Guest Video from Minus 18: Trans 101
If we live with a disability – or support someone with a disability – we may notice some folks feeling awkward or uncomfortable around people with disabilities. Often these folks are worried about unintentionally using outdated words, or accidentally offending a person with a disability. And in many ways it’s great they’re thinking about how not to cause harm. But that fear of offending can also lead some folks to avoid people with disabilities. This can create barriers to connection.
Many folks also feel awkward around trans and nonbinary people. Often they are worried about unintentionally using outdated words, getting pronouns wrong, or otherwise accidentally offending someone. This can also create barriers to connection. In this guest video from Minus 18, some trans and nonbinary youth talk about the basics of trans identities, why pronouns are important, why it’s ok to make mistakes, and what to do if you mess up.
Minus 18 – An Australian initiative supporting LGBTQIA children and youth.
Seeing my Body as Nonbinary – A comic by a nonbinary artist, discussing their journey towards self – love.
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Why We Talk About…
Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity
Everyone – even someone who will never have sex – has a sexual orientation. Sex is about what people do, but sexual orientation is about what people are. It includes things like what kind of person we feel sexually & romantically attracted to – if we’re attracted to anyone this way. Words like straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and asexual describe some sexual orientations.
When we were born, the doctor probably said “It’s a boy!” or “It’s a girl!” Gender Identity is about how well we feel these words (boy, girl, man, woman) fit us right now. Do some words feel like they describe us better than others? Do none of them feel right? Words like male, female, cisgender, transgender, and gender fluid describe some gender identities.
This stuff can be fascinating. It can be complicated. We may wonder: Can gender identity or orientation change? Do I need permission to be gay? Are some sexual orientations and gender identities better than others? What does LGBTQ mean? What’s with the Pride Parade anyway?
These are videos aimed specifically at families, friends, staff and other people who support folks with cognitive disabilities. Everyone is welcome to check them out, but they deal mostly with the role supporters can play in sexual health. How we show up for people can make things easier for them, or much harder.
In a 2017, a research team in the UK interviewed people with cognitive disabilities about their experience with romantic relationships, dating, marriage etc. Every single person interviewed who was in a romantic relationship of some sort could point to specific ways their support network had helped them find and / or maintain that relationship. Likewise, people interviewed who were frustrated at not finding a relationship often pointed to ways in which people in their support network had stood in their way.
As well, studies around the world show that people with cognitive disabilities are at increased risk of experiencing sexual abuse. Having a person or people in their lives with whom they can have frank conversations about sexual health topics is a key factor in reducing their risk of abuse.
While it may not be easy or comfortable to engage with folks we support around these topics, the benefits can be profound. And the good news is, we don’t have to be perfect at this – or even feel confident – to make a big difference. These videos and resources show where we can find reliable info, and give some ideas on how to start those awkward conversations.
Want to be in a Real Talk video shoot?
We’re always looking for participants to be part of our next video shoot, where folks have conversations on dating, love, relationships and sex.