What is it to be trans? Reflection and training

What is it to be gender diverse? Is it an endless search for language to describe your inner experience? Perhaps it’s a gathering of all others together so you can share your triumphs and tribulations. Maybe you slip and slide out of control down the slope to the bottom of the pit before realising that transition is the answer. Maybe you meet with others, with someone who inspires you and you find your authenticity another way.

Whatever your truth is there will be people who have similar life experiences and those who don’t. People who know what it’s like to be your kind of trans and others who want to fit you into their boxes. The more I speak about binary and non-binary identities the more I realise that everyone’s truth is slightly different and that to try to fit other trans people into your box because it’s your truth is to falsely define what it is to be trans. Chrysalis has nearly 15 years’ experience in this field and I have close to 10, gathering everyone’s truths and holding them close. Respecting them and trying to refine them so that we can communicate them. Our training development team is wonderfully diverse, with binary and non-binary people, loved ones and allies all working together to develop a training package that respects each individual’s experience and draws together the common threads too.

Chrysalis has been commissioned to design and deliver training for the Crown Prosecution Service and we ran our pilot on Thursday. Thanks to everyone who came along and for all their contributions. At the end of the session I asked if there was anything people were specifically taking away from the session and anything they wanted to leave in the room. It’s always great to know that people have gained something from training, and to know that now more people understand the importance of asking pronouns, of getting pronouns captured on paperwork and of the existence of the Gender Recognition Act is the reason why we do this. Thanks to the participant who asked me what I was going to take away from the session because as the trainer I too should gain something.

I’ve been thinking about that over the weekend. What do I take away from training sessions? What do I take away from all interactions? The knowledge that I don’t know everything, that there is always another experience, another way to view something, another truth out there. That there are so many allies out there, people who want to make the world better, to know how they can make simple changes that will have significant impact
Training distils knowledge, distils experience, refines language and allows me to convey to you a wealth of experience but more than that it allows you to develop your own understanding, your own empathy of another reality.

Understandably last week was rather focused on the pilot session for the CPS but we did manage to achieve some other great things. On Monday Deanna, Sophie and I met to talk about the website and our social media. If you are interested in creating content for our social media then message sophie.cook@chrysalis-gii.org with your ideas and she’ll add you to her team of content creators.

GoFundMe team have personally taken an interest in our campaign and will be promoting it for us, I’m sure you can imagine how incredible that makes me and the rest of the team feel.

Sheila and I also interviewed two new volunteers and would like to welcome Waverly and Olly to the team. I’d also like to welcome Paul Draycott to the board of trustees. Paul and the Southern Health team have been fantastic allies to Chrysalis and it’s an honour to have him join us.

Whilst for most of you next week is the end of October that’s not the way it’s working in Chrysalis this year. Yep, I’ve got some more holiday booked and so I hereby declare that the 25th of October is the new last day of the month and this is the last you will hear of me blog wise until November.

The observant among you will know that the last week of the month is supervision week and it’s that wonderful time when I get to really sit down with the counsellors and find out how their work is progressing. A great opportunity to speak with both new and experienced counsellors, working to deliver the best possible, ethical and client led counselling we can.