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Homophobia and The Social Construction of Gender A Curriculum for Late Adolescence to Early Adulthood Travis Sky Ingersoll
Homophobia & Gender 2 TABLE OF CONTENTS Page
Educational Philosophy Purpose of Curriculum Target Population Setting Format Number of Participants Seating Arrangement Introduction Overall Goals Lesson 1: Sex vs. Gender Lesson 2: Little Boxes Lesson 3: Exploring Homophobia and Heterosexism Lesson 4: The Shoes of Another Lesson 5: How Gender Presentation and Homophobia Intersect Evaluation Responding to Opposition References Appendix A: Sample Ground Rules Appendix B: Sex vs. Gender Exercise
4-5 5 6 6-7 7 7 7 8-10 10 11-18 18-24 24-30 30-36
37-44 44-46 47-49 50-54 55-56 57
Homophobia & Gender 3 Appendix C: Terms and Definitions Exercise Appendix C: Part II Appendix D: Terms and Definitions Related to Sexual Orientations Appendix D: Part II Appendix E: How Do YOU Feel About Homosexuality? Appendix F: Myths and Realities About Homosexuality 60 61-70 66-67 68-69 58 59
Appendix G: The Language of Sex (Heterosexual Questionnaire) 70-71 Appendix H: Likelihood That Person Will Get Picked On 72
Appendix I: Facts and Myths About Anti-Homophobia Education 73-74 Appendix J: Course Evaluation Form 75-77
Homophobia & Gender 4
Educational Philosophy This educational curriculum is based on a foundation of progressive ideology. The information and lessons presented throughout, represent modern, scientific and pragmatic approaches to dealing with homophobia and heterosexist gender ideologies (Sears, 1992). It is the author’s position that social problems, like homophobia and sexism, can best be addressed through educational interventions based on sound reasoning and unbiased logic. By addressing the issues of homophobia and socially constructed gender ideologies through a progressive lens, this psycho-social educational intervention aims to foster critical analysis of sexist ideologies, thereby working to combat sexism and homophobic violence. Being that students learn in a variety of ways, this curriculum incorporates many different teaching methods. As suggested by Silberman (1998), educators should utilize a variety of different teaching methodologies including: in-class presentations and debates, smallgroup discussions and projects, role-plays, simulations, and case studies. Of particular emphasis in this curriculum is the use of small group/team work and discussion exercises. “Placing participants in teams and giving them tasks in which they depend upon each other to complete the work is a wonderful way to capitalize on their social needs. They tend to get more engaged when they are doing it with their peers. Once they have become involved, they also have a need to talk with others about what they are experiencing, which leads to further connections” (Silberman, 1998, p.7). As an educator and as a life-long student, I understand the utter importance of developing
Homophobia & Gender 5 critical thinking skills in students. In my opinion the best students are those who question everything presented to them. In order to truly, and effectively educate, teachers need to not only instill factual knowledge, but engender affective realizations as well. This educational curriculum is meant to create lasting changes in the way participants’ understand the world around them, as well as to provide important factual information about homophobia and the social construction of stereotypical gender roles. As a progressive educator, it is my belief that an educator’s duty is not only to present the facts, but to engender positive change within those they teach. In the case of this educational curriculum, it is my hope that the changes in cognitive and affective understanding of students will lead to positive social change, with regard to the devastating affects of homophobia and sexist gender ideologies.
Purpose: This curriculum has been designed as a way to facilitate critical thinking about gender as a social construct (Bornstein, 1995; Feinberg, 1998), and how the strict enforcement of dichotomous gender ideologies contribute to homophobia (Boylan, 2003; Jagose 1996; Katz, 2006). Through education and group interactions, this curriculum aims to foster individual growth, empathy of others, and a deeper understanding of how the social construction of gender ideologies affects us all. Although a primary motive of this curriculum is to lessen limiting and separatist gender attitudes, the overall purpose of this curriculum is to combat homophobia and the various deleterious effects it has in people’s lives.
Target Population: The material in this curriculum is at times cognitively dense, so
Homophobia & Gender 6 should be used with populations able to comprehend concepts such as, “gender as a social construction.” A recommended age-range would be 14 to early 20s. Ideally, this curriculum should be used with high school students and first to second year college students. Most adolescents, by their last years of high school have developed great interest in sexual topics and activities (Bruess & Greenberg, 2004). In this age group, topics such as homosexuality, homophobia and gender ideologies are developmentally appropriate (Sexuality Information and Education Council of the US, 2006).
With regard to college aged populations, Bruess and Greenberg (2004) state that, “some people are surprised that sexuality education is still needed at the college level, but student ignorance is widespread. Fortunately, since institutions of higher education are relatively free from harassment from anti-sexuality education forces, they can approach sexuality education with honesty and thoroughness.” With college aged students, it is important for the educator to not only give information about sexuality, but to help them integrate sexuality issues into their own lives as well (i.e., make the material personally relevant). However, the lessons herein would be suitable for any other adult population, or even for younger students involved in “gifted” school-based programs. The rationale for this is that exploring gender as a social construct, and relating gender ideologies to homophobia’s utilitarian effectiveness, requires a sophisticated level of abstract thinking.
Setting: This curriculum can be use in a variety of education settings, including high school and college classrooms. The lessons could also be utilized separately, in group therapy/support environments, workplace trainings, and after school teen programs to
Homophobia & Gender 7 name a few. However, the physical environment must be conducive to movement and group work. A lecture hall with immovable seats would not be ideal.
Format: This curriculum is designed to be conducted within five 90-minute sessions.
Number of Participants: 15-25 Rationale for number of participants: The lessons in this curriculum require a great deal of sharing and group work, so having a large class (over 30) could be undesirable. Having a class, that is too large, may intimidate some students from sharing/participating. In addition, this desired number of participants falls in the range of the average high school classroom size (The Heritage Foundation, 2008).
Seating Arrangement: The seating arrangement would ideally be in the form of a horseshoe, with the educator in the front of the class between both legs of the U-shape.
Rationale for time: The lessons are 90 minutes in duration to provide enough time to facilitate class activities and give time for processing. Because the average attention span is typically shorter than 90 minutes, the lessons have been broken down into segments to keep people’s interest.
Homophobia & Gender 8 Rationale for seating arrangement: “The virtue of the U-shaped layout is that participants can see each other while a traditional teacher-in-front presentation is going on. Whenever the trainer wants to break into full group discussion, participants can interact face to face without having to move. The arrangement is also convenient for handing out materials as the need arises; the trainer simply moves into the U and gives a stack of handouts to participants at each side of the horseshoe. If the room is large enough, participants can pull away from the tables and form small groups (Silberman, 1998, p.219-220).”
Introduction Although nothing new to North American culture, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia have been at the root of a great deal of violence among adolescents and young adults in recent times (Burrell, 2008; Wooten, 2008). A tragic example of this shameful reality took place on February 12, 2008 in southern California, when a 15 year old was shot in the head by a 14 year old classmate. The reason for his death; he was openly gay, dressed in “girls” clothing and wore make-up (Lee, 2008). This increasing violence against nonheterosexuals is alarming, and necessitates greater attention given to the subjects of homophobia and gender ideologies in learning environments (Mills, 1996; Wooten, 2008). When the term “homophobia” was first coined in the 1970s, it was described as a mental disorder, a condition relating to the irrational fear of homosexuality or homosexual people (Van der Meer & Herdt, 2003). Over the decades, this definition of homophobia
Homophobia & Gender 9 has evolved to include all of the negative feelings and attitudes that people have about being gay or bisexual (Symanski & Carr, 2008; Wickberg, 2000). Although common among both sexes, men and women have been found to experience homophobia for slightly different reasons. According to Basow and Johnson (2008), women who scored high on homophobia tended to disagree with sex role egalitarianism, held authoritarian attitudes, and perceived stereotypical feminine attributes as being of great importance to their personal sense of femininity. Homophobia among men, on the other hand, is mostly related to the cultural expectations of masculinity (Claasen, 2000; Kimmel, 1996).
