Zen Shiatsu Support Structure for Transgender, BIPOC Students and AAPI community:
- Revision of course materials to use gender-neutral nomenclature. In physiology “male” is replaced with “XY chromosomal individuals” and “female” is replaced with “XX chromosomal individuals”. In Chinese Medical theory coursework, texts that associate Yin with “feminine” and Yang with “masculine” are interrogated and unpacked, to try to find the meaningful associations that are irrespective of gender identity or chromosomal biology.
- Fully gender-neutral bathrooms. Zen Shiatsu labels bathrooms according to Evanston ordinance, but makes the further distinction that any restroom that ZSC is required to label “men” or “women” is functionally gender-neutral.
- Gender-neutral client files, Pronoun Use. There is no gender/sex question on our shiatsu client files. Pronouns are gathered on client files. Instructors are trained in pronoun introductions and affirmation of correct pronoun use in all classes.
- Representation. Trans, BIPOC and AAPI graduates with educational backgrounds or expressing strong interest in teaching are actively recruited to join the instructional staff as openings emerge.
- Anti-bias training. Zen Shiatsu works with faculty inservices to provide vocabulary training in non-violent communication and and understanding of the effects of colonization, structural racism and structural gender prejudice.
- Interrogation of Cultural Appropriation: Zen Shiatsu actively interrogates the cultural transmission of Asian Bodywork Therapy, seeking to provide a clear historical lens of the Japanese teachers and influences that shaped Zen Shiatsu, and the ways in which the tradition was accurately and inaccurately transmitted. Asian people and cultures have been subject to appropriation and an “othering” misrepresentation historically, and Zen Shiatsu seeks to avoid and interrogate any such misrepresentation through accurate scholarship. This involves using primary-source histories such as Akinobu Kishi’s Life in Resonance and Shizuto Masunaga’s shiatsu histories outlined in his translated correspondence courses, and interviews with instructors who had direct experience with these teachers.
- Individual Support: With the above structural supports in place, Zen Shiatsu seeks to determine whether students feel supported as trans, BIPOC or AAPI students. This initially involves querying whether a student feels a check-in phrased in this way is helpful. If so, support at the individual level is the same for all students. Students need the opportunity to express the support that they need, and for administration to provide that support. If students know that they are invited and encouraged to express their needs, the atmosphere of support can be assumed and provided.
Zen Shiatsu Material Actions for the Healing of Community Trauma
Support of the Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community: In recent years, hate crimes against Asian American / Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities have been on the rise. Zen Shiatsu stands firmly against any such anti-Asian sentiment. Through our clinic and wellness class offerings, we seek to offer direct support to communities that have been the victims of anti-Asian violence and rhetoric. This includes special access to wellness classes and clinic services designed to relieve the physical effects of stress and trauma.