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Psychological Safety is Complex but not Impossible

Last week I shared a test I did with CHAT GPT. I asked it to answer a challenging question. I asked, “How to create psychological safety for transgender people in bathrooms and change rooms while preserving safety for all others.” This question was asked of me recently by a prospective client, so here is a summary of what I touched on in my answer.


The answer always exists in moderation between extremes.
– Cynthia Fortlage, Founding CEO, CAF Services

As the quote suggests, I don’t believe either extreme has the right approach to this so far. My observation indicates this issue is directed primarily at transgender women.


This misplaced fear is perpetuated by media reporting false information based on opinion and the F.U.D. Factor.


Some consider it an opinion that how you look determines your gender. We see this with cisgendered women challenged in bathrooms and changing rooms because they do not look feminine enough. Male perpetrators do not need to transition to be able to attack women, and they already do it regardless.


I do approach this with my own biases;

- I have had medical intervention (Oestrogen) for the past seven years

- I opted to have nine surgeries in 7 months

- One of those surgeries was Gender Confirmation Surgery (G.C.S.)

- Canada acknowledges my authentic gender

- I have a Gender Confirmation Certificate from the U.K.

- I have the privilege of passing in public

- I was the national board leader for a feminist organisation


This is my journey, and my experiences do not reflect what others may choose to do as part of their journey. Refer to the WPATH guidance if you want to know more.


I believe the answer to creating psychological safety is complex but not impossible. These are a number of the factors I consider, along with my board and corporate leadership and lived experiences.


Acceptance without Understanding

  • Acceptance without Understanding teaches us to accept each other as human beings first. We are so complex that others can not understand our journey. We are all unique human beings on our journey in life.


Legal Implications, Rights & Rulings

  • Laws are created to establish rights. Decisions by the courts are interpretations of the law that demonstrate rights when the law is unclear.


Rights & Privilege

  • In modern democratic states, a privilege is conditional and granted only after birth. By contrast, a right is an inherent, irrevocable entitlement held by all human beings from the moment of birth.


Bias & Allyship

  • You cannot change what you don’t know.

  • You cannot change what you do not acknowledge.

  • Allyship is using your power & privilege for the betterment of marginalised people.


Intentional Culture

  • Creating an Intentional Culture with values, behaviours, and language must come from the top but be experienced throughout the organisation. It is developed through the lifetime of an organisation, not in a month, quarter, or year.


Psychological Safety Creation & not Weaponising

  • The creation of a psychological safety culture is an inherently values-driven endeavour. The value of inclusion is a fundamental building block. Culture itself is the manifestation of the behaviours.


So what’s the answer, a culmination of all of these factors that I share in a new lecture launched on 15th February 2023.


Lecture Synopsis:

How do we create psychological safety for our transgender community without excluding the psychological safety of others? (In communal spaces/change rooms/lavatories). Both organisationally and at individual manager levels?


This is the question we will explore together in this lecture.


They say you can’t change what you don’t know. Through this class, we will raise your conscious awareness so that you can begin to do the work necessary to ensure you are not contributing to the oppression of others and perhaps even become an ally for them.


We will discuss many aspects that directly impact a transgender person’s psychological safety, including the laws involved, rights, privileges, bias, and many other elements. Along the way, I will share some stories to help you grasp the concepts we are discussing.


Join us for this engaging session with knowledge sharing and some answers that may provide a perspective you haven’t thought of yet.


If you are interested in sharing this lecture with your organisation, connect with me today!


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