Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Art of Effective Facilitation: Chapter 4

As I become more and more aware of the cycle of socialization around gender and gender norms around the world, I know that there is so much more to learn and explore. I see how we all have been conditioned to see male of female in such a way that when faced with someone who identifies outside of the binary;we can barley keep it together. From over friendly smiles to awkwardly asked questions. You know the questions I mean; the ones that you know come from the most caring soul but is used to see where exactly you fit. 

This chapter really hit home to me because of the intersection of my own identities. I am a Trans-person of Color who is also an American born African, a college student, a facilitator, a book worm, a Bengals fan and a great listener. These are all facets of me and I am usually about to express all of those identities in what ever fashion that I choose. Well, that is, all but one. The chapter focuses on TJ. As I read on, TJ and I were living parallel lives. From childhood through finding his own identity and realizing that no matter what he defined himself to be, others would still place him somewhere on the spectrum.

This chapter enlightened me to the way that cisgendered people really cared and really wanted to make an difference; even when they were unsure of uncomfortable. I have lived outside of the spectrum for most of my 28 years and only recently was able to say that I am in fact a trans-person aloud. This also made me think of my many years of RAPP and my wonderful facilitators. They used many of the ideas given in the book. One thing that I thought was kinda silly when I began my social justice journey years ago was the introduction of pronouns. Who would have thought that giving each person the space to identify themselves their own way made a huge difference? Even though some of them where "cis", they took the time out to include, educate and ponder  how such innate privileges are associated with living within the gender binary. The best thing is non-gendered bathrooms!! Being gender non-conforming can make the easiest task hard. If there are only bathrooms that take into consideration the sex that you were assigned at birth, where does the trans-person go? 

In retrospect, this chapter forced me out of the victimized stance and see thatpeople do care. There are ways to change the way we socialize children and ways to be easy and allow gender to be fluid and defined by each person as they see if fit for themselves.


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    1. Edited for punctuation as of 10/4/14 3:33- I really got a lot out of it too, Ali. I'm a cisgendered person, and I think I was not really uncomfortable with it because I didn't realize that Trans people are sometimes uncomfortable with it. I guess I just assumed all Trans people were "out" about it, and that they know themselves well enough to see what they think they should be. It made me look at my trans leanings (I've often said if it wasn't for enjoying sex as a female, I should have been born a man. I'm interested in traditionally masculine things, I'm not tall, but my body is masculine in some ways (I have sideburns, lol), and I am studying in a masculine field. That was something I had to look at and see if I was really just a masculine woman, or if it was more.) So this chapter was a busy one for me too