Guys, gals and non-binary pals, here’s what I’ve learned about gender (so far).

In my 28-years on this planet so far, gender is not something I can remember having a conversation about regularly/ if ever before. This aspect of my life has always been simple for me because my sex, gender identity and sexual orientation fit within the traditional gender binary world.

As I’m quickly learning though, gender is something that is in fact, extremely complex. The curiosity to learn more about gender came about after being caught off-guard by my 13-year-old niece. During the first lockdown phase we went for a walk together, she started to talk about some of her friends and all of a sudden phrases like gender fluidity, non-binary, cisgender & transitioning were being thrown into the conversation… I was out of my depth! After the initial shock and panic that I didn’t have much knowledge and/or experience to contribute anything useful to the conversation, I stumbled my way through before it naturally moved on to another topic (probably TikTok).

Those few minutes talking about gender made a lasting impression, it planted a seed in my head around being inclusive. Inclusivity is a word we use a lot in the physical activity and sport sector and as Workforce Lead at Leap we want to support the clubs, organisations, coaches, deliverers, and instructors across Bucks & MK to be truly inclusive. I believe that if we are going to take a holistic approach to inclusivity, we need to ensure gender is part of that conversation, championing and promoting Trans inclusion within physical activity and sport.

With this in mind, I have started to educate myself around gender and I recently attended a course delivered by Gendered Intelligence. The Trans Inclusion in Grassroots Sport and Physical Activity is a brilliant introduction to this topic. Going into the workshop my biggest fear around gender was using the wrong language; I feared saying something wrong or causing offence. The training provided information about key terms and uses of language but also, reassurances that we’re not always going to get it right when it comes to language, don’t over worry, if you make a mistake apologise and move on. It also highlighted that simple changes could make a massive difference when it comes to Trans inclusion in physical activity and sport, including your pro nouns in your email signature for example is something everyone can do and is effective in making a more inclusive environment.

I’m only just getting started on my journey to understand more about gender but following the training I attended I certainly feel more confident to champion & promote trans inclusion and also challenge poor behaviour.

As Gendered Intelligence say ‘everyone can become more intelligent about gender!’ and with this in mind we invite you to attend their 2 hour online introductory training, more details below.

Thanks for reading, Shay (He/Him)

Workshop title : Sport, Physical Activity and Trans People: The Basics

Date & Time: Wednesday 3rd February 2021, 6:30pm – 8:30pm

Cost: £10

Find out more: https://www.leapwithus.org.uk/events/sport-physical-activity-and-trans-people-the-basics-online-training-opportunity/

Interested in making your coaching more inclusive? Check out the UK Coaching Duty to Care toolkit and digital badge: https://www.ukcoaching.org/duty-to-care