More than 15,000 individuals have completed Trans Care BC's Introduction to Gender Diversity learning module since it launched only two years ago.
This short (under one hour, on average) online course, offered free of charge, introduces key terms and concepts of gender diversity, along with basic strategies for creating welcome and accessible gender-affirming services.
Introduction to Gender Diversity
was originally offered to British Columbians, but since its launch, non-profit organizations, public agencies and companies across Canada have made the course a part of their training. Recent adoptees of the module include the Nova Scotia and Newfoundland health authorities, LifeLabs and more.
“It is important to know about people’s preferences, identities and pronouns. It is who they are, and making sure to respect that is vital.” - Course registrant
Trans Care BC’s Education Project Manager, Gwen Haworth, was the primary content developer of the module. She constructed the original module and is now maintaining the content as updated information becomes available.
“I'm grateful for the uptake and supportive responses we've received for the courses,” says Gwen. “It's an added bonus to know they're also being actively used out of province.”
Meeting a need for online, on-demand courses
The idea of an online course for a broad range of registrants originated from smaller, more local in-person sessions that Gwen led in the past.
“The course felt like a natural extension of the in-person facilitation work I did for five years at a program at Vancouver Coastal Health’s Prism Services,” Gwen recalls. “I appreciated the opportunity to facilitate in-person inclusion workshops. However, I also recognized the limited reach these workshops had, as they weren’t typically offered province-wide, or on demand.”
“As a health-care provider, I often feel uneducated in how to speak to gender-diverse individuals. After [completing this course], I feel a little more educated on how to proceed in the future.” - Course registrant
Gwen recognized the growth potential of having an online platform that would be accessible from any geographic location, and instead of potentially being at odds with other regional efforts, would contain general elements that would balance and complement these other learning styles. Learners wouldn’t be limited by time, space and location for the online introduction, while the in-person sessions sharing supplementary knowledge could be done closer to home.
“That's where the online courses are a complementary addition to other forms of learning,” Gwen says. “Courses like Introduction to Gender Diversity can deliver foundational content to learners when and where it suits learners best, allowing live-training sessions to be used for more in-depth content and interactive forms of learning, sharing, and development.”
“We need to all feel accepted, and with a little knowledge we can help others feel more comfortable and safe.” - Course registrant
To recognize their efforts, Trans Care BC’s Education Team won a PHSA+ Team Award in 2020 for creating the Introduction to Gender Diversity course and additional educational initiatives.
Perhaps not surprisingly, feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
“[The course] was easy to follow and offered small changes that could be made in daily practice, all of which would promote inclusion, respect, diversity and positive experience for all,” noted one registrant, in a survey done upon course completion.
“I found the course kind to learners and there was no shaming for not knowing,” wrote another learner.
More course options, and how to register
All courses offered by Trans Care BC are available here
. There is no charge for registration, and the modules can be taken through PHSA’s Learning Hub (which provides registrants with a certificate upon completion), or as one-click access (no completion certificate).
For more information, please email Trans Care BC’s education team at firstname.lastname@example.org