Reflections on the Parents Gender Sensitivity Workshop

13 December 2017

Parents of elementary and high school students of Valenzuela City recently attended “Nanay-Tatay Teacher” training camps organized by the city government on November 15-16, November 16-17 and November 27, and facilitated by Synergeia mentors.  We are pleased to see many parents in attendance–there were 150 to 200 participants per workshop schedule – – and we are so heartened by their commitment to become better “teachers” of their children at home.

One activity that was quite interesting was on gender sensitivity.  Parents were asked what comes to mind when describing a “man,” “woman,” “lesbian” and “gay.”  Here are some of their responses:   A   female is the home maker  and  carer of the family, loving and affectionate, emotional,  submissive  and a nagger.  The male is the breadwinner  and   head of the family: superior, domineering, and physically strong, hardworking and responsible.  On the other hand, a lesbian  is  labeled as  macho, demonstrative, generous, possessive, and tends to be the jealous type.  A  gay person  is described as flirt, creative,  loud, has a happy disposition, soft-hearted, and sociable.

While having distinct roles and characterizations, gender sensitivity also means understanding and not stereotyping what a man, woman, lesbian and gay can do or feel.  With Sir Wacky’s guidance, one group reflected that a woman is caring but  a man, by being the provider for his family, shows care to his loved ones.  The characteristic of caring for another also came up when this group described a lesbian and a gay.

Teaching children to be gender sensitive and avoid biases might be tricky but one mother shared how she did it with her four sons while they were growing up.  She insisted that each of her sons took his turn washing the dishes, and that the chore was not solely their only sister’s.  Simple trick, this mother said, but it worked for her four sons!

A participant from Councilor Rovin’s group said that Filipino culture during the early times was not accepting  of  the third sex.  Fortunately, this has changed and there is now greater acceptance of  homosexuals  as  they are.  We see their talent and  creativity in many fields like fashion, arts,  entertainment, media   and  beauty care  industry.    However, this has not come easy.  A participant   shared about  her  gay nephew who used to be bullied  in school.   The  parents talked to the school’s  guidance counsellor and insisted on their child’s right to express himself as the normal thing to do.  The offender was  sanctioned by the school authorities and eventually, the school  community stopped ostracizing gay or lesbian students.

The  lesson   that  came  out  of  the  workshop   was  any person, regardless of  sexuality,  should be  considered , treated   and valued  equally.

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