Date: 1/4/2019, 1:00 pm—4:00 pm
County: Contra Costa County
Sponsor: Seneca Family of Agencies
As part of our socialization growing up, under the confines of the artificial social construct of gender, we are sorting our entire population into a restrictive and oppressive binary of just two genders. The consequences for youth are pervasive and internalized notions of what it means to act and be seen as a “real” man, or to be valued and desired as a stereotypically feminine woman. These extreme binaries don’t allow for children to be their full selves, with a wide range of emotions and behaviors. Youth who don’t fit into the heteronormative, cisgender identity or who don’t conform to the gender roles, expressions and behaviors are even more susceptible to feelings of isolation, depression, and outright discrimination and bullying. Challenging the gender binary is the starting point in supporting Lesbian, Gay, Pansexual, Queer, Questioning, Transgender and Intersex youth. This course provides participants with a thorough examination of how we socially constructed gender based on homophobia, how that differs from sex assigned at birth, gender identity and sexual orientation. By understanding the differences between this terminology, we can begin to unpack the multiplicity and complexity that each individual can explore about their identity, if given the opportunity to be liberated from the constraints of a strict gender binary. The course uses videos that center the authentic experiences and voices of transgender, intersex, and two spirit people, addressing the issues and problems that they face and how to work effectively with them. Participants will do self-reflective explorations around their own personal gender story, reflecting on what gender roles and expressions they have they been “taught or caught.” Understanding the full context of what adolescents are going through in the child welfare system, especially those who may be struggling with the coming out process or working through a transgender transition is critical for social workers and providers to recognize and support, in order to provide supportive counseling and appropriate referrals for them.