other than a man or a woman. May or may not prefer a gender-neutral pronoun.
FTM/ female to male: Assigned female at birth who identifies as something “not female,” and often male.
MTF/ male to female: Assigned male at birth who identifies as something “not male,” and often female.
Transgender: Describes people whose gender identity or gender expression fails to conform with societal expectations of what it means to be male or female bodied. Often shortened to “trans.”
Transexual: A person who identifies within the gender binary, but as the gender opposite of birth sex. They may be pre-op(erative), post-op, or non-op.
Crossdresser: A person who dresses in clothes generally associated with the opposite sex. Not related to sexual orientation. Formerly known as transvestite.
Drag: A performance of gender. Most frequently a person will perform the gender that is opposite to either their sex or gender, or both.
TRANSPHOBIA: Systematic mistreatment that is the result of institutionalized inequalities in the social structure. Takes the form of physical violence as well as pervasive invalidation and the denial or non-recognition of the full humanity of gender variant and trans people.
5 min Small groups share thought on definitions, clarify anything as needed
10 min Basic “Trans 101” information providing a conceptual framework
- Why the “T” is in “LGBT”…gender expectations, discrimination based on gender presentation and assumptions about sexual orientation that may follow
- Spectrums (black/grey/white, gay/bi or flexual/straight, masculine/androgynous/feminine, male/intersex/female, man/genderqueer/woman with genderfuck out there entirely, etc)
- Sex/Gender/Sexuality triangle
- Intersections of race, class, and gender
- Grounding that although lots of gender stuff at Wes is highly academic and theoretical, that people actually live their lives with this stuff…and respect is most important.
Quick answers to questions
10 min Brainstorm Ways to Be a Better Trans Ally
Some suggestions can include (but certainly are not limited to):
Action Steps to Being a Trans Ally
- don’t make assumptions about a trans person’s sexual orientation
- if you don’t know what pronouns to use, ask
- be aware of confidentiality, disclosure, and outing
- don’t assume what path a transperson is on regarding hormones or surgery
- don’t police public restrooms
- don’t just add the T without doing work
- listen to trans voices
Ways to be Helpful to Genderfuck/Genderqueer, Trans, TG/TS, etc. People
- Be aware
- Be aware of what you are saying and how you’re presenting yourself
- Don’t assume
- Publicly challenge assumptions
- Educate yourself
- Make people think and show respect by asking them “What pronoun do you prefer?”
- Educate other about these issues
- Advocate legally and encourage other to do the same
- Encourage others to become allies by illustrating connections
- Sensitively personalize issues (or make it about them by showing how they are affected)
- Talk to anyone who is considering having a child about discussing the possibility of having an intersex child with their doctor
- Don’t fetishize/objectify transfolk (“Don’t think I’m hot because I’m trans, think I’m hot because I’m hot!”)
- Don’t encourage gender stereotypes/expectations for children or anyone else (It’s alive! –rather than ‘It’s a boy!’ or ‘It’s a girl!’)
The RA-specific trainings we did were very similar, but some differences are in the introductions and role-plays.
Thanks to Paige Kruza for developing these workshops.