According to a 2020 poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation, only 36 percent of U.S. adults say they personally know someone who is transgender. Unfortunately, this lack of familiarity causes many cisgender people to be nervous around members of the transgender community.
Starting this month, transgender health educator and inclusivity consultant Frances Reed will host an online class called Gender Identity Decoded. The class will focus on the growing vocabulary related to the transgender community and other gender identity topics.
Reed’s background is in massage therapy. In 2011, they founded Freed Bodyworks in Washington, D.C. to provide body work to others who, like them, are gender expansive. But since then, this holistic wellness center has expanded to provide energy work, mental health services, and yoga.
“I was going to do it all by myself…but the need for the space was so huge that my ethics wouldn’t let me not expand,” shares Reed. “And then it became not just about gender expansive folks but about lots of marginalized identities, particularly those who are overlooked in the wellness industry.”
Since Reed founded the business, they have been conducting trainings for holistic health workers who are interested in gaining competency in working with transgender clients. “The cultural competency classes that I teach end up being a lot about the interpersonal skills needed to affirm transgender folks and their identities,” Reed explains. This realization, as well as the positive feedback they received from health workers who took their trainings, led them to create the new Gender Identity Decoded class.
Described by Reed as a “safe place to not know [the answers] and show up for transgender folks,” this two-hour class is offered once a month to people who have questions about gender or may be nervous about addressing certain topics around transgender people in their lives.
“I really see this class as being for people who have a kid, friend, neighbor, or co-worker who comes out as trans or gender expansive and don’t want to get things wrong,” says Reed.
If you’re interested in Gender Identity Decoded, you can visit Eventbrite to learn more and sign up for a future session. The class will be offered via Zoom on April 10, May 8, July 17, August 14, September 11, October 2, and November 24.