Have you ever stopped to think about what gender and gender identity means?
Have you ever considered that it may be more complex than male or female? That’s exactly what we explored at the Media Justice Fellowship 2023 Advanced class, which took place on the 10th of March, 2023, in Lagos, Nigeria.
We brought together a diverse group of eleven legal practitioners, journalists, and media professionals from different states in Nigeria. The program aimed to create a safe and inclusive space where participants could learn, share their perspectives, bond, and talk about what gender means and how people identify themselves.
Over five days, we explored various topics related to gender and gender identity; it was broken down into pieces that a layperson could understand; it covered a wide range of topics, including the historical and cultural context of gender identity, the impact of social norms and expectations on gender expression, and the challenges and discrimination faced by individuals who identify outside of traditional binary gender categories. It was an eye-opening, fun, and very educational session.
The program provided an opportunity for participants to learn, reflect, and connect with others who share their commitment to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion.
It featured expert speakers and facilitators who shared their knowledge and experiences on various topics. The interactive presentations and discussions encouraged participants to ask questions, share their perspectives, and converse respectfully.
“The training positively impacted me because I am now better informed on various sexual orientations, gender, and gender identity. Professionally, I am also more informed on how best to render legal services (pro bono) in case of any human rights violations for these special classes.” – Khadijah.
“The training has taught me a lot. First, I should ask for people’s pronouns so I do not misgender them. I have learned that no two-person experience is the same. I now know that you should not judge people by how they choose to express themselves, This training has made me question my use of language in storytelling, and I have much to learn. That is what I have realized.” – Itoro Glory.
MJF brought about close bonds, laughter, and friendships over six days. Tears of joy overflowed as the program ended, and one thing the fellows picked out was, “Before you assume anyone’s gender, kindly ask questions or inquire about their pronouns.”
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