A Lesson Plan from Creating Safe Space for GLBTQ Youth: A Toolkit
Purpose: To get participants thinking about their own identities and how discrimination and privilege affect their life
Time: 40 minutes
Materials: Handouts, I Am and Social Group Membership Profile
- Begin by saying, "Everyone is a member of different social groups—groups of people who have something in common. Sometimes that can be something like the school you go to or the kind of TV shows you like. We all belong to larger social groups as well—groups that involve our gender identity, race/ethnicity, socio-economic status, abilities, religion, age, sexual orientation, etc. It's important when we are thinking about how to treat others that we think about where we belong in terms of social groups."
- Say that you will now pass out a sheet of paper that will help participants think about their social groups. Distribute the I Am handout. Briefly describe the different groups to which each person belongs. Ask participants to take a few minutes to write down, or if they don't feel comfortable, to think about where they are in terms of their social groups.
- With the entire group, spend a few minutes sharing how it felt to identify in these groups. Ask if participants spend much time thinking about the groups they are a part of. Say that one thing about social groups is that, sometimes, we don't realize what benefits or barriers go with our membership in some of these groups, especially membership in a group that is dominant in society. Distribute the Social Group Membership Profile handout. Go over the instructions at the top of the sheet. Ask participants to spend five minutes individually answering the questions on the handout.
- Ask participants to break up into groups of three to discuss their own sheets. Remember that some people may not feel comfortable revealing certain aspects of their social groups. Explain that each person can be as general or as specific as they would like in the discussion and also that everyone has the right to pass on discussing any point. Conclude with the Discussion Questions in the entire group.
- What surprised you about this exercise? Why?
- What benefits did you see that you enjoy just because you belong to some groups? What problems or barriers did you see that you face just because you belong to some groups?
- What benefits did you see that others enjoy and you do not because of the groups that they belong to? What barriers did you see that others face and you do not because of the groups that they belong to?
- How do you feel about that? Should things be more equal and fair? What can you do to make things more equal and fair for everyone?
* Adapted and reprinted with permission of Jonathan Stacks, staff member at Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health and former staff at Advocates for Youth; © 2005, Jonathan Stacks.
Reprinted from Creating Safe Space for GLBTQ Youth: A Toolkit, Girl's Best Friend Foundation and Advocates for Youth, © 2005.