Thursday, August 29, 2019

Diversity Training, Does It Work?

I do a lot of training and the fall training season is just starting and sometimes I think am I making a difference?

I have seen attendees writing down notes and ask questions while others sit there like a bump on a log, you can just hear what they are thinking… they sent me to attend this junk.
She, he or they: Tampa Bay bars train to better serve LGBTQ customers
Workplace classes about navigating pronouns, gender identity and sexual orientation are getting more popular in the local customer service scene.
Tampa Bay Times
By Sara DiNatale
August 22, 2019

ST. PETERSBURG — Cole Foust [the manager of the LGBTQ+ division at nonprofit Metro Inclusive Health] stood in front of a sleepy group of servers and bartenders, starting off the day’s class with a simple assertion during his introduction: “I go by he/him.”

“Has anyone heard the buzz around pronouns?” he asked.

A few seated at the tables at MacDinton’s Irish Pub nodded or quietly said “yes."

“Don’t worry," he said. "We’ll get more into that later.”
Foust has given dozens of these presentations, but before that day he’d never spoken to the staff of a bar. Until recently, customer-service oriented businesses hadn’t sought out Metro’s diversity training. Typically, Foust has trained health care and social service workers. But as a cultural shift has more people attuned to what it means to be inclusive, classes to help workers navigate pronouns and gender identity are increasingly in demand.
He makes a good point about using “cisgender,”
The word cisgender? It describes the bulk of the population: people who identify with the gender they were assigned at birth. In Latin, “cis” is essentially the opposite of “trans.”

He posed it to the group like this: If we just used the word “normal” instead of a term like cisgender, how would it make transgender people feel?

“Abnormal," someone called from the group.

“Exactly," he said.
That’s a good way to make if someone objects to using the word “cisgender.”

My worst class was a sports medicine class at a local university for sport majors, we were there because we were with a speaker bureau. It was all men and jocks and this was last place they wanted to be, sitting in front of two trans women. They sat there with their arms crossed and legs wide open and they didn’t ask one question. Since we were supposed to do a Q&A session it was rather to do without any questions, so I asked Maryann… “What was it like when you came out?” We ended up asking each other questions for the whole class.

Another time I was waiting with some friends for our reservation at a restaurant when a woman stopped and said to me… “I was at your workshop at the NASW conference and because of what I learned that day I knew what to do when a client came out to me as transgender.”

Do we make a difference? We sure do.

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