Can I come to the Trans People's Forum?

This forum is intended as a safe space in which anyone who identifies as queer, trans  or non-binary gender will feel confident that whomever attends already has a sound understanding of trans issues.  

It is essential that those who identify as such feel free to speak and express their opinions without the fear of judgement, or the burden of having to explain themselves to those whose understanding is from cisgender experience.

However, if trans participants would feel happier bringing a friend, partner, relative who happens to be cis, then they would be most welcome. 

Also, if you are trans and under 16 years of age, you should be accompanied by a parent, or other appropriate adult

What should I expect when I attend?

A safe, non-judgmental, respectful environment.

What should I bring?

Courtesy, and an open mind.

Who can attend the Stakeholders Forum?

Any professional service providers with a responsibility for equality and diversity.

I'm worried I might cause offence by the words I use!

When addressing an individual we should not make any assumptions about their identity. In the same way a person's cultural identity is personal and often complex, so is a person's gender identity.

The language of gender is nuanced.

Words e.g. ('queer') which might offend one person will be a label worn with pride by another. The only way to know which and individual prefers is to ask. (Only if it is pertinent to the discussion, of course!).

"What's your pronoun?"

We need to get used to asking the question, and accepting and respecting the answer. A person's identity is not up for debate. Ever.

Lastly, THINK about the questions you might ask. 

"Have you had 'the op'?" 

This wholly inappropriate  on so many levels: 

It is NEVER EVER ok to ask about a part of a person's body that is usually covered by underwear (unless it is for medical information). 

Referring to 'real' gender is offensive

Cis- and trans- women are women; Cis- and trans- men are men; 

"I remember when you were Joseph / Joanne" 

Deadnaming can be very hurtful to a queer/ trans person, it can trigger harmful emotions, bad memories, and gender dysphoria. 

"He...I mean she..."

Accidental misgendering is understandable if you have known someone for a great many years as one gender. You might slip up once or twice at the start of their transition; or you might call them by their deadname, as genuine mistake. 

A simple "Oh I'm sorry..." and self correction is fine, and would probably be appreciated by all concerned. 

Other than that, there is no excuse. If a person can remember a change of name when  their friend gets married, or has no trouble remembering the players in their favourite football team, then there is only one reason for misgendering someone , or deadnaming them: DISRESPECT.

What will it involve for stakeholders?

Stakeholders will pledge their commitment to queer / trans inclusion in their sector. 

This does not mean that immediate changes will be expected, but that a dialogue will exist between service providers, and trans service users and realistic goals will be set..

Stakeholders will engage a process of assessing, monitoring and evaluating the quality and effectiveness of their service to trans needs