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Andi delivering training to a room of people sat in comfortable chairs
January 11, 2021
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Morning all! I hope that you had a relaxing weekend for those for whom weekends are a thing and for those of you who were working then I hope your shifts went well. After last week’s dramatic news it was nice today to wake up to a flow of current affairs that seems more Januarylike: a bit dull, a bit depressing but also full of hope. Like everyone else, I expect, I read the news about the large new vaccination centres with a lift to my heart, whilst I feel that perhaps I have settled into this new norm I’m still not convinced that I like it. So it was great to meet with Sam Pavey from Pramacare last Thursday on Teams and plot out some training sessions for their senior leadership team with the hope that in a couple of months we will be able to deliver the training face to face, albeit in a covid-secure way.

Chatting with Sam, and looking forward to talking with James Greenwood from University of the Arts London this week has got me to thinking about all the various topics we cover in our training. Our standard training is three hours for trans awareness. An opportunity for delegates to gain insight into the experience of being gender diverse. We start with some of the basics like why on earth are pronouns even important and what names mean before opening up some theory around the development of gender identity and why transition looks different for everyone, we explore social and medical transition and close with a review of cheap tricks to make someone a good ally. I love delivering this training course, almost a year ago I spent two days at the University of Southampton in Glen Eyre halls training their residences staff, and it was lovely to watch close colleagues discover new ways of thinking about themselves and the students in that safe, shared environment. Being trans is simply an aspect of who one is and it’s great to be able to break down some of those walls that create denial and discrimination, to open up a space in people to bring out their best ally using the wealth of knowledge built up in Chrysalis over the years.

For those who want to delve deeper, those who are creating policy and adapting services to really deliver on their values of inclusion, respect, understanding and person-centred care we build specialised training packages. The training sessions I remember best are those where the trainer took the time to understand the group, something about our roles and took us through practical examples so we could develop our own best practice, so at Chrysalis we make that a central part of our full training and consultation package. Sam and I met for a virtual coffee and we talked about the work that Prama and Prama Care do, how we could engage with the trainees and how to ensure that everyone took away practical and personal gains from the day. There is so much knowledge here in Chrysalis, we know what it is like interacting with the world that makes life challenging, but we also know what the successes look and feel like, we know the power of authenticity and how to celebrate those small actions and shifts in thinking that really create inclusive workspaces.

Chrysalis exists to break down the barriers of isolation, those barriers we create within ourselves and those society puts up. We do that by bringing people together, by creating safe spaces for them to relate to each other, to experience each other and to experience themselves. Safe spaces to try things out and find out information, spaces where there are no stupid questions because if you’ve asked the question it is important to you and most likely others were thinking it too, you are just the brave one for speaking out. Our safe spaces are respectful and confidential and it is these values that we carry over into our training. We are here to give you some more tools to become the best you that you can be, we work from the assumption that everyone is striving to be better and quite frankly if you’ve come to training it’s because you want to know something more, that you are starting from the place of being a good person. We believe in you.

If you are interested in finding out more about our standard or bespoke training then drop Dawn a message on info@chrysalisgim.org.uk, we’d love to work with you.

I opened this blog with a recognition that it had been a quiet week, here’s hoping for a few more of those, a gentle flow into the new year with less news than we’ve been used to. I’m going to close with one of the biggest changes that lockdown has wrought on me. I’ve actually become someone who spends time in the garden, growing stuff! If you know me you know that I’m better usually at destroying things and spending weekends out and about and so it has been good to have so much time at home. Our apple tree had been sadly neglected over many years and thanks to advice from a good friend and fellow reenactor I got up the courage to give it a haircut, Alison I hope you’re reading this. I’m hoping that this year we will get actual edible apples rather than deluges of not quite ripe but going to fall off the tree anyway fruit. Keep your fingers crossed that the tree appreciates this work, I’m taking it on good faith that at least some of my efforts are valued as I was allowed to climb the tree and didn’t get ejected!

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