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Welcome to the course

Welcome to Understanding Gender Identity. This course looks at gender identities, particularly focusing on those who identify as trans, or use the term to describe themselves.

Understanding Gender Identity has been written by Gendered Intelligence in partnership with The Open University, and is based on GI’s trans awareness workshops.

Gendered Intelligence is a not-for-profit, trans-led organisation that is committed to the idea that everyone can be more intelligent about gender. Our mission is to increase understanding of gender diversity and to improve the quality of life of trans people, and young trans people in particular.

We work with the trans community and those who impact on trans lives, including parents, teachers, policymakers, employers, services and other organisations. Over recent years we have engaged closely with policymakers and government departments to achieve our aims.

We offer a broad spectrum of non-judgmental, practical services that support the public, private and not-for-profit sectors to develop and improve their trans inclusion and gender diversity good practices. This includes: staff training, wide-ranging consultancy, and speakers and panellists for events and conferences.

We also provide services for young trans and gender questioning people and those who support them, especially within educational settings. We aren’t ‘finger-wagging’ in our approach, but rather encourage, guide and facilitate learning.

Our vision is of a world where people are not constrained by narrow perceptions of gender and where diverse gender expressions are visible and valued. For more information visit our website.

People can sometimes feel anxious and uncertain about how best to engage with trans or gender-diverse people, especially when there are sometimes different and contradictory ideas represented in the media.

In the workplace, people often feel worried about the possibility that they might offend gender-diverse people, especially if they’re not up on all the latest terminology.

Don’t panic! This brief course will make clear and explain some of the language used regarding trans people. It will also address the questions that people tend to ask about trans people, and how to implement trans-inclusive best practice in the workplace. There will also be plenty of further resources and information about how you can access more advanced training and learning within your particular context and job role, should you need it.

Your educators and learning outcomes

Your two educators for this course are Meg-John Barker and Jay Stewart and you can view their biographies by clicking on their names.

When you have finished this unit, you should be able to:

  • explain what trans is and understand the key words that are used around gender diversity
  • describe where trans sits in a wider understanding of sex/gender
  • use appropriate language around trans people
  • be aware of relevant legislation and trans-related policy
  • apply good practice when it comes to working with trans employees (including recruitment), colleagues and customers/clients in the workplace.

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This article is from the free online course:

Understanding Gender Identity: Trans People in the Workplace

The Open University