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Sexual, gender minority workshop coming to Peace country

A workshop heading to the area aims to start the conversation on sexual and gender minorities and bias. Alberta Health Services will be holding the workshop in Peace River and Grande Prairie on the 29th and 30th. AHS Diversity and inclusion Lead Marni Panas says she thinks it’s important to bring the topic of transgendered people and bias to places like these.

“Here’s a really great opportunity to talk about that because we know there are people who experience discrimination and who experience the negative impacts of bias in all communities.”

Panas will be hosting both events. Each workshop will cover two topics including a discussion on bias and strategies to reduce it as well as sexual and gender minorities and how to better work with and support people who identify as those minorities. Panas says when people feel safe they are free to be who they really are.

“We can create environments where the people around us can bring their whole selves because we know somebody who brings in their whole self is happier more productive and the community benefits from that.”

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As a transgender woman herself, Panas says she hopes that sharing her story with others will help people connect with her and maybe help to end some of the discrimination.

“Being transgender happens to be one adjective of many that describe me…To me, the best way of reducing discrimination is to get to know people who are different than you. So here’s an opportunity for people who may not have had that chance before to truly get to know a transgendered person.”

The event in Peace River will be held on October 29th at the Catholic Conference Centre. People will need to register ahead of time by calling Peace River Mental Health.

The workshop in Grande Prairie will be held on October 30th from 4 to 6 p.m. at Grande Prairie Regional College in Room D208. Registration is not required.

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