Photo: Christine Locher

Inclusion: Creating and holding the conversation space

Last week at Learning Technologies (#LT20UK) I was one of the moderators in a #barcamp session. Here are some of my reflections post-event.

I volunteered to speak about nonbinary gender identity — mine. Choosing a mixed approach, deep personal storytelling, safely fig-leafed with a helpful framework. I spoke about identifying as nonbinary and what that meant for me over time, the reactions I got because of that, the near-loss of career and the lack of data around gender identity. Sharing my own story felt risky. It was the first time I had spoken about this to a bigger group, and while I’m not in the closet, I also don’t wave it in people’s faces.

There were a few factors that made it feel “safe enough” to take the step of sharing it that evening. I will share them as I believe these to possibly be helpful to support deeper, personal storytelling in the inclusion space:

  1. I knew enough people in the audience were going to be open enough to the cause, given this was voluntary and tapped into an existing community, the audience wasn’t random and chose to be there. I knew and trusted the host, and I knew some of the other contributors.

I had a good experience that evening. I got a ton of love and support, very good questions and lots of personal follow-up messages about what this has sparked for others, personally or for better understanding others in their vicinity. Something has started.

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