Some of the campus community recently participated in an inclusivity workshop lead by trainers from the Get REAL Movement with a focus on promoting 2SLGBTQ+ allyship. The two facilitators, Joseph and Courtney, were candid sharing their diverse life experiences and personal journeys to find confidence in their identities.
“It is really nice to have speakers come in from outside PRI because they bring additional perspectives, and topics to complement the work we do here in therapy every day,” shared one student in feedback.
The interactive workshops, first with students and then with staff, introduced concepts like the Gender Unicorn designed to promote a better understanding of gender, sex, and attraction. The Gender Unicorn is a tool originally designed by the Trans Student Educational Resources (TSER), an American organization founded by teen activists in 2011 and led by Trans youth.
The workshops also reviewed the Gender Galaxy another model of gender designed to help visualize the diversity of gender identities and expression.
“I learned a lot. It was good to have people explain all the different terms and words and ideas in a clear way,” said another student. “They were very open to everyone having different beliefs and values around this.”
In the staff workshop, the facilitators also reviewed Intersectionality as an essential concept to recognize that all people have multiple and diverse factors that intersect to shape their experiences and perspectives.
“It’s very valuable and important to have external community partners, otherwise our approach becomes echo chamber and we miss the growing edges,” commented a staff member in feedback.
Particularly illuminating for the staff workshop, was hearing some of the thoughts and opinions brought forward from the students’ sessions, where they were asked to share both things they are grateful for and challenges.
Among the common themes of gratitude:
- Shelter, food, and safety
- Parents and friends who love them and take care of them
Among the common themes of challenges:
- Being scared to come out to their friends, family, and classmates
- Pain of not having their pronouns respected in certain spaces
- Racism and/or judgement about their religion.
Get Real is a non-profit focused on combating 2SLGBTQ+ discrimination, racism, and bullying in schools, summer camps, and workplaces. It started as a small student project at Western University in 2011, with volunteer student leaders running workshops with first year students during Orientation Week.
From its website:
“We saw excellent results combatting homophobic, transphobic and racist language and attitudes one-to-one with our first year students; Countless students changing their language within a matter of days and countless others coming to us and telling us they felt comfortable being themselves.”
That pilot project was the beginning of the Get REAL movement today, which now has university chapter programs across the country, and dozens of trainers sharing their personal stories in workshops as they did with Pine River students and staff on campus earlier this month.