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Toward Understanding...Some of Us are Lesbian or Gay

Rationale

This activity attempts to sensitize participants to the difficulties society imposes on gay and lesbian youth and provides participants who have questions about sexual orientation with suggestions for finding support for themselves.

Audience

Senior high school

Time

One class period

Goals

To help participants:
  • Evaluate the messages they have received about homosexuality and about people who are lesbian/gay

  • Consider the impact that being lesbian/gay has on the life of a person growing up in this society

  • Identify ways that a person who is lesbian/gay could find support

Materials

  • 5" x 8" file cards
  • Pens and pencils

Procedure

  1. Explain that sexuality education classes often proceed as if everyone in them were heterosexual. This activity is designed to give all of us a chance to think about the fact that some people are homosexual (attracted to people of the same gender) or bisexual (attracted to people of both genders).

  2. Distribute a 5" x 8" card to each participant. Explain that what they write on this card is confidential. They will not need to show the card to anyone unless they choose to do so. They will answer some questions on the card and will then have a chance to talk about the questions. They will talk only if they wish to and only about what they themselves choose to discuss.

  3. Draw a large rectangle on the board. Read each question aloud. At the same time, put the question on the board in the place representing the place on the card where students should put their answers. Suggest they answer quickly. The first ideas that come to their minds are the ones that best reflect their real feelings.

  4. Read the questions. Watch for students to finish writing their answers on their cards before reading the next question.

    1. What are the first three words that come to your mind when you hear the word "homosexual? "

    2. Think back as far as you can. What were the major messages you received about homosexuals/homosexuality? Can you remember any particular incidents? List three "messages."

    3. What are three ways you think life is different for people who are homosexual or bisexual?

    4. What are three major concerns you would have if someone close to you confided that s/he is lesbian/gay?

    5. What are three ways people who are, or who believe they may be, gay or lesbian, can find support?

At the conclusion, the board will look like this:

             
 

3 Words About Homosexuality

 

3 Messages You Received
About Homosexuality

  1.
2.
3.
  1.
2.
3.
 
 

3 Ways Life is Different for People
Who Are Homosexual/Bisexual

    1.
2.
3.
   
 
3 Ways Gay/Lesbian Youth
Can Find Support
 

3 Concerns if Someone Told
You They Were Gay/Lesbian

  1.
2.
3.
  1.
2.
3.
 

  1. Divide participants, at random, into groups of four. Explain they will have 10 minutes to discuss any parts of the exercise they choose. Remind them:

a. No one has to talk unless they wish to.

b. Everyone should have a chance to speak.

c. Listen actively to each other.

  1. After 10 minutes, give a two-minute warning. Then call participants back together.

  2. Write "I learned that…" on the board and ask participants to turn their cards over and complete the sentence three times by writing what they learned.

  3. Ask for volunteers to read one of their "I Learned" statements. Explain that there will be no discussion of their responses.

  4. Ask for ways youth who are gay/lesbian can find support. List these suggestions on the board. Ask participants which of these resources they think would be most helpful and why. Have hotline numbers and community resources ready; if policies permit, write them on the board.

From Teaching Safer Sex by Peggy Brick. ©Copyright 1989 by Planned Parenthood of Greater Northern New Jersey. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved. To order a copy of The New Teaching Safer Sex, please visit: http://www.sexed.com/teachsafersex55BK.htm.

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