2019 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity

Safe Zone Deep Dive into Supporting Transgender Students and Colleagues (90-minute Workshop)

Presented at Track: Learning Spaces, Pedagogy & Curriculum Design Technical Session 9

Keywords: LGBTQIA+, Faculty, Graduate, Undergraduate

Safe Zone Ally Training workshops are interactive sessions where participants learn about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) individuals, identities, and issues with the goal of creating a campus Safe Zone. These workshops are necessary because LGBTQ students and faculty on college campuses still experience harassment, exclusionary behavior, and discrimination. This is especially true in STEM departments. This deep dive explicitly focuses on the experiences of trans individuals. Participants will be introduced to how the concepts of sex and gender relate to trans individuals and learn that gender identity – a person’s inherent knowledge of who they are – is a social construct and is not determined by biology. The discussion will delve into the climate for trans individuals in engineering and STEM and its broader impacts and implications. The trans experience is unique, but interconnected with, the experiences of LGBQ persons. For example, trans individuals face many hardships due to cisnormativity and transphobia and their manifestations that may exacerbate the hardships and/or assumptions they face regarding their sexual orientation. Participants will walk away from the session with tangible examples of how to contribute to an inclusive environment for trans individuals specifically through implementing techniques for correcting misgendering and similar mistakes, forming the habit of always asking for all people’s preferred names and pronouns and then consistently using them, and advocating for gender inclusive spaces including restrooms in every building on campus.

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