Understanding gender inclusiveness and diversity

JACKSON, Wyo. — If you’re confused about what’s going on with gender today, you’re not alone.

Just last year and seemingly ahead of the curve, Merriam-Webster announced “they” as its 2019 word of the year. The busy four-letter word now has an official addition definition, and henceforth serves as a singular third-person pronoun referring to a person whose gender identity is nonbinary.

It is just one of the ways culture is changing rapidly right before our eyes. Have you met someone who uses the pronoun ‘they’? Have you seen boys wearing makeup? Do you understand what a nonbinary gender is?

We might be a little slow on the uptake in Wyoming but tonight brings a chance to get up to speed quickly.

Today, many of us are learning to think about gender in very different ways. Many youth take a more expansive and inclusive view on gender than ever before.

Stephanie Brill. Courtesy photo.

A free community presentation entitled, Understanding Gender and Youth Today, will take place tonight, Thursday, February 27, in the auditorium of the Teton County Library. The event is scheduled to run from 6 – 8 p.m. It is co-sponsored by Jackson PFLAG, Gender Spectrum, and the Jackson Hole Community Counseling Center.

Event organizers are calling it a rare opportunity to hear from Stephanie Brill, a leading national expert, author and speaker on youth and today’s evolving gender understandings.  It will be a dynamic presentation and an opportunity to learn about gender diversity and have questions answered.

“We hope this presentation and discussion will be a catalyst for our community to continue to work together to improve inclusion, fairness and equality for everyone who calls Jackson home,” said Mark Houser, coordinator for Jackson PFLAG.

Earlier in February, Brill, along with Matt Stech, presented a three-hour workshop to 40 mental health providers, entitled Ethical Foundations of Gender Inclusive Counseling and Social Work. The workshop established basic understandings of gender diversity and approaches for applying them to professional practice.

“There is a generational divide in our understandings of gender. To truly support the youth of today and to ensure their wellbeing, the adults in their lives need a more nuanced understanding of gender diversity,” Brill said. “This evening can help create a roadmap for understanding the complexities of gender and lay a foundation for deeper connection with the children and teens of today.”

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