What would you expect to learn on a Transgender Awareness Training Course?

I have fallen a bit behind with this blog largely because I have been focusing most of my time learning how to create online training programmes.  I am now ready to start creating the content for the first course,  but I need some help.

If you have the time I would really appreciate it if you could spend a few minutes to comment below on this post with the answer to the following questions.

If you were to attend a Transgender Awareness Training course, what would you expect to learn? What key topics would you want covered?

Your answers will help me to develop the course content and in gratitude for your help, I will be providing a lifetime free coupon to access the training programme in the new year.

I have conducted transgender awareness training in the UK for 10 years during a time of significant change in law and attitudes.  2015 however has seen us reach a tipping point. A small but significant number of trans celebrities have captivated the media and now hardly a week passes without trans people being high profile in the media.

But that is both good and bad. While the higher media profile has encouraged a more positive attitude generally towards trans people enabling more to feel safe to come out, there has also been an increase in negative comments and evidence of of lots of confusion.

Last week for example on a UK daytime chat show, Loose Women, the presenters discussed the way their young children were now talking about gender and sexuality in a way that would not have just a year ago.  Unfortunately the discussion demonstrated that the presenters did not understand the subject at all – they suggested transgender was a fad like “self harming or bulimia” and mixed up gender identity and sexual orientation in a way that has angered transgender people across the country.  At the same time in Huston in the USA,  a law providing protection for LGBT people has been scrapped.

Over the past 5 years there has been a general cutback in all equalities training and other soft public sector spending so I am reviewing my approach by reevaluating the content of my workshops and keynotes to reflect the changing attitudes.   At the same time I am developing an online version of the training to deliver transgender awareness training more economically i.e. much cheaper.

I also want to make my training more international.  This is going to be challenging given the widely differing laws – but largely everyone seems to be going in the same direction so I think I can produce some international modules and then keep adding to the course over time.

Please help me in this endeavour by answering these questions. If you were to attend a transgender awareness training course today, what would you expect to learn? What key topics would you want covered? 

Please remember that when the course is complete in the new year I will be sending a free lifetime access coupon for the online course to anyone who contributes to this research.

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  1. I would like to learn about every aspect of transgender from social, psychological, biological, physiology, emotional and how it impacts on a person before and after becoming who they are. How this impacts on them in society from their perpective, and what are the negative and positive reactions to those people who are around them.

    I would like to learn about historical transgender events to the present day.

  2. Just to name a couple areas I would like to see:

    *vocabulary! (and what all the different terms mean and where they overlap) i.e. What is the difference between transgender, transexual, the varying ways you can express these, the spectrum of transitioning, etc. Where do gender and sexuality overlap and where do they not.

    *What is transgender? For a person who does not know or is confused, a thorough explanation.

    *real life examples. Real stories of real people that can humanise the topic, put a face to the material because many people don’t actually know (or are unaware that they know) someone who is transgender.

    *how to be an ally in the community, in the workplace, etc. The practical aspects of transgender/transexuality – bathrooms, changing rooms, etc.

    *resources for transgender folks and transgender allies

    hope this was helpful and I really look forward to your final product!! I think the work you do is necessary, thank you for doing it!

  3. I’d agree with much of what the other commenters have suggested. I’d also like to add some ways of exploring our own bias towards issues of gender and how it shapes our attitudes, values and behaviours.

  4. If I were taking a Trans Awareness Course, I’d like to cover:

    -What does it mean to be transgender?
    -Daily struggles that members of the transgender community face
    -Transphobia in society
    -How to be an ally
    -Gender Dysphoria

    I hope I’ve been helpful!

  5. Thank you so much for you comments. Very helpful. Please do share this blog post if you have a moment – the more comments I can get the better the course will be. I will let you have the coupon for access to the course in the new year.

  6. It’d be good to cover all of what the above people have said – but also cover pronouns that people should use when discussing transgender people.

    Also – I think a great section would be gender-neutral discussion; for those that identified as transgender but now are non-conforming to the stereotype but lean more towards the “they”, “them”, “theirselves”, “themselves” pronouns instead of “his” or “hers”.

    Could you also discuss people that have gone through the entire procedure then to realise that they’ve actually got deeper issues beyond the “gender” that they identify as and sometimes actually regret it. And what support is available.


    PS I forgot to add in about how sometimes LGB does not always include T (as sometimes people confuse the two and then make assumptions – sexuality!=gender).