Homophobia plays a significant role in maintaining patriarchal power structures (Claasen, 2000). In U.S. culture, the social construction of masculinity and femininity has been formulated and promulgated in a way, that highly values “masculine traits,” while devaluing “feminine traits.” To be masculine is often seen as being strong, powerful, dominating, unemotional and violent, whereas being feminine is often viewed as being sensitive, maternal, submissive, passive, and weak (Kimmel, 1996). American males are pushed to separate themselves from all that is feminine in order to prove their “manliness” (Szymanski & Carr, 2008). This societal pressure often manifests into violence against women, gay-bashing and homophobia. In fact, being homophobic and participating in gay-bashing is often viewed as a rite of passage into “manhood” by many young males (Finlay & Walther, 2003; Kimmel, 1996). Because male homosexuality is often erroneously associated with femininity, it violates the strict gender norms of traditional masculinity (O’Neil, 1981; Symanski & Carr, 2008). Homophobic bullying destroys lives. Avoiding discussions of homophobia, homosexuality, and sexist gender
Homophobia & Gender 10 ideologies can help foster a culture of intolerance and non-acceptance, thereby allowing violence against non-heterosexuals and women to flourish (Mills, 1996). It is vitally important for students to have a solid grasp on the important, but often ignored issues of homophobia, heterosexism, and the way that culturally-enforced gender ideologies contribute to violence against non-heterosexuals (Hillier & Harrison, 2004). The following curriculum is not intended to force anyone to accept a specific point of view, nor is it meant to attack those with opposing viewpoints. Rather, it is intended to challenge homophobic students’ to examine their attitudes towards homosexuality through critical analysis. By challenging students’ views on homosexuality, and educating them about the ways in which gender is socially constructed, this curriculum hopes to help engender empathy and understanding, while decreasing violence based on homophobia and sexism. It should be noted that this curriculum is based on the educated, albeit biased, view of the author regarding the intersection of gender and homophobia.
Overall Goals By the end of the Homophobia and Social Construction of Gender workshop, participants will be able to: 1) Recognize the differences between gender and biological sex. 2) Examine some of the ways in which the sociocultural dichotomization of gender, influences individuals and society. 3) Identify various contributing factors regarding homophobia within our society. 4) Discuss how the social construction of gender fuels homophobia. 5) Understand and explore the realities of being gay, bi or trans in the United States. 6) Explore their own feelings about the sensitive topics of homophobia and gender role ideologies.
Homophobia & Gender 11 Lesson #1: Sex vs. Gender (90 minutes) Goals and Objectives Goals: - To raise students’ understanding about the differences between “genetic sex,” “anatomical sex” and “gender.” Objectives: - Students will complete an in-class questionnaire that matches sex and genderrelated terms with their correct definitions. - Students will discuss their viewpoints about the various terms and definitions presented. Materials Poster Board or Butcher Block Paper Masking Tape/Craft Tape Nametag Necklaces Chalk or Dry Erase Markers (depending upon the writing surface available) Gender Terminology Worksheets (Appendix C, one for each student) Lesson Plan Welcome/Ice-Breaker (30 minutes) Welcome students to the workshop, and provide a synopsis of the material to be covered. Before the class begins, the instructor will emphasize that this curriculum is not meant to prove anyone right or wrong. What it hopes to accomplish, is to encourage critical thinking about a topic that has been relatively ignored in the class-room environment. Post ground rules, discuss each one, and ask students to contribute their own ground-rules (Appendix A: Sample Ground Rules). Giving students the opportunity to add their own ground rules for the class, will encourage engagement in the process (Hedgepeth & Helmich, 1996). It is also advisable to offer individual time with the instructor after class, in case students need to further process the feelings that are brought up by the material presented.
Homophobia & Gender 12 Students will then be given nametag necklaces. They will be asked to think of two things about themselves that people might not know by simply looking at them. Students will be instructed to stand up, gather in the middle of the room, and introduce themselves to another student (first their name, and then two things about themselves), and then exchange their nametags. Students will then be instructed to continue introducing themselves to other students, not as themselves, but as the person whose name tag they acquired. After each exchange, nametags will be switched. This process will take place for roughly 5-10 minutes. The students will then be asked to sit down and each person will introduce the person whose nametag they have, as well as the two things about that person that they were told. The class will then engage in a small discussion about the process.
Sample topics of discussion will include (but not limited to): 1. What did it feel like to be forced to engage with students you did not know? 2. What was it like to share aspects of yourselves that others may or may not know by simply looking at them? 3. What does this activity tell you about visual cues and how people are stereotyped?
Rationale: The purpose of the exercise is to get people up and moving, enhance group cohesiveness, and demonstrate the powerful role of stereotypes. By sharing aspects of one’s self that the participant feels others would not know just by looking at them, they are
Homophobia & Gender 13 acknowledging cultural stereotypes based primarily on visual cues. In addition, they are being primed for the educational material ahead of them.
Ongoing Homework Assignment: One-page journal regarding personal reactions to the activities and in-class discussions (after each class). Instruct students to write a one-page journal entry after each day of class. Students will be asked to reflect on their thoughts and feelings regarding the material presented in class, as well as their own and their fellow students reactions to class discussions. Journals will be handed in at the beginning of each class. The journals will not be graded, but failing to hand in journals will effect their class-participation grade. When deemed appropriate, the instructor will provide feedback and comments throughout the journals. On the last day of class, the instructor will hand all journals back to the students.
Rationale: The journals will aid the instructor in adapting classroom instructions to the class’s climate and informational needs. It is also a subjective way for the educator to evaluate the affective goals of the curriculum, and provide insight into how the class is handling the material. This information could be useful in deciding whether or not to modify or even leave out certain activities. The fact that the journals are to be handed in will have been communicated to the students, prior to class dismissal. Journaling is a way to allow students to reflect on the content and process of the sexuality education they receive, and provides a safe place to freely express personal reactions, values, beliefs, attitudes and
Homophobia & Gender 14 feelings (Hedgepeth & Helmich, 1996). This same rationale for journaling applies for the duration of the curriculum.
Activity 1: Biological Sex vs. Gender Forced Choice (20 minutes) Students will be instructed to notice three sheets of paper at various locations in the room. One will be labeled “Genetic Sex,” another “Anatomical Sex,” and the last, “Gender”. The participants will be read terms and/or descriptive statements, for which they will move to the side of the room where they feel the term or statement matches. For example, if the instructor says “testicles,” they can move to the “Anatomical Sex” or “Gender” side of the room. Students will also be given the option to stand in the middle if they are not sure. Groups will be instructed to talk among themselves about what led them to that area. Groups will then be asked to share with the other groups (if any) as to why they chose that side to stand on. The instructor will then communicate the correct answer to the students, if applicable. (Appendix B = List of terms and statements). Topics of discussion will include (but not limited to): 1. How common, in our society, it is for people to assume that gender and sex are completely related? 2. Does anyone think that one’s gender behavior is absolutely dictated by one’s genetic or anatomical sex? Why or why not? Break (15 minutes) Activity 2: Gender-Related Terminology Review (25 minutes) Students will be asked to count off from 1-4 and then be divided into four groups based
Homophobia & Gender 15 on their assigned number. Each group will be handed copies of a worksheet with terms on one side and definitions on the other (Appendix C). As a group, they will be instructed to complete the worksheets without referring to books or computers. At the front of the class, preferably on a chalk board or dry-erase board, will be two sheets of butcher block paper taped to the surface. There will be space in between the sheets to be used for drawing lines from the terms to the definitions. One at a time, the groups will be asked to send one of their members to the board to draw a line from the term to the definition. The groups will be encouraged to send a different group member up each time. Misalignment of terms to definitions will be corrected on the spot through group consensus (i.e., the instructor will ask the class what they think the correct definition is), or through instructor intervention if the group consensus is wrong. Once the activity is complete, class discussion will be required. Students will then be asked to return to their seats.
Topics of discussion will include (but not limited to): 1. Was everyone familiar with all the terms we just defined? If not, which ones were new to you? 2. Are there any other terms relating to gender that people have heard, but are not sure exactly what they mean?
