The instructional footage is part of an online sexual harassment prevention training module created by the NYC Commission on Human Rights. All city employees are required by law to take the instructional course.
Private businesses in the Big Apple must also make their employees undergo similar training, although they are not required to use the materials offered by the city. The training must be completed once a year.
The online module contains 164 slides and requires the participant to answer a series of true or false questions about sexual harassment. But the most eye-catching aspect of the training comes towards the beginning of the interactive lesson, which features a video about gender and introduces concepts such as gender identity, cisgender, transgender, and what it means to be ‘non-binary’.
The video provides a multitude of scenarios and examples to educate city employees about the ins and outs of gender.
For starters, “society” simplistically defines others by “looking at their reproductive organs” and then deciding if they are male or female, the video explains, which is apparently a big no-no.
The video then cuts to a scene showing a pregnant woman receiving a sonogram and shouting in excitement: “It’s a girl!”
Another woman then interjects: “Well, actually, it’s more complicated than that.”
The instructional footage then defines a list of terms, such as non-binary, but cautions that these words can mean different things to different people.
“For me that means that I don’t identify as either a woman or a man,” one person says to the camera. “And for me that means I don’t identify with a gender at all,” says another individual.
There is also helpful advice for “cis men” who may feel boxed in because they are both biologically male and identify as men. A long-haired man wearing a bow in his hair and sporting a feminine necklace and shawl explains in the video that there is no correct way to express masculinity or femininity.
“If you’re a cis man do you need a plaid shirt? Bulging muscles? To have no room for tears? To love sports? No. This might work for some and not others. Why? Because there’s no one way to express masculinity or femininity. That’s for you to decide,” he says.
But if you’re still confused about where you fit on New York City’s gender identity spectrum, you may be out of luck. The video ends by declaring that “you understand your identity better than anyone else.”
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