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🌈 SaMoPRIDE: Doing the Right Thing Right for Transgender Customers
June 18, 2019
by Christopher J. Smith
Scott Turner Schofield, pictured above, has conducted hundreds of trainings around gender diversity and inclusion since 2002.
The City of Santa Monica has adopted an online eCourse that is at the forefront of training courses that welcomes transgender users to safely use changing rooms and facilities at the City’s swim and recreation facilities, including the City’s Annenberg Community Beach House. This first-of-its-kind training is part of a larger commitment from the City to ensure safe and respectful access to City facilities and services for everyone.
California law supports people in honoring their own authentic gender identity in choosing which changing rooms they use. While this is the law, it is not something that everybody has experience with, so education is necessary. Many of us grew up in a time before LGBTQ+, and before we understood the differences between sexual orientation and gender. It is confusing, and our understanding continues to grow. In short, sexual orientation focuses on who you are attracted to; gender speaks to how you identify as a person. Both sexual orientation and gender identity are invisible, not something you can see, even though they are very real identities that every person has. In addition, some transgender people may never be able to express their internal gender identity--they may never be seen by others as the men or women they know themselves to be.
The eCourse informs employees about diverse gender identities, and the practical customer-service oriented realities of California law, allows people to use the facility that matches their true gender identity. It teaches staff how to respond sensitively to guest harassment, which nearly 70 percent of transgender people report experiencing in restrooms and locker rooms. And it certifies that front line staff know the best practices to apply to create maximum public safety and comfort for all guests.
All Annenberg Community Beach House Guest Services and Recreation staff, as well as supervisors, have taken the course as part of their regular training curriculum. The training originally launched in 2017 to recreation staff, the City is now offering the training to all staff through our internal training program, the Santa Monica Institute.
The City's training program increases the opportunity for the transgender community to safely and more confidently access City fitness facilities, allowing this population that suffers the adverse effects of minority stress the potential for better health outcomes overall. For more information on the course, please visit https://speakingoftransgender.com/courses.