Chatting with Julie Miller - blog from Jade, Learner Support at IC

November 2022

On Monday (21st November), Inclusion Staff were joined by guest speaker Julie Miller, a Transgender Consultant and Professional Engineer who provided an insight into her experience living a Transgender woman gender-fluid lifestyle. Julie gave us a brief introduction on the history of gender, explaining how “gender is a grammatical term only” and when talking about a person’s sex its referring to biological differences whereas the word gender refers to self-perception. It is the characteristics that are socially constructed.

As part of the talk Julie introduced the following ideas as fundamentals when discussing gender identity, they can be broken down into three concepts: sex (physical/primary sexual organs), gender and sexual orientation. Gender identity is an internal feeling whereas gender expression is about communicating gender. When discussing a mismatch between body and gender this is referred to as ‘dysphoria’ which means ‘unhappy’. In 1998, the Human Rights Act was passed, determining “a right to develop your personal identity”. Later, in 2004, a Gender Recognition Act was passed that gives people “the legal right to live in their acquired gender” (from the Department of Health Website) and gives them the ability to apply for a new birth certificate.

Talking with Julie gave insight into the different obstacles that trans people face, as well as how we can provide support for them. When working with learners, it’s important to be able to provide this support and to understand their perspective further. Providing students with a safe space to be themselves and express themselves comfortably is an important value of Inclusion Hampshire.