Monday, June 03, 2013

You Don't Know How It Feels To Be Me.

You don't know how it feels
You don't know how it feels to be me*

Can you imagine a white person teaching a course on black culture trying to explain what it is like to be black in America?

Than why do people who are not trans-people think it is OK for them to give a workshop on trans culture?

In April I taught a workshop on Trans Culture to social workers and some of the comments that they wrote down on the evaluation forms for the question “The most helpful/useful part of this training was” were…
“Learning from someone knows from experience”
“I never had any exposure on this topic and I really admire the courage and the frankness”
“First person experience”
“Explaining her experience”
Teaching about therapy for trans-clients is one thing, but teaching about the culture is totally different and I think that the best way to do that is to have a qualified trans-person teach the workshop. We know what it is like, we know what it is like to walk in public for the first time and we know where the pitfalls are located.

I know some highly qualified non-trans-people who can do a very good job on trans-culture, but it is not the best because they do not have as one of my workshop attendees wrote “first person experience”

Here is an excerpt from my workshop (The original has 48 slides and I cut out most of the technical presentation). The "Five Faces of Oppression" by Iris Marion Young is from an article that we had to read for one of my graduate classes. It is about the five common traits of an oppressed community.

*Tom Petty

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