Homophobia & Gender 16 A good deal of time is spent during the beginning of this class in establishing ground rules and preparing the students for the material to be presented. This is important not only for building rapport (Silberman, 1998), but also due to the sensitive nature of the topics to be covered. Homophobia is a topic often absent in educational discourse (Mills, 1996), so students may end up reacting in a variety of ways. Non-heterosexual identified students most likely will have experienced discrimination and hostility due to their sexual orientation. Participating in a class about homophobia may exacerbate their anxieties due to fears of being showcased and/or “outed” in class (Hillier & Harrison, 2004; Stombler, Baunach, Burgess, Donnelly, & Simonds, 2007). For heterosexual students and conservative religious students, addressing homophobia may challenge their personal and religious beliefs. Such students may feel that their ideologies are being attacked, and may react in defensive ways, or through disengagement (Comstock, 1991). It is important for the educator to once again emphasize that the lessons in this curriculum are not meant to prove anyone right or wrong, but to encourage critical thinking about a topic that has been relatively ignored in the class-room environment. As mentioned earlier, encouraging students to formulate their own ground rules for the class may not only build students’ engagement, but also a sense of ownership in the group process (Hedgepeth & Helmich, 1996). Activity #1 is a warm up exercise aimed at getting the class used to using sexualityrelated terms, as well as getting them actively engaged through movement and class discussion. It is likely that they will have some knowledge about the differences between genetic sex, anatomical sex and gender, however, this exercise will ensure that they have
Homophobia & Gender 17 the basic knowledge needed to address the material presented throughout the remainder of the class. Although this is a forced-choice activity, giving the students the option to stand in the middle if not sure, or even to opt out if feeling too uncomfortable, may help to create a safer classroom environment (Hedgepeth & Helmich, 1996). Activity #2 involves the technique of “think-square-share.” This grouping/peereducation technique is used throughout this curriculum. Using this technique, students are asked to get into learning groups and answer teacher-initiated questions. In this way, responses are elicited from everyone in class, while at the same time promoting involvement and active learning (Eggen & Kauchak, 2006). This activity builds upon the basic definitions explored in Activity #1. Once again, this activity not only teaches vocabulary and concepts important to the remaining curriculum, but also engages students by having them work together in a semi-competitive activity. By allowing students to correct “wrong-answers” as they are presented, this activity promotes group involvement and a sense of ownership in the process underway.
Conclusion: The instructor will thank the class for their participation. Class members will then be asked to hand in their nametags and be reminded about their journal assignment. The instructor will also inform the students of his/her availability to meet after class, in case anyone needs to talk, receive information about counseling services, or gather educational resources related to class topics. Students will then be reminded of the ground rule regarding excusing oneself from the room when needed (i.e., due to the sensitive subject matter to be covered, anytime that they feel overwhelmed, they have
Homophobia & Gender 18 permission to leave the class to cool down, gather their thoughts, get a drink from the fountain, or whatever it takes to take care of themselves). This rule applies for each and every day of class. The students will also be informed that if they (or their parents) oppose their involvement in the class, a meeting with the proper school administrators can be scheduled to discuss their voluntary withdrawal.
Rationale: By offering one’s time to process the class and provide useful resources for the students, the instructor will be working to create a safer space for students to learn and share. Knowing that the topic of homophobia and gender are sensitive to many people, the instructor should do everything in their power to assuage students’ anxieties by providing as much out-of-class support as possible. By allowing students the option of withdrawing completely, or simply stepping out of class if things get too overwhelming, the instructor may free up a great deal of anxiety about being trapped in a situation that may prove to be extremely uncomfortable. It is hoped that by providing such an option will further facilitate feelings of class safety, thereby enhancing the overall class experience.
Lesson #2: Little Boxes (90 minutes) Goals: - Students will recognize how society depicts gender roles, and in particular, the power of media portrayals in dichotomizing gender.. - Students will realize how gender roles/stereotypes are, and have been, enforced in their own lives, and in society in general.
Objectives - Students will list the stereotypical characteristics of what constitutes a real man
Homophobia & Gender 19 and an ideal woman, as depicted in various forms of media.. Students will identify times in their lives where they experienced and/or witnessed gender role enforcement at work. Students will identify the punitive repercussions of “betraying” ones’ proscribed gender roles. Materials Poster Board or Butcher Block Paper Masking Tape/Craft Tape Name Tag Necklaces (from the day before) Chalk or Dry Erase Markers (depending upon the writing surface available) Pink & Blue Index Cards or Pieces of Paper (at least 40 of each) White index cards (at least one for each student) Box of black pens Lesson Plan Welcome Back/Check-In (10-15 minutes) The instructor will begin the class by welcoming everyone back, and instructing them to retrieve their nametags from the front desk. The students will be asked what they remember learning from the previous class, followed by a quick review provided by the instructor. Any questions or concerns regarding the class thus far will be addressed and discussed.
Rationale: Talking about homophobia, sexism, and gender ideologies can bring up a variety of emotional responses in people. By beginning the class with an opportunity to discuss such feelings, addresses the sensitive nature of this curriculum, while helping to create and maintain a safe environment in which to share and learn. Activity #1: Men and Women in Boxes (30-35 minutes)
Homophobia & Gender 20 The students will be asked to count off from 1-4, and then gather into their assigned groups (i.e., 1s with 1s, 2s with 2s and so on). Each group will be given 10 index cards (5 blue/5 pink) or pieces of paper, and markers. The students will be asked the following questions: 1) According to societal standards (as represented in various forms of media), what are some of the characteristics typically associated with being a “real man?” 2) According to societal standards (as represented in various forms of media), what are some of the characteristics typically associated with being “the ideal woman?” Once the students have completed filling out their index cards, they will directed to notice the two squares/butcher block sheets at the front of the room. Above the squares/poster boards, will be the titles “Ideal/Real Man” and “Ideal/Real Woman.” The groups will be instructed to walk up to the board and tape their index cards under the assigned “boxes,” and then return to their groups. The characteristics will be read aloud by the instructor, followed by a class discussion regarding what the groups came up with.
Topics of discussion will include (but not limited to): 1. Where do you think such characteristics of “ideal” men and women come from? 2. Would anyone like to share a recent example of when they witnessed one of these idealized characteristics being enforced (or reinforced)?
