methods of education on lgbti

On Thursday we had a session on methods of political education on lgbti+ topics. We also talked about methods of empowerment and methods of fascilitation and evaluation.

how to educate others

"Living Statistic" / Scale / "Invisible Line"
  • explain the floor as a continuum from "I agree" to "I disagree", the middle is "indifferent" or "I don't know" or "I don't want to say"
  • ask a question / make a statement e.g. "Bisexuals are just confused"
  • let the participants take their position on the cintiuum in the room.
  • ask one person of the biggest group why they choosed to stand there.
  • ask others if they want to explain why they choosed thier position
  • you can non-judgemental hints like "can you be sure that icebears are completely white?"

"The Weight of the words"
  •  this game is an icebreaker. And it also shows the bias of expressions. Usually there are far more words for "gay". You can discuss this fact.
  • make a chart with 4 columns: gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans
  • let the participants collect expressions and sware words for each of the columns
  •  compare
left handed
  • ask who is left-handed (uses left hand to write)
  • ask who knows someone who is left-handed
  • ask who knows someone who is lgbt
  • talk about visibility of lgbti

imagine you were a LGBTI person

Ask the participants to visualize in detail thier life as a LGBTI person. Guide them through the different aspects of thier life.

Scale of normal / not normal
  • Declare a scale in the room, e.g. one corner is "normal", the opposite corner is "not normal". 
  • Hand out terms like gay, bi, trans, BDSM, asexual, heterosexual.
  • Let the participants put the terms on the scale.
  • Have a discussion about normativity.
  • Beware: Even teachers often do not reflect on normativity and don't question the scale.

thearte of the oppressed

A method of playing a conflict and finding solutions or enhance understanding for the situation.
Takes time. Plan at least one hour for one play and discussion.
See Forum Theatre on wikipedia

TV show: guess who is the gay person

I think this was in Portugal where they have TV Shows, in which the audience guesses who of several candidates is gay. The audience is allowed to ask questions. The positive outcome can be to see how ordinary gay people are and how absurd the questions of the audience can be. That heterosexual persons can be easily suspected to be gay and that there is not such a big difference as assumed.

publications on methods:
  • method pack by "all equal - all different"
  • "my gender book"

Quiz on gender topics

  • Make quiz with facts on LGBTI issues. 
  • For example: How much higher is the suicide rate of gay and lesbian youth than heterosexual youth?
  • Answer: 4 times higher.

living library
  • books are people from stigmatisised groups
  • people can come, choose a book from the catalogue, talk to the person, ask questions
  • this method is criticised as kind of a zoo, but it is powerful.
  • People ask absurd questions because they simply don't know better.
exercise: "first time in love"
  • Exercise: "In love for the first time", translated from „zum ersten Mal verliebt“ by Queerformat
  • Target: Sensibilisation for support for heterosexual partnership from the family and the society and the lack of support and the resulting invisibility of lesbian and gay partnerships
  • Duration: 20-30 minutes
  • Group size 8+
  • Introduction:
    This Exercise will enable us to consider some implicit messages that our surrounding sends us, and see how these messages support our relationships or not.
    Please draw a template with two collums with y and n.
    In your mind go back in time when you were about 16 years old. Remember your specific life situation. Where ans with whom did you live, what your oom looked like, with whom you went to school, who were your best friends, which hobies and intrerests did you have? Which books and movies did you like?
    Please imagine you would have seriously fallen in love three month ago and now you have a happy relationship with a person. (Alex)
  • Dividing the group in same sex and differrent sex.
  • I will ask several questions, if you can answer the with yes count a Y, if you answer no count a N.
  • Reading out the questions
  • Count Yes answers
  • All stand up
  • Who has 20 yes can sit down, 19, 18, …
  • Get together in pairs
  • Exchange about your experiences during the exercise.
  • In plenary: some remarkable topics of the pair discussions.

1. Can you talk about Alex with your parents or close relatives?
2. Can you bring Alex to your home?
3. Can you bring Alex to family parties like anniversaries, weddings or new years eve?
4. Is it okay for your family if you introduce Alex as your partner?
5. Will persons who know about your relationship let you do babysitting?
6. Do you think that your friends will accept the relationship?
7. Would you go with Alex to a party in the youth club or your school prom.
8. Can you tell your friends what you did at the weekend and with whom?
9. Can you go across the school area holding hands?
10. Is your form of love talked about in the lessons?
11. Can you talk with your best friends about your relationship with Alex?
12. Can you hug and kiss Alex when you go out with a group of friends?
13. Can you be sure not to be bullied or injured because of your sexual orientation?
14. Can you talk to a lewader of your youthgroup or community when you have problems in your relationship?
15. Do films in the TV or cinema show relationships as yours?
16. What about songs of your favourite music?
17. Do you know teachers, friends of your parents or youth leaders with the same sexual orientation?
18. Do you know peers with the same sexual orientation?
19. Celbrities?
20. Can you marry Alex later if you want to?

