4. Visibility and Sensitivity

The aim of this lesson is to challenge commonly held beliefs and ideas about others, including gender and sexuality.

In the following video, we examine how our environment and the people in it can inform our behaviour and decision making.

(To read along click here.)

In Canada, autonomy and civil rights are protected. So why then, even in this country where opportunity and fair play are championed, do these assumptions, judgments and biases exist? Is there a difference between egregious criminal behaviour and information about sexual preference, religious affiliation or ethnicity—are they the same? How are they different?

In the following video, a dramatization demonstrates some of the challenges that ignorance, insensitivity and negative beliefs and ideas related to sexual orientation and gender identity can present for individuals in the workplace. As you watch the video, consider the significance of visibility and sensitivity. Reflective questions are provided below the video.

(To read along click here.)

A vital part of sensitive communication is: don’t assume! Much unintentional insensitivity can be avoided if we try our best to not make assumptions about others.

In the next video, Mikiki, HIV/AIDS Harm Reduction Outreach Educator, Queen West Community Health Centre, discusses some of the strategies people can engage in to raise consciousness and become more educated in this area.

(To read along click here.)

In the video Mikiki normalizes the idea of feeling discomfort with what we don’t know and might not understand, and suggests that it is helpful to “get comfortable with the discomfort” and identify areas where our understanding may be lacking. In other words, instead of focusing on knowing or understanding everything, we can instead focus on getting to know the individuals that we meet, work with, and treat, and trying to understand them on an individual level.

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