Understanding Gender Diversity

The first full day of the Global Conference featured many inspiring sessions.  One such session was Understanding Gender Diversity.  This panel was led by Blair Lockhart and Jose Bassila and offered an opportunity for delegates to ask questions to CISVers who identify as gender non-binary/non-conforming in a safe and compassionate environment.

The session addressed challenges of inclusion.  For example, how do we handle bathrooms when we have participants that identify as trans?  How do staff and leaders deal with youth who are struggling with their identity?  Do our legal forms accommodate non-binary genders?

The panellists were asked to the following question – What can Chapters, NAs, and CISV International do to become more inclusive with the LGBTQ+ community?  Here were some of their responses:

  • Look for like-minded organizations (LMOs). In many places, there are LMOs that advocate for the LGBTQ+ community and that can provide support to help educate participants, leaders, and more.
  • Avoid using gender as a way to divide a group into two. There are many other fun ways that you can split participants into teams.  You can divide teams by birthdays – anyone born from January to June is in one group, and July to December is in another.  You can assign each participant to either ‘Doris’ or ‘Allen’.  Be creative!
  • Ask for help. You don’t need to know everything.  Look to others who have experience with the issue instead of throwing the problem away.  Reach out to your Committees. Write to CISV International.  Engage your NA or Chapter.
  • Don’t assume everyone conforms to a binary gender.
  • And finally, it is not your job to understand everyone, only to love them.

Do you have other ideas for how to encourage inclusiveness in CISV?  Share in the comments below.

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