Gender Gumby

Somewhat advanced exercise that requires either some basic understanding of the differences between (assigned) sex, gender identity and gender expression or enough time to work these categories out with the group. See one example of a work sheet (with a useful list of the “take home messages”) here.
Those facilitating the exercise can share and talk about their own “gender pattern” in order to make it easier for participants to open up (without pushing anybody of course). A second step should mention further differentiations such as ‘intended’ vs. perceived gender expression (> a guy can feel perfectly manly in a skirt and still be labeled “femmy”), romantic vs. sexual attraction and sex vs. gender identity vs. gender representation etc. of the people someone feels attracted to. Questions for discussions may include: Which of these traits are visible, which are not? Which kinds of ‘mismatch’ (in regard to gender norms) can expose a person to discrimination and harrassment, in which situations, and what are the consequences? Has awareness and social acceptance of variations on any of these levels changed recently? Why? Is the scope of accepted behaviour/appearance in some categories different for (persons perceived as) women and (persons perceived as) men? …

Instructions for the Game „the fortress“ (we did this at LSVD)

Goal: emotional experience of privilege and exclusion, automatic group dynamics, more empathy for anger, ignorance and “invisible” discrimination
Age: best to play with ages 14 and up
Group size: min.8, max. 25-30
Material: circle of chairs
Duration: min. 30 minutes
Game instructions:
  1. Depending on total group size, a group of volunteers (3-6 pers.) is asked to leave the room with the facilitator. The volunteers are taken to a place, where they cannot hear the rest of the group and are given the instruction “Please try to integrate, when I take you back to the room. In the meantime, please wait here.” Important: No further instructions!!
  2. The facilitator returns to the room and gives the big group following instructions:
    1. Find an interesting topic to discuss
    2. The two most common words of the discussion must be replaced with others (Example: politics=circus, debate=laugh)
    3. The group agrees on one of the two words to be the cue to move one seat to the right.
    4. Additionally the group chooses a sign that the currently speaking person must use while speaking, for example touching their hair or grabbing their nose
    5. Important: as soon as you have practiced the rules, leave the room to get the volunteers without any further instructions!!
  3. Take the volunteers back and keep quiet. Stay out of the game, observe interesting dynamics and try not to get involved.
  4. You can set a time limit, but usually it is better to let the dynamics unfold. You can of course pause the game if people get hurt, but feeling uncomfortable is part of the game.
Group discussion:
Focus on the emotions! There are no right and wrong emotions, and they will be very different. Try to be a good model in validating the emotion and perspective of the speaking person and add a personal paraphrase of what you appreciate most about their contribution. Encourage honest answers!
Start with the minority to highlight the feeling of exclusion:
  • How did you feel (ask about insecurities and resources) in the course of the game (change of emotions?)
  • How did the big group react to you (did they notice?)
  • Did you get in touch with the other volunteers
  • What was your strategy (observing, clown, aggression, refusal, acting normal, being invisible, trying to get in personal contact, building a minority community,…)
  • How do you feel now

Then the majority:
  • How do you feel
  • Did you notice, that the minority was feeling … (insecure, sad, angry, annoyed)
  • Did you mean to hurt anyone (important: difference of intention and impact!)
  • What did you do and why
  • What was nice about being the majority
  • Who had the power to change things in this game
  • Can you acknowledge the privilege you had
  • Can you understand frustration of minorities better now?
  • Does the privileged group “feel” the exclusion while being busy?

It is crucial not to judge in the discussion. If someone says something strange, you can repeat it in a more comprehensive paraphrase that you can agree to. As a facilitator you shape the atmosphere of the discussion.
If you feel unsure about what to talk about, you can focus on
  • Power and privilege (who has it, do you notice you have it, what do you use it for)
  • Implicit rules, how did we know what to do
  • Minority strategies (building groups, isolation of provocateurs, aggression amongst each other, leaving others behind when oneself is integrated, acceptance of hierarchy, giving up, …)
  • Majority strategies (silencing system disturbers, scolding helping majority members, going along with the masses, being “too busy” for revolution, impatience for minority, intention and impact, …)
  • Real life: what scenarios do you know, to which this game applies
  • What about guilt, innocence, well-meaning, helplessness

how to empower ourselves

normal activities for lgbti youth in a safe space
  • where they don't have to think or talk about their sexual orientation

role models
  • seeing lgbti persons who have a life, conquor their dreams, be what they want to be
  • tell the world that we exist

guerillia swimming
  • going to the public swimming pool, having non-normative bodies, having fun, building alliences

expression methods for empowerment
  • e.g. street art

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