Today we're talking about transgender issues.
Specifically, what should the rest of us know about transgender people? This is a topic that I admit I know very little about, but one that feels important at the very least, if one wants to avoid causing unnecessary pain. Language itself seems to be changing when it comes to gender, and while some resistance is natural and no generally agreed upon set of rules has been widely accepted, it's important to understand why these changes are happening and what's behind them.
I can't imagine someone more perfect to talk to about this subject than Dr. Eli Green. Eli is the founder and CEO of the Transgender Training Institute. They are an award winning educator and author with over 20 years facilitating transgender related education and supporting other gender educators. Dr. Green has helped thousands of people have a better understanding of what it means to be transgender and nonbinary and how to support and affirm the transgender and nonbinary people in their lives, workplaces, and communities. Eli brings kindness, patience, and authentic connection to the topic, making the gender conversation one that seems inviting, a place you'd like to be rather than a place to avoid.
We spoke in mid January 2022, and it was really the first time I felt like I had a grasp of what we're talking about. When we talk about gender and transgender rights and challenges.
In this conversation we talk about:
- Eli's childhood and early realization on how people are treated differently based on gender.
- How Eli recognized they were nonbinary at a young age, but not having the language for it.
- Eli's process of coming out as nonbinary is transgender transition, facing discrimination as a nonbinary person, including transphobia and barriers to accessing resources.
- The differences between gender and sex and how they are not the same.
- The importance of kindness and affirmation for the LGBTQ plus community.
- How Cisgendered people can support and advocate for trans rights.
- Eli's work with the Transgender Training Institute, which provides education and training on trans issues to businesses, organizations, and government agencies changing hearts and minds, and the need for systemic change to support nonbinary people.
- How does religion enter into the picture?
- What do most people still need to understand about transgender and non-binary individuals?
- What is the significance of the dynamism of language in this area?
- Understanding Gender Prejudice
What stayed with me most of all is the ever present need for kindness, the need to make an effort to see things from a different person's perspective. This applies equally to cisgendered folks learning about gender dysphoria, as it does to activists understanding that ignorance does not equal malice. In both cases, the smallest gesture of kindness can open the door to a whole new way of relating and moving forward, in which specific details can be discussed from a place of trust.
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And now, without further ado, let's jump right in with Dr. Eli Green.
[5:31] Life in the Present
[6:53] Early Childhood Realizations
[15:56] Coming Out as a Trans
[20:42] Significance, Evolution and Expansion of Labels and Languages
[28:30] Learning Human Sexuality in Academia
[32:07] From Academia to Establishing the Transgender Training Institute
[35:50] The TTI Teaching Pedagogy
[38:37] Success Stories
[42:29] LGBTQ+ Present Issues and Obstacles
[47:33] Alliance vs Friendship
[51:19] Elements of being a Good Ally
[53:04] Gender Pronouns
[57:15] Importance of Being Kind
[01:02:51] Company Design and Structure
[01:09:33] Short Sermon
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