The groups will then be instructed to think of the labels given to men and women who do not fit within this narrowly defined “gender box.” Each group will be given 5 pink and 5 blue index cards (or pieces of paper), and instructed to write one label per card. Once they are finished, the group members will be asked to walk up to the board and affix
Homophobia & Gender 21 those labels outside the “gender boxes” they belong to. Once again the labels will be read aloud. This activity will end with discussion/processing. Topics of discussion will include (but not limited to): 1. What relation, if any, do people think there is between gender ideologies and homophobia? 2. Did anyone notice the irony of having blue and pink index cards used for this activity? * Possible Humorous Transition Statement Question: How many real men does it take to change a light bulb? Answer: None, real men aren’t afraid of the dark! Break: (15 minutes) Activity #2: How Society Enforces Gender Ideologies (30 minutes) Students will be asked to return to their individual seats, and instructed to take out a black pen (black pens will be handed out to students without one). One index card will be passed out to each student. The students will be instructed to write about a time they witnessed or experienced an act of gender role enforcement (10-15 minutes). This would be a perfect time for the instructor to give an example or two of their own (ex. “While working for Trader Joe’s, a little boy asked me for a pink balloon. Before I could get the balloon for the boy, his mother stopped me and requested a blue balloon instead. When the boy protested, she scolded him and gave him a disapproving look.”). The students will be asked to keep the cards anonymous, and not write their names on the cards. Once they are finished writing, the instructor will collect the cards from them. The cards
Homophobia & Gender 22 will be shuffled and then redistributed to the class. If someone gets their own card back, they should not acknowledge it. The students will then begin to read each card out loud to the class, one by one. After the last card has been read, the class will be encouraged to discuss what themes they noticed, and how it felt to read and listen to all of the accounts of gender enforcement. Topics of discussion would include (but not limited to): 1. Referring to the blue and pink index cards used, how much do people see color as a genderizing agent in society? What do you notice any time you enter a toy store? What about during baby showers or in delivery rooms? 2. Has anyone here ever challenged anyone on gender role programming? What reactions did they get? Rationale: By starting each class with a short check-in, students are given a chance to talk about their issues and/or anxieties with the topic discussed. Not only does this inform the educator about the overall feel of the group, it demonstrates to the students that the educator cares about how the material presented may impact them. Once again, the students should be encouraged to talk with the instructor after class if they feel the need. Activity #1 is meant to showcase the ways in which our society portrays gender role ideologies. It also demonstrates how people are punished if they dare to behave or think “outside of the box.” This activity helps students understand how media and culture influences the way they feel about masculinity and femininity, taking some of the blame off of themselves regarding sexism and homophobia. This activity may help decrease
Homophobia & Gender 23 defensive attitudes, by shifting the focus from personal blame onto societal responsibility for the maintenance and enforcement of heterosexism, and homophobic beliefs. By having students work in small groups, students may feel safer to contribute. Having students walk to the board to tape their responses in the “boxes” not only actively engages them, but also offers a visual reinforcement of the common beliefs regarding societal ideals of men and women. Activity #2 builds off of activity one, by making the reality of societal gender role programming more personal. Student safety is protected through the anonymous nature of the activity. Knowing that there will be no way to identify who wrote what, students will be encouraged to risk more in what they write. Having the class read each index card aloud, and then discuss the process afterwards may help group cohesiveness through the illumination of common experiences. The journal homework assignment will be a way for students to safely process and analyze their own experiences within the class. It can also be an effective outlet for various emotions engendered during class engagement. The “possible discussion topics” are once again, meant to facilitate discussion regarding the overall theme of the curriculum being presented.
Conclusion: The instructor will thank the class for their participation. Class members will then be asked to hand in their nametags and be reminded about their journal assignment. The instructor will also remind the students of his/her availability to meet after class, in case anyone needs to talk, receive information about counseling services, or gather educational resources related to class topics.
Homophobia & Gender 24
Rationale: By offering one’s time to process the class and provide useful resources for the students, the instructor will be working to create a safer space for students to learn and share. Knowing that the topic of homophobia and gender are sensitive to many people, the instructor should do everything in their power to assuage students’ anxieties by providing as much out-of-class support as possible.
Lesson #3: Exploring Homophobia and Heterosexism (90 minutes) Goals: - Students will explore heterosexism and its relation to homophobia. - Increase students’ awareness of the various theories regarding the genesis of homophobia within the individual/society. - Students will come to recognize the function(s) of homophobia with regard to maintaining patriarchal power structures. Objectives: - Students will be able to list examples of heterosexism and homophobia that they personally experienced. - Students will discuss their views regarding the various research findings regarding homophobia and its relationship with gender roles/ideologies. Materials Nametag Necklaces Multi-Media Projection Equipment & Computer Poster Boards or Flip Charts (if no multi-media equipment is available) Scrap paper/Large Index Cards Markers Lesson Plan Welcome Back/Check-In (5-10 minutes) The instructor will begin the class by welcoming everyone back, and instructing them to
Homophobia & Gender 25 retrieve their nametags from the front desk. The students will first be asked how they are all doing so far. The instructor should encourage discussion about various feelings the students are having regarding their experience(s). They will then be asked what they remember learning from the previous class, followed by a quick review provided by the instructor. Any questions or concerns regarding the class thus far will be addressed and discussed.
Rationale: Talking about homophobia, sexism, and gender ideologies can bring up a variety of emotional responses in people. By beginning the class with an opportunity to discuss such feelings, addresses the sensitive nature of this curriculum, while helping to create and maintain a safe environment in which to share and learn.
Activity #1: Analyzing Homophobia and Heterosexism (30 minutes) Using a Power Point presentation or poster boards/flip charts, the facilitator will present terms and definitions relating to sexual orientation and gender identification (Appendix D). To get students more engaged, it is suggested that the facilitator call on students to read aloud the terms and definitions presented. After all of the terms are covered, the class will be asked if there are any terms, about which they need further clarification. Class discussion regarding the terms will be encouraged. The facilitator will then direct the class’s focus on the terms “homophobia” and “heterosexism,” and have them sit and think about how they are related (1 minute of silent thinking). Next, the students will be asked to take out scrap paper and writing implements. They
Homophobia & Gender 26 will be divided into similar groups of 3 or 4 based on their gender identification. Their choices for classification will be “male,” “female,” or “other.” The small groups will then be asked to brainstorm for examples of homophobia and heterosexism that they have recently experienced and/or witnessed. While the groups are working, the facilitator will either write or affix the words “homophobia” and “heterosexism” to the front board or wall. Each group will then be given four large index cards and markers. Out of the group brainstorming session, they will be instructed to choose two examples for each (homophobia & heterosexism) to be shared with the class. Once the groups are finished, they will be instructed to walk up to the board and affix their examples underneath their appropriate category (homophobia or heterosexism). The facilitator will then read each account aloud to the class. Class discussion will follow regarding common themes and reactions to the activity. Break: (15 minutes) Activity #2: What Research Has To Say About Homophobia (30 minutes) The class will be asked to stay in their assigned groups. The facilitator will then present the class with various research findings (via powerpoint or flip charts) regarding homophobia (Appendix D: Part II). After the presentation, the groups will be asked to discuss amongst themselves about what was just conveyed. A larger classroom discussion will proceed after 5 minutes of small group discussion. Topics of discussion will include (but not limited to): 1. What were some visceral reactions people had to the research presented? 2. Did any of the research presented make people think differently about
Homophobia & Gender 27 homophobia and/or heterosexism? If so, in what way? 3. What relationship did the research suggest between gender roles/ideologies and homophobia?
Homework Assignment #1: Write a “Coming Out” Letter (5 minutes to explain) Homework Assignment #2: Journal about the process of writing a “coming out” letter, and what feelings emerged while writing. For the first homework assignment, students will be asked to write a hypothetical letter to someone they care about very much. This letter is not to be handed-in or mailed out, however the students will be asked to bring in their letters for visual verification in order to receive class participation credit. In this letter, the students will be instructed to “come out” as gay, lesbian, or bisexual. Gay, lesbian and bisexual students will be instructed to write about “coming out” as being bisexual or heterosexual to someone close to them in their current family/social circle. The point of this assignment is to “come out” as some sexual orientation different than the one currently identified with.
The educator will advise students to think about the following questions before they write: What do you feel about the assignment, and why did you choose the person you did to “come out” to? How does homophobia and heterosexism play a role in your reactions to the letter and to your imagined reactions to the letter from the person it was written to? Then write the assignment including both your observations and your gender analysis (Hubbard & De Welde, 2003). It should be stressed that this assignment is for everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation. The students will be informed that their
Homophobia & Gender 28 reactions to, and thought about the process of writing a “coming out” letter will be discussed during the following session.
The students will then be instructed to complete a second homework assignment, a one to two page journal about the feelings that came up while writing the “coming out” letter. This journal will focus on the process of Homework Assignment #1, and give students a place to express any anxieties, emotions, and/or opinions they may have about it, as well as a place to voice their gripes at the instructor for assigning it.
