Statement Regarding Transphobia & Gender Justice

by | Mar 23, 2022 | POINT OF VIEW

Statement Regarding Transphobia & Gender Justice


Trans and non-binary communities are facing relentless legislative attacks, as well as discrimination and violence, around the world right now and throughout history. Black, Indigenous, and other trans feminine people of color bear the brunt of this systemic violence. Many of our friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues cannot safely live as their full selves. Until the day comes that the human rights and dignity of all people to live openly and authentically are assured, justice will be incomplete.

SE International is not on the right side of that history. But we intend to get there.

The truth is, we’ve had and are still having a really challenging time eradicating transphobia from every corner of our organization. There is a long history of isolated incidents that make up a pattern of harm we deeply regret. We’re aware of the problem, we’re working on it, and we also recognize that we’ve fallen short of addressing it for far too long.

A couple incidents recently have highlighted for us that we have a lot more work to do than we realized, and that the work we have been doing has not been sufficient. Some individuals from the SE community have worked hard to hold us accountable, at great personal cost, and we are indebted to them. Some community members and some of our staff and faculty are working hard to create safer spaces for people—we’re indebted to them, too. One of our core values is Community: to cultivate trust and safety through acceptance, equity, inclusion, and unity; ultimately, we haven’t lived up to that. We know that our training spaces must be safe for people to express themselves in their full identities, and we know that at times that training container has not been safe for our transgender and non-binary students, assistants and others. Today, we commit to living and championing these values and working toward repair and reconciliation with the SE community.

We cannot discuss gender justice without considering race, class, and disability, because systems of power and prejudice are intersectional in their impact. We need to take a hard look at our organization and how we have contributed to the harm caused to many students, assistants, and clients over time and across the spectrum of identities and experiences. Starting immediately, all our faculty, board, staff, and other employees will have mandatory, annual anti-discrimination and anti-harassment training, and successful completion of it is a requirement of continued employment. This is in addition to the trainings that we are already offering and will be adding to. Last summer, we hired our first Director of Training and Faculty Relations, who is bringing education and accountability to our faculty and training staff. We’re putting rigorous evaluation plans in place for all employees, which include assessment of how we each live out—or don’t—our organizational values through our roles at SEI. Over the course of the last year, we’ve institutionalized accountability and created access to recourse for those who may experience harm at SEI through our Code of Ethics, Standards of Practice and Grievance Procedure. We’re also updating our SE certificate program curriculum to include modules on systemic and generational trauma, so that our students are prepared to create their own welcoming, inclusive practices that understand the trauma of oppression in expanded ways.

As practitioners of SE, we understand individual trauma and we're committed to improving our understanding and teaching about collective trauma. We also understand healing. We understand that healing from trauma is possible, and we know what we need to do to create a safe container for healing. It's through this strength and deep knowledge in the power of our work to restore, repair, and build resilience that we view healing within our community. We look forward to sharing more with you about the decisions we’re making and paths we’re pursuing, and we welcome your feedback and questions along the way.

Thank you for holding us accountable to grow and learn. We’ll work to be worthy of your trust and to build and strengthen this community to be one where gender diversity is always welcomed, valued, and fostered. If you’d like to reach us to share your thoughts and experiences, we’d love to hear from you at listening@traumahealing.org.