Workshop held on Saturday August, 21st
About Sexual orientation and Gender expression.
You can find the recording and powerpoint here
Nobody is a single story, we are not just our gender, nor our ethnicity, our trauma, our education, our sexuality, …. We are a varied, complex, diverse, multiple pile up of stories and identities. That makes us all unique as individuals.
As individuals we belong to several social groups: formed by our family, our region where we we were born and/or live in. Also our sex, gender, sexual orientation, philosophy of life, ethnical group, and so on, are part of our identity.
From these social systems we get and create different values, norms and convictions, beliefs and rules about good and bad, right and wrong. We have our rituals that give us a feeling of belonging, of togetherness.
All these things and more make our identity. The way we see ourselves, the way we are seen by others.
Being ‘different’ from the group, can be a risk of not belonging, even maybe being excluded.
In my work I noticed that gender and sexual orientation can be an important reason of feeling excluded, not belonging.
“Am I masculine enough?” “Is my sexual orientation accepted in the community?”
“What if I go another direction from what is expected from me?”
“What if I have feelings I never hear about in my social group, or even worse feelings that are denied, that people speak about in a bad way, that seem to be forbidden by the convictions of my family, my society?”
“Do I hide or suppress them, or shall I act stupid, exaggerate and be the clown, the crazy one, or am I willing to stand up for being different, being the revolutionary one, with the risk being excluded, being convicted by the group, the family? Being the talk of the town, maybe even beaten up or thrown out? Are these my choices to Fight, Flight or Freeze?”
Gender and sexual orientation are, besides ethnicity and class, some of my main focusses in my work. That is what I like to talk about with you, share my thoughts, my expertise and also hear your stories and your expertise. See how we can make this a part of our work, in order to understand and support our clients that maybe struggle with their feelings, their identity on gender and sexual diversity. Make ground, a safe space, so they are able and willing, feel invited and free to share their story with this.
Are we willing and able to create this accepting ground for people that feel excluded, discriminated, to be or to become more who they are? Are we willing to reflect on our position, when belonging to the majority, are we aware of the influence of our sexual orientation and gender expression, also when we ‘fit in’, belong to the majority?
Marten Bos, Netherlands (Oudega Friesland) August 2021. www.martenbos.nl