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You may have seen business cards, email signatures, or even social media accounts recently with gender pronouns, such as she/her/hers. The Fresno EOC LGBTQ+ Resource Center offers instruction to explain why these pronoun statements are important. It’s part of their LGBTQ+ competency training designed for the workplace.

LGBTQ+ Resource Center Manager Jennifer Cruz says the training shows people how to treat the queer community with dignity and respect at work and beyond. “We get calls from LGBTQ+ people who encounter microaggressions and harassment in a number of different places. Most people are unfamiliar with the terminology and have not had the opportunity to interact with the queer community. TV representation is full of stereotypes, and it might be the only example people have of queer people. Training is a great resource to prevent a future issue in the workplace.”

The LGBTQ+ Resource Center held a training session recently at Fresno EOC Local Conservation Corps (LCC). Cruz was joined by Community Outreach Educator Jess Fitzpatrick, who went over a wide range of topics and terminology. “So, gender identity means when you wake up and look in the mirror, you understand yourself to be either a boy or a girl. Or maybe you don’t identify with either.”

Fitzpatrick explained that gender identity falls on a large spectrum. “There are so many variations on how people have relationships, how they carry their bodies, and how they walk about in the world. And so, you can’t always determine it in black and white. There are gray areas. So, we chose to use this color kaleidoscope to show that all these concepts can often blend into each other to create this beautiful landscape of the many different identities that make up the human experience.”

The training hosted by the Local Conservation Corps (LCC) was provided for corps members and students at the YouthBuild Charter School of California, which is housed on the campus. A YouthBuild student named Tish, was appreciative of the chance to have the training and said it’s time for change. “Everybody wants tolerance and acceptance. It’s time for people to be a little more open as to what’s out there in the world. That gray area at the bottom of that color wheel, I am that entire gray area.”

Since equality and inclusion are high on any workplace’s priorities, the use of correct gender pronouns was also covered. For example, misgendering a transgender person may be unintentional, but it can signal a more significant problem—assuming something about a person based on their appearance, manner, or voice. Some companies already encourage the use of gender pronouns on email signatures and badges, such as they/them/theirs, which may be used by someone who is non-binary. After all, employers want to make sure their workers feel comfortable and welcome.

In addition to gender identity and gender pronouns, the one-hour LGBTQ+ competency training also covers sexual orientation, best practices for serving LGBTQ+ populations, and gender-inclusive policies, specifically in California. Facilitators also work to provide an understanding of microaggressions and action tips that might be useful when you’re out in the field. Questions are welcome throughout the training, and it’s followed by a Q&A session with a panel tailored to fit the client’s needs. The training is titled “Creating More Respectful Workplaces” and is offered to businesses, schools, organizations, groups, and individuals.

Fitzpatrick said, “We hope you take what you learn here to your worksites and, of course, when you’re interacting with your family or friends, and when you are out in everyday situations like the grocery store. This can help expand your understanding and your compassion for our community.”

If you would like more information or to schedule a training, please click here to open the LGBTQ+ Competency Training contact form.

Fresno EOC LGBTQ+ Resource Center

LGBTQ+ Resource Center provides supportive services to enhance the health and well-being of individuals of all ages in the LGBTQ+ community. The Center serves all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, non-binary, queer, HIV, and questioning community members in the Fresno County area.

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