  7. Everyone has given good answers. I would, however, include a section on the current medical science of transgender as more research is now being done than ever before. I would also include a section on “The Church and Transgender”. “The Church” has been so damaging to all LGBT groups and especially the transgender group I believe they deserve their own section. Also transgender suicide needs to be covered specifically. There have been far too many suicides. Some have done so even with family support.

    Good luck with this course!

  8. Like all the other posters have commented but also talk about cisgender and everything within that side of the community so that everyone knows the ins and outs and truth behind it all.Stop the incorrect labelling etc.

  9. Great comments here -I’ll echo the need to expand on education, vocabulary, background, history… Especially to help people become better allies.

    I’d also suggest moving past “awareness” and into something more compelling. Awareness is too passive, and as your post mentioned – most people are aware. Something like “everything you’ve always wanted to know about transgender folks but were afraid to ask” might be fun… “How to be a transgender ally” is also good, so is “fighting transphobia and why it matters to you”. That last one is an area that really needs to be expanded and explored. I have seen a lot of transphobia come from feminist and minority communities that are very focused on the struggle for civil rights but feel that trans rights should somehow be excluded. It might stem from the desire for safe space… Some people feel threatened by someone’s right to declare their own gender identity. The nature of fear and phobia around clashing gender norms as society evolves is a gold mine of area to explore. I’d love to see a course that uses an evidence based approach to educate people on the ways they can overcome their own biases while helping to safely and productively educate others. Maybe some notes about why it’s important to be an advocate… Taking it one step further past just an ally (that also seems rather passive).

    But just some thoughts… I love your work and what you do, thanks!!

  10. I agree with a lot of the above comments. But what no one has mentioned is the age when trans men and women realised that they were living in the wrong body. There has been quite a lot on TV recently about children, special boot camps and summer camps, etc. it seems that many initially live one life inside the home and a different one outside….. I have a trans friend, now fully transitioned to a woman, but who lived the first 40 years of her life as a man at work (and previously at school) but a woman/girl at home.

    Also, maybe teach about all the many problems in families and having a trans child – not all families are supportive and some are downright abusive mentally and physically…..

  11. Thank you so much everyone for you excellent suggestions

    I am already realising that I have to split the course into at least two courses targeted at different audiences. I had been initially planning to simply replicate my workplace issues approach – but I can see now that there is a need to address the issues from a personal perspective for trans people questioning their gender and their friends and family. Although there is a clear overlap area this is a different set of issues to the workplace.

    This really has been available exercise and I thank you all for your help

    Please do continue to share this post.

  12. Incorporate all previous suggestions, plus the positives of being transgender – how by having lived integral in both male and female worlds, they have unique insight and experience which should be better utilised and welcomed, being a positive addition to a team.
    Also with the history show that transgender isn’t a new thing and did happen ‘in their day’, and reasons why it was hidden.
    I’d also like statistics as well as case studies showing the huge variety of presentations – the same variations as found in any population.

  13. Hi Rikki,

    Regarding feedback for your course:

    I would expect to leave with a clear understanding of what is transgender. I confess I was not clear. But having watched the BBC program ‘I am Leo’, which I was totally impressed by Leo’s narration and design of the program, for someone so young, he demonstrates his wisdom, clear thinking, bravery and centeredness.

    1) I would expect to see the ‘I am Leo’ programme.

    2) Invite candidates to do a short Personal Values Assessment (https://www.valuescentre.com/our-products/products-individuals/personal-values-assessment-pva) its free.

    Why look and compare our values? Because as Richard Barratt describes values transcend beliefs. Values unite, where beliefs divide societies, regardless if the respective beliefs turn out to be right or wrong. Also, beliefs are based on our perception of the past, where our values are centered in our present thinking.

    In the context of your online course, you could invite candidates to complete the personal values assessment as part of pre-course work, so that during your course they could compare and discover their values are similar to others. To demonstrate the existence of similarity, you could include a list of personal values reports for a number of anonymous profiles, and then after they’ve have had time to review and compare the values with theirs, attribute a profile to the values reports, including a mixture of ages, genders, gender preferences and religions etc.

    If this does not resonate with you, I invite you to just go with the flow and do the short survey. They, once you’ve comprehended your current personal values, this provides a level playing field/a shared common experience for people to realise our similarities, no matter the gender, age, culture or beliefs.

    3) Build upon existing diversity and inclusion training, take a look at this article: http://www.talentmgt.com/articles/7002-top-3-things-wrong-with-diversity-inclusion-training

    4) Take away a glossary of terms

    Hope this helps and good luck.

    PS: I am so pleased you’ve discovered your purpose, you are the perfect person for this role Rikki


    Andrew 🙂

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