Rationale: Activity #1 is meant to prime the class to discuss the relationships between heterosexism and homophobia. Additional related terms and definitions are given to provide a base of appropriate language to be used in the upcoming group discussions. The silent time in which to think about the relationship between homophobia and heterosexism is simply to further prepare students for the next part of the activity. In the second part of the activity, the class is grouped by their self-identified gender. Using the wording “self-identified gender,” the instructor is reinforcing one of the main points of the class (i.e., that gender is socially constructed). Although mixed gender groups would be fine for this activity, being in same-gender (or “other” identified) groupings will provide a different group environment, which may facilitate disclosure. Also, by grouping the class according to gender, the proceeding class discussion, regarding examples of heterosexism and homophobia, may illuminate gender differences in how such issues are experienced in our society. Instructing group members to walk up
Homophobia & Gender 29 and affix their examples to the board facilitates active engagement. As the examples are read aloud, the class will learn from their peers, and may even notice similarities in examples given. This process of relating one’s experiences with others may help further build group cohesiveness. The homework assignment “coming-out letter,” is meant to have students experience what it is like for a person to disclose something to a loved one, which may ultimately change that relationship forever. By having heterosexual students come out as gay, lesbian or bisexual in a hypothetical letter, they are forced to face one of the most difficult processes a non-heterosexual may face. Experiencing life from a different cultural viewpoint is a good way to build empathy in individuals. This activity also instructs non-heterosexual students to “come out” as well. This is done to show that even though a person may not be in the “majority,” they may hold onto feelings of hostility and prejudice toward others based on sexual orientation as well. This activity will not be handed in, but will be brought to class so that the instructor can verify its completion. This may be an extremely powerful exercise for people to complete. The journal assignment for the night will focus on what it was like to write the letter, and what feelings it engendered. This activity is meant to facilitate critical thinking and empathy.
Conclusion: The instructor will thank the class for their participation and willingness to share their thoughts and feelings. Class members will then be asked to hand in their nametags and
Homophobia & Gender 30 be reminded that their journal assignment for the night will be to reflect on the “coming out” assignment. The instructor will also remind the students of his/her availability to meet after class, in case anyone needs to talk, receive information about counseling services, or gather educational resources related to class topics.
Rationale: By offering one’s time after class, in which to process the class and provide useful resources for the students, the instructor will be working to create a safer space for students to learn and share. Knowing that the topic of homophobia and gender are sensitive to many people, the instructor should do everything in their power to assuage students’ anxieties by providing as much out-of-class support as possible. Extended availability of the instructor may be particularly important after this class due to the sensitive nature of the “coming out” assignment.
Lesson #4: In The Shoes of Another (90 minutes) Goal: - Students will learn what it feels like to be in the shoes of a sexual minority, or if a sexual minority, will explore their own prejudices (if any) regarding people with sexual orientations different from their own. Objectives: - Students will discuss the experience of writing a “coming out” letter, and recognize common themes among shared accounts. - Students will examine their own values regarding homosexuality, and fill out a values-clarification questionnaire. - Students will come up with examples of opposing viewpoints regarding homosexuality. - Students will share their viewpoints with each other regarding their views and values surrounding homosexuality.
Homophobia & Gender 31 Materials Nametag Necklaces Index cards Black pens Masking Tape Handouts (Appendices E, F, & G) Lesson Plan Welcome Back/Check-In (5-10 minutes) The instructor will begin the class by welcoming everyone back, and instructing them to retrieve their nametags from the front desk. After welcoming everyone back to the class, facilitate a check-in in which people can talk about how they are feeling regarding the class thus far. This could be done in a round-robin fashion, or through volunteer participation.
Rationale: Talking about homophobia, sexism, and gender ideologies can bring up a variety of emotional responses in people. By this time in the process, students may likely have experienced a range of emotions. Students may have negative (or positive) feelings about the professor and/or the class in general. Giving the students an opportunity to discuss their feelings about the class process, addresses the sensitive nature of this curriculum, while helping to create and maintain a safe environment in which to share and learn.
Activity #1: Processing the “Coming Out” homework assignment (20 minutes) Have everyone take out a black pen. Pass around index cards so that everyone has one. Instruct them to make no identifying marks on the index card. If people do not have
Homophobia & Gender 32 black pens, the instructor should provide them. The students will be instructed to write about the emotions that were brought up by the homework assignment, and/or what their thoughts were as they were writing the letter. Inform the students that this assignment is basically an abstract of their “processing” journal assignment. Give them at least 10 minutes to finish. Once they have all finished, the instructor will go around and collect all the index cards. The index cards will be thoroughly shuffled and redistributed to the class. Students will be given a piece of tape in order to affix their index card to a wall somewhere in the classroom, at a level where even the shortest class member can read. The students will be instructed to read each card to themselves, starting with the one they affixed to the wall, proceeding to the next card on their right until they complete a full circle. Students should end up where they began (i.e., at the card they affixed to the wall). After all cards have been read, students will be instructed to return to their seats. The class will then be prompted to discuss some of the reoccurring themes they noticed, as well as what feelings arose while reading what their classmates wrote. Following the discussion of common themes that were noticed during the readings, the class will be urged to talk more about the assignment. Questions to the students could include: Did any of you have a hard time writing the letter? Was anyone afraid that someone would find your letter? How much do you think learned heterosexism and homophobia played a role in your emotional reactions to this assignment? What was it like for you to imagine putting yourself into the shoes of someone who felt the need to “come out.” This processing should not be rushed. This activity has been found to elicit
Homophobia & Gender 33 powerful reactions from students, so the educator should be prepared for such a possibility (Hubbard & De Welde, 2003). By establishing effective class ground rules regarding self-care, the instructor will have already created an atmosphere where students know they can remove themselves from the situation if it gets too uncomfortable. At the end of this activity, it is advised that the instructor remind the students of his/her availability to talk after class. Break: (15 minutes) Activity #2: What Do You Feel? (45 minutes) The instructor should first preface the activity with the following statement. “Many students have confused or varying opinions about sexuality. It is important for students to identify what they currently think and feel about homosexuality and homophobia, and if possible, understand where those thoughts and feeling come from. By truly understanding the roots of one’s belief systems, a greater sense of self awareness can be accomplished.” The instructor will then distribute to each student a Thinking Yes, Thinking No chart on homosexuality (Appendix E). Students should be given about 20 minutes to fill in what they believe in accordance to the given statement, and then write one or two points on what someone who disagreed may feel. Next, each student will be handed a “Fact about Myths” photocopy (Appendix F). Each student will be asked to read the handout to themselves (about 10 minutes). Once they are finished reading, they will count off from 1 to 5. Groups will be formed based on their assigned number. It will be prompted that small group discussions will focus on what it was like to fill out the Thinking yes, Thinking No chart, what opposing points
Homophobia & Gender 34 were generated, and what they learned while reading the Facts about Myths handout. After about 10 minutes, each group will share with the class what their group discussed. This discussion will lead into a closing discussion about the day’s lessons. The instructor will then ask the students to think about the situation that many gay, lesbian, and bisexual people are in by imagining that heterosexuality is the minority. Explain that the following handout should be read with that image in mind. The instructor will then hand out copies of a Heterosexuality Questionnaire (Appendix G), to be read for homework. Homework: Journal (reactions to today’s activities) & fill out the Heterosexuality Questionnaire handout. (Some students may think of that the Heterosexuality Questionnaire assignment is a joke, therefore it is important for the educator to anticipate such reactions and make it clear that it is not) Rationale: A good deal of time is spent on processing the “coming out” homework assignment. This is done since most heterosexuals are not comfortable imagining themselves in the shoes of non-heterosexuals, so may have strong reactions to this exercise (Hubbard & De Welde, 2003). This assignment may also bring up strong feelings and reactions from nonheterosexual students as well. This may be due to a sense of re-experiencing an unpleasant “coming out” process, or because of the realization that they harbor resentment and/or prejudices based on sexual orientation as well. It is extremely important for the educator to give enough time for the class to process such sensitive material. It is also advisable for the educator to once again offer their counsel to students after class, or via email to answer any questions, or to help further process their reactions
Homophobia & Gender 35 to the exercise. It is also suggested that a list of counseling resources be made available for anyone who needs it. Activities 1 and 2 are both value-clarification exercises. According to Bruess and Greenberg (2004), “the basic purpose of values clarification techniques is to help people understand themselves and others better by understanding the derivation and use of value systems” (p.141). However, it is not the role of the sexuality educator to instill their own values unto the students they teach, rather it is their role to assist the student in dealing with value issues, and helping them to recognize and develop their own value systems. In the Thinking Yes, Thinking No exercise, having each student write a couple of points that someone with an opposing view would make, helps to foster critical thinking about the topic, for it is important for the critical thinker to be aware of both sides of an argument. The Facts about Myths handout is also aimed at contributing to a critical analysis of the topic being covered. Class discussion enables the students to share and explore the various opinions and viewpoints regarding homosexuality and homophobia, in direct juxtaposition with the facts. The Heterosexuality Questionnaire is another activity aimed at fostering critical thinking about heterosexist ideologies. Some students may think of this assignment as a joke, therefore it is important for the educator to anticipate such reactions and make it clear that it is not. By assigning it as a homework assignment, and not to be done in class, it is hoped that students will have had ample time to process their visceral reactions to it before discussing it in class. In this way, in-class safety may be enhanced. Many heterosexuals, as well as non-heterosexuals, are so inundated with heterosexist
Homophobia & Gender 36 ideologies, that the likelihood of inappropriate visceral reactions to the questionnaire is high (Fletcher & Russell, 2001). However, the safety measures taken throughout this curriculum should ensure a suitable environment for such a topic to be discussed.
