Advancing Gender-Inclusive Services

Do you sometimes feel confused or overwhelmed by trying to keep up with evolving language and experiences regarding gender and sexuality? This article aims to provide some easy to understand information that will help ground our conversations about (and work to improve) gender-inclusive services.

Note: there is a helpful terms list here; use it when you run into a word you don’t understand!

In this article I will discuss three concepts -- gender essentialism, the gender binary, heteronormativity -- and the ways they limit our ability to provide gender-inclusive services. I will briefly reference relevant law and policy that affirm we must provide services to survivors of all genders. And I will present some practical suggestions for improving accessibility for people of all genders, particularly those who are not cisgender women. Keep an eye out for a webinar expanding on some of this material.

The foundation of our advocacy work is promoting self-determination and safety for survivors. We generally understand the need for our services stems from the use of patriarchal and misogynistic violence, and other forms of oppression (ableism, racism, homophobia, etc) exacerbate the harm caused. We are committed to upholding the dignity of each and every survivor, regardless of gender, race, language, income, disability, etc; these are the anti-oppressive values from which we strive to do our work.

However, sometimes our advocacy work is impeded by the lingering, often unstated, even unconscious, belief in what is called gender essentialism: the view that women and men are fundamentally and permanently different on a biological level. One of the places this shows up is the mistaken belief that transgender women are actually men, and should not be allowed in spaces historically or currently intended for women. This is incredibly harmful to inclusion, healing and uplifting for trans women, many of whom experience incredibly high rates of violence. As United States Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta reminded us last summer in a powerful address, “transgender women are women; they live, work and study as women.”

Be a presenter at our 2017 conference

We are now accepting workshop proposals for our next annual conference, to be held on June 5th-7th, 2017. 

UPDATE: The deadline has been extended to 9:00am on Monday 1/30.

UPDATE: The submission deadline has passed. The application forms remain available for download here for reference purposes only.

  Download packet (ZIP)

Purchase Marie Ernst soaps; support OCADSV!

With each purchase of a Marie Ernst (link is external) Beauty Bar, $2 will be donated directly toward the Oregon Coalition’s efforts of establishing a flexible fund for survivors of abuse across the state.

Marie Ernst Beauty Bars are a creamy cleansing dual-purpose interlocking soap where one side gently exfoliates, moisturizes and polishes your skin and the other scented side moisturizes and beautifies your entire body. In addition to being great for your skin, they are all-natural, hypoallergenic, paraben-free, cruelty-free, phthalate-free, vegan and sustainable, protecting our environment with no use of microbeads that pollute our streams and oceans.

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The Gift of Peace

Now through December 25th, buy paper doves at any Jacksons Food Stores location to support the Oregon Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence.

Proceeds from the Give the Gift of Peace Campaign benefit our public policy and legislative efforts to increase and improve services for domestic violence survivors. Recent victories like the enactment of statewide confidentiality protections for survivors and legal privilege for advocates were made possible in part by these funds, so please give generously!

Oregon housing crunch catastrophic for many domestic violence survivors

The severe shortfall of affordable housing throughout Oregon, particularly in the Portland metropolitan area, has been catastrophic, for none more so than individuals and families fleeing domestic violence. Government agencies and community-based social service providers work tirelessly to connect people with emergency shelter, transitional housing, and other programs to restore dignity and self-determination. However, the number of individuals and families in need far exceeds the number of units available. 

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