Conclusion: The instructor will thank the class for their participation. Class members will then be asked to hand in their nametags and be reminded about their journal assignment for the night, and that all of their journals will be handed back to them at the conclusion of following class session. The instructor will also remind the students of his/her availability to meet after class, in case anyone needs to talk, receive information about counseling services, or gather educational resources related to class topics.
Rationale: By offering one’s time to process the class and provide useful resources for the students, the instructor will be working to create a safer space for students to learn and share. Knowing that the topic of homophobia and gender are sensitive to many people, the instructor should do everything in their power to assuage students’ anxieties by providing as much out-of-class support as possible.
Lesson #5: How Gender Presentation and Homophobia Intersect (90 minutes) Goals: - Students will develop an awareness of how visual representations of gender role ideologies impact how people are treated, regardless of their sexual orientation. - The relationship between gender ideologies and homophobia will be reinforced.
Homophobia & Gender 37 Students will reflect on what they’ve learned throughout the duration of the course
Objectives: - Students will rank the likelihood that someone will get picked on for their sexual orientation, based on their gender representation. - Students will provide a visual representation of the lessons/information learned throughout the class. Materials Nametag Necklaces Slide show/Photographs on Poster Boards Handout (Appendix H) Poster Boards Markers Crayons Glue-sticks Craft supplies Lesson Plan Welcome Back/Check-In (15 minutes) The instructor will welcome back everyone to the last day of class and instruct them to retrieve their nametags. The check-in discussion will focus on the homework assignment from the previous day’s class (Heterosexuality Questionnaire). Students will be asked what it was like to think about a world where heterosexuality was the minority sexual orientation. Students will be encouraged to talk about what they thought of it, and what emotions were elicited while reviewing the questions.
Rationale: Talking about homophobia, sexism, and gender ideologies can bring up a variety of emotional responses in people. By beginning the class with an opportunity to discuss their feelings about their Heterosexuality Questionnaire homework assignment, addresses the sensitive nature of this curriculum, while helping to create and maintain a safe
Homophobia & Gender 38 environment in which to share and learn. Activity #1: Who would get picked on? (25 minutes) The instructor should preface this activity with a transition statement such as: So far, we have explored many things together. We have looked at the way in which gender boxes us into specific forms of behavior. We have reviewed some of the research literature regarding homophobia, and we have learned a little of what it feels to be a ‘sexual minority.’ Now we are going to explore gender ideologies, in relation to one’s appearance.” In this assignment, a series of pictures will be presented to the class. The students will be asked to rate the likelihood that the person in the picture would harassed or attacked for being a gay man, lesbian woman, or bisexual man or woman. The students will rate the likelihood on a hand out with Likert scales corresponding to the picture’s assigned number. The instructor can use a Power Point slide show, or simply use printed pictures affixed to poster boards. Each picture’s corresponding number should be highly visible. The pictures should present a wide range of gender role appearances. The following are examples of the kinds of pictures to be included: stereotypically “feminine” gay man (ex., Jack on the show Will and Grace), stereotypically “masculine” lesbian woman (butch), man in drag, woman in drag, nerdy – cat-glasses female with short hair, stereotypical barbie-type sorority girl, muscular angry looking man, stereotypical macho man, stereotypical feminine woman, completely androgenous looking men and women (transindividuals), etc. First, without telling the students what is to come, the facilitator will pass out one Likert
Homophobia & Gender 39 scale handout per student (Appendix H: Example). The students will be instructed to “not” write their name on the handout. The students will be told that there will be a series of pictures presented. Each person in the picture is either gay, bisexual or lesbian. Based on their own experiences in school and in their neighborhoods, each person will rate the likelihood that the person in the picture will be harassed or attacked based on their sexual orientation. The Likert scale will range from “0” = Not likely, to “3” = Likely, to “6” = Very likely. After each picture has been rated, the class will be instructed to pass their handouts to the instructor. Students will then be asked to count from 1 to 4 and then form groups based on their assigned number. The instructor will then redistribute the handouts to the groups, so that each group receives one handout per group member. The groups will be prompted to talk about the activity to each other. While the students are discussing, the instructor will be listing the numbers of the pictures presented on a board or poster flip chart. Above the list will be the Likert scale used (i.e., 0 to 6). Once the instructor is ready, s/he will call on each group to relay the scores they have. The instructor will gather the scores in chronological order, and make marks under each score for each picture shown. For example, as the students relay the scores given for picture #1, the instructor will make marks for each score given to each picture. In the end, there will be a visual representation of the overall class scores for each picture presented. The most common scores for each picture will be circled. Class discussion about the activity, and what was shared in the group will follow.
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Topics of discussion will include (but not limited to): 1. If you were not told ahead of time that each picture represented a person who was gay, lesbian, or bisexual, would you have known they were just by their appearance? 2. What do the results of this little survey say about the way people are judged in our society (in particular, with regards to one’s gender)? 3. Has anyone here witnessed discrimination of others based on their gender presentation, or their sexual orientation? How did you feel when witnessing that kind of discrimination? What this activity aims to do, is once again, highlight the connection between homophobia and gender ideologies. This time it is done through the examination of societal expectations of one’s appearance, in relation to one’s assigned gender. What will likely happen is that the pictures portraying socially accepted gender presentations will score lower than pictures portraying gender presentations incongruent with stereotypical representations of masculinity and femininity. Regardless of how the scores play out, this activity will likely stimulate productive class discourse. As reviewed numerous times throughout this curriculum, if individuals become too agitated or anxiety filled, they will be allowed to leave the class for a brief time to cool down and collect their thoughts. Break: 5 minutes Activity #2: What Have You Learned? (45 minutes)
Homophobia & Gender 41 In this activity, students will be asked to stay in the groups they formed during the last activity. They will then be directed to notice the piles of construction paper, glue-sticks, markers, crayons, and miscellaneous craft supplies brought in by the instructor. There will be one large poster board for each group to use. It is advisable for the instructor to bring extra poster boards in case of need. The following instruction will be given to the groups: “This final activity will call upon all of the information we have reviewed, and knowledge we have shared with each other since this class began. Each group will create a visual representation of what they feel are the most important lessons their classmates should take away from the class. There are no exact guidelines for this project, and you can use any of the materials I supplied, or even materials that you may have on you. Once finished, each group will present their poster to the rest of the class, with a description of what is being displayed.” Groups will have 20 minutes to complete their poster. The presentations will be followed by a closing discussion.
In closing, the instructor should thank everyone for their participation and encourage them to meet with them after class if they need to talk about the material presented. A work email could also be provided as another means of contact for processing. A class evaluation form (see Appendix J) will then be handed out, regarding the class as a whole, and the effectiveness of the educator. Rationale: By having students imagine a world where heterosexuality is a minority sexual
Homophobia & Gender 42 orientation, and then being confronted with the same kinds of questions that nonheterosexuals are faced with, this activity aims to increase empathy and foster critical thinking regarding heterosexist ideologies. Some students may think of this assignment as a joke, therefore it is important for the educator to anticipate such reactions and make sure to make it clear that it is not. The reality is that such hurtful questions and remarks are all too common in the collective experiences of non-heterosexuals, and a critical analysis of such attitudes are important if we ever hope to lessen hate-crimes based on sexual orientation. Activity #1, “Who would get picked on?” is aimed to connect all that has been learned about gender ideologies and homophobia, and make that information relevant in the students lives. Students are asked to think about their own experiences in school, and in their neighborhoods, and imagine how people would react to the people showcased in the slide-show. This exercise demonstrates visually, how gender role ideologies, such as what one wears and how a person presents themselves, impacts how they are treated by others, regardless of their sexual orientation. Non-heterosexuals who can “pass” as straight, and particularly those who visually emulate the most stereotypical representations of masculinity and femininity, often are treated less harshly than those who disobey/betray culturally constructed gender ideologies (Clarkson, 2006). This reality is the same for heterosexuals who do not obey societal gender rules. Heterosexual men who do not portray themselves in hyper-masculine ways, are often subject to much criticism and harassment (Van der Meer & Herdt, 2003). This exercise is meant to concretely connect socially-constructed gender ideologies with homophobia. The anonymous nature of the Likert scale questionnaire is once again utilized as a protective
Homophobia & Gender 43 measure, as well as a way to elicit more honest answers. Small group work facilitates peer-education and increases the likelihood of optimum intellectual exchange (Eggen & Kauchak, 2006). Revisiting the class ground rules, and allowing students to take a break from the process if things become too anxiety provoking helps to create a safer environment. Activity #2, “What have you learned” is primarily an evaluation project. It is meant to give the educator an idea of the curriculum’s effectiveness in having the students critically think about gender ideologies, and how they relate to homophobia within our culture. It is also meant to be a cathartic release for the students, by allowing them to have a little fun at the end of the process. By encouraging creativeness, and supplying a variety of materials to work with, the class is not only provides with a fun form of “art therapy,” but also a way to bond with their fellow classmates while sharing the information they found most important. Allowing the groups to present their posters to their peers, not only facilitates peer-education, but also provides a visual representation of what they learned to the educator. The final closing discussion is meant to bring the class back together and remind them of the journey that have all just shared. It is also a time to remind them that the educator is there to listen talk to if further processing is needed. Depending on the industrious nature of the educator, a table of information packets and resources could be set up for students who would like to explore the topics covered, or explore related topics on their own time. The information resources will have been gathered by the instructor ahead of time, and would have already been made available to students to retrieve since the end of class #1.
Homophobia & Gender 44 In addition, by giving the students a chance to evaluate the class, and the effectiveness of the educator (see Appendix J), the educator not only empowers their students, but also collects information and feedback necessary to improve one’s skills (Hedgepeth & Helmich, 1996).
Evaluation Evaluation is an important aspect of sexuality education and should be applied throughout the educational process, to the learners, as well as to the sexuality educators (Bruess & Greenberg, 2004). Regardless of the setting one teaches in, evaluation is important for many reasons. According to Hedgepeth and Helmich (1996), reasons for evaluating include: “To help learners assess their own learning; to help learners review the information, concepts or messages that were covered in the lesson or course, and to reinforce what they learned; to document the effectiveness of your education efforts and give you data for revision of the program; to give you data for developing the next lessons or sessions that need to take place with this particular group; and to give you information and feedback needed to improve your skills” (p.227). Both subjective and objective methods of evaluation are utilized throughout this curriculum. By listening to group discussions and individuals’ reactions, the educator can objectively evaluate whether or not the curriculum is meeting the goals and objectives of each lesson. Most evaluation methods throughout this curriculum are based on group discussions and individuals’ intellectual contributions to class discourse. However, the
Homophobia & Gender 45 final class project is meant as an overall evaluation of the curriculum’s effectiveness in meeting the goals and objectives stated throughout. Evaluation is made subjectively through use of student journals and observations made during class interactions. This curriculum is about values, feelings, beliefs, and the attainment of factual information based on peer-reviewed research literature. Although the final class project, as well as previous group/class discussions can effectively be used to evaluate the retention of the material being presented, the affective learning taking place will most likely be found in the journals. As each day’s journals are read, the educator can witness the evolution of each student’s affective reactions to the material being presented in class. The educator can then use the information within the journals as a guide to better class facilitation. In addition, observing students during class interactions and group processing can also provide the educator with a wealth of evaluative knowledge, which can also be used as a guide to tweaking the curriculum in ways to better achieve its goals and objectives. The final class/educator evaluation form (see Appendix J) should be handed out right before the end of the last class. A student will be chosen to deliver the evaluations once everyone has completed them. This will provide the educator with important data to evaluate his/her own effectiveness, the effectiveness of the curriculum being used, while empowering the students in attendance (Bruess & Greenberg, 2004; Hedgepeth & Helmich, 1996).
Homophobia & Gender 46
Responding to Opposition Unfortunately, opposition to any form of sexuality education has a long history in the United States (Irvine, 2004). Although this curriculum focuses on homophobia and heterosexism as a means to decreasing violence and espousing empathy and understanding, certain individuals and entities may view the subject material presented as a way to enforce some kind of “agenda” upon the students. As a heterosexual adult male, and as an educator, I feel that covering such topics as gender ideology, heterosexism and homophobia are vital for the psychological, emotional, and physical well-being of the students I serve. However, I have included a list of facts and myths about antihomophobia education (Appendix I) for fellow educators to refer to if opposition presents itself. Appendix I can also be copied as a handout to be given to those who have concerns about anti-homophobia education. According to Scales and Kirby (1983), the greatest barrier to sex education was administrators’ fear of community opposition. This is not to say that there will not be any community opposition to the material presented, just that it is not as likely as people often fear. Careful preparation, on part of the educator, can do much to quell such fears. A thorough grasp of the educational topics covered, as well as a meticulous exploration of possible avenues of opposition, will effectively prepare the educator to face such challenges. It is important for the sexuality educator to understand, and be able to communicate, the dangers of neglecting such topics in educational curriculum. For instance, the educator should become familiar with the ever-expanding list of homophobia-related killings committed by teenagers and young adults in the United
Homophobia & Gender 47 States (Burrell, 2008; Lee, 2008; Wooten, 2008). In addition, when experiencing opposition, statistics supporting anti-homophobia education should be addressed. For example, the following facts could be communicated verbally, or in written form: “It has been found that non-heterosexual students are 5 times more likely to miss school because of feeling unsafe, with 28% being forced to drop out; the vast majority of victims of anti-gay/lesbian violence never report incidents due to the fear of being “outed;” 42% of homeless youth identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender; 75% of people committing hate crimes are under age 30 – and 1 in 3 are under 18 – and some of the most pervasive anti-gay violence occurs in schools; in addition, lesbian, gay and bisexual youth have four times the risk for suicide than their heterosexual peers” (The National Organization for Women, 2008). By opposing antihomophobia education, it could be argued that such opponents are actually encouraging greater suffering and violence among our nation’s teens and young adults. Religious opposition will most likely originate from misinterpretations from The Book of Leviticus (Comstock, 1991; Stewart, 1999). The educator should first demonstrate respect for an individual’s freedom of religious pursuits. However, it should be mentioned that there is a wide variety of opinions about homosexuality among various Christian and Islamic denominations, as well as among individual Christians and Muslims regardless of their denomination. In addition, some religious groups have interpreted certain biblical passages (Leviticus) as evidence against homosexuality, while others interpret those passages as condemning discrimination and prejudice (University of Winnipeg, 2008). To religious individuals opposing this curriculum, their concerns
Homophobia & Gender 48 should be noted and respected. However, it should be stressed that this curriculum is not meant to change anyone’s religious convictions, only to foster critical thinking about an extremely important issue in American society, that if addressed effectively could lessen human suffering. Parental opposition may be more likely if this curriculum is used within high schools, than if it is used in college settings (Irvine, 2002). Regardless, if any parental opposition is encountered, it should be relayed that students have the option of non-participation. Also, since this a student-centered curriculum, much of what is learned will be peer to peer. The educator simply presents factual information and peer-reviewed research. It is ultimately up to the student to decide what to do with the information they receive. In no way is this curriculum meant to change their value systems, however, it does encourage critical thinking as opposed to blind adherence to authoritarian principles. If parents are open to it, the educator could offer a meeting with them to review the curriculum before the class starts. If the parents still feel strongly that their child(ren) should not participate, they will not be forced to.
Homophobia & Gender 49
References Adams, H. E., Wright, L. W., & Lohr, B. A. (1996). Is homophobia associated with homosexual arousal? Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 105(3), 440-445. Aosved, A. C., & Long, P. J. (2006). Co-occurrence of rape myth acceptance, sexism, racism, homophobia, ageism, classism, and religious intolerance. Sex Roles, 55, 481 492. Basow, S. A., & Johnson, K. (2000). Predictors of homophobia in female college students. Sex Roles, 42(5/6), 391-404. Bornstein, K. (1995). Gender outlaw: On men, women, and the rest of us. New York: Vintage Books. Boylan, J. F. (2003). She’s not there: A life in two genders. New York: Broadway Books. Burrell, J. (2008, March 13). Queers suffer more violence. Xtra (Toronto), issue 610, p. 12. Clarkson, J. (2006). “Everday Joe” versus “pissy, bitchy, queens”: Gay masculinity on StraightActing.com. The Journal of Men’s Studies, 14(2), 191-207. Claassen, C. (2000). Homophobia and women archaeologists. World Archaeology, 32(2), 173-179. Comstock, G. D. (1991). Violence against lesbians and gay men. New York: Columbia University Press. Eggen, P. & Kauchak, D. (2006). Strategies and models for teachers: Teaching content and thinking skills. Boston: Pearson Education Inc. Feinberg, L. (1998). Trans liberation: Beyond pink or blue. Boston: Beacon Press.
Homophobia & Gender 50 Finlay, B. & Walther, C. S. (2003). The relation of religious affiliation, service attendance, and other factors to homophobic attitudes among university students. Review of Religious Research, 44(4), 370-393. Fletcher, A. C., & Russell, S. T. (Jan., 2001). Incorporating issues of sexual orientation in the classroom: Challenges and solutions. Family Relations, 50(1), 34-40. Hedgepeth, E., & Helmich, J. (1996). Teaching about sexuality and HIV: Principles and methods for effective education, New York, NY: New York University Press. Hillier, L. & Harrison, L. (2004). Homophobia and the production of shame: Young people and same sex attraction. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 6(1), 79-94. Hubbard, E. A., & De Welde, K. (2003). “I’m glad I’m not gay!”: Heterosexual students’ emotional experience in the college classroom with a “coming out” assignment. Teaching Sociology, 31(1), 73-84. International Day Against Homophobia (2008). Facts and myths about anti-homophobia education. Retrieved on July 2, 2008 from: http://www.homophobiaholiday.org/utilisateur/documents/homophobia/pdf/homopho biamyths.pdf. Irvine, J. M. (2002). Talk about sex: The battles over sex education in the United States, CA: University of California Press. Jagose, A. (1996). Queer theory: An introduction. New York: New York University Press. Katz, J. (2006). The macho paradox: Why some men hurt women and how all men can help. Naperville, Illinois: Sourcebooks. Kimmel, M. (1996). Manhood in America: A cultural history. New York: Free Press.
Homophobia & Gender 51 Krupat, K., & McCreery, P. (1999). Homophobia, labor’s new frontier? A discussion with four labor leaders. Social Text, 17(4), 59-72. Lee, R. (2008, March 7). Two gay teens killed in just two weeks. Southern Voice, p. 112. Mills, M. (1996). ‘Homophobia kills’: A disruptive moment in the educational politics of legitimation. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 17(3), 315-326. National Organization for Women (2008). Come out against homophobia! Did you know? Retrieved on July 1, 2008 from: http://www.now.org/issues/lgbi/stats.html. Negy, C., & Eisenman, R. (2005). A comparison of African American and White college students’ affective and attitudinal reactions to lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals: An exploratory study. The Journal of Sex Research, 42(4), 291-298. O’Neil, J. M. (1981). Patterns of role conflict and strain: Sexism and fear of femininity in men’s lives. Personnel & Guidance Journal, 60(4), 203-210. Rochlin, M. (1982). “The language of sex: The heterosexuality questionnaire,” as presented in Changing men. Waterloo, ON: University of Waterloo. Sakalli, N. (2002). Application of the attribution-value model of prejudice to homosexuality. The Journal of Social Psychology, 142(2), 264-271. Scales, P., & Kirby, D. (1983). Perceived barriers to sex education: A survey of professionals. The Journal of Sex Research, 19(4), 309-326. Sexuality Information And Education Council Of The United States (SIECUS) (2006). Guidelines for comprehensive sexuality education: Kindergarten through 12th grade. New York: SIECUS. Silberman, M. (1998). Active training: A handbook of techniques, designs, case
Homophobia & Gender 52 examples, and tips. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer. Stacey, J., & Biblarz, T. J. (2001). (How) Does the sexual orientation of parents matter? American Sociological Review, 66(2), 159-183. Stewart, C. (1999). Sexually stigmatized communities: Reducing heterosexism and homophobia (An Awareness Training Manual). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications Inc. Stombler, M., Baunach, D. M., Burgess, E. O., Donnelly, D., & Simonds, W. (2007). Sex matters: The sexuality and society reader (2nd Ed.). Boston: Pearson Education, Inc. Strong, B., DeVault, C., Sayad, B. W., & Yarber, W. L. (2005). Human sexuality: Diversity in contemporary America, New York: McGraw-Hill. Szymanski, D. M., & Carr, E. R. (2008). The roles of gender role conflict and internalized heterosexism in gay and bisexual men’s psychological distress: Testing two mediation models. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 1, 40-54. The Heritage Foundation, 2008. Education statistics. Retrieved on August 4, 2008 from http://www.heritage.org/Research/Education/WM134.cfm#2. Tozeland, S., Loewen, J., & Monteith, J. (2008). Teaching anti-homophobia in your classroom: An overt lesson plan for S1-S4 students. Retrieved on June 28, 2008 from the University of Winnipeg website at: http://io.uwinnipeg.ca/~cacademi/homosexuality/antihomophobia.htm. Van Der Meer, T., & Herdt, G. (2003). Homophobia and anti-gay violence: Contemporary perspectives (editorial introduction). Culture, Health & Sexuality, 5(2),
Homophobia & Gender 53 99-101. Wickberg, D. (2000). Homophobia: On the cultural history of an idea. Critical Inquiry, 27(1), 42-57. Wooten, A. (2008, February 20). Slain California Teen: Hate-crime victim? Windy City Times, 23(23), p. 1-4.
Homophobia & Gender 54 Appendix A: Sample Ground Rules 1. Everyone has the right to “pass” on activities or on answering questions they do not wish to answer. The teacher also may choose not to answer a question in front of the entire class. 2. All points of view are worthy of being discussed. No preaching; no put-downs of others’ values. 3. No question is “dumb.” Questions only indicate a desire for knowledge; they do not tell you anything else about the person asking the questions. 4. When possible, correct terminology should be used. When you do not know the correct term, use the term you know. The teacher or other students can supply the correct term. 5. No one is expected to disclose sexual orientation in class. If someone does, all orientations will be respected here. 6. No asking of personal questions to the teacher or to the class. 7. No talking about class members’ comments outside the classroom. 8. The teacher will respect the confidentiality ground rule as well, except where s/he is required by law to disclose information, for example, sexual abuse. 9. Speak for yourself. Use “I messages” to state opinions or feelings. 10. If you or people you know have a complaint about the class, come directly to the teacher to discuss it. 11. If, at any time, anyone feels overwhelmed during the class process, they have the option of briefly excusing themselves from class to calm down, gather their thought, get a drink, or anything else they may need to do for self-care.
Homophobia & Gender 55 (Source: Beyond reproduction: Tips and techniques for teaching sensitive family life education issues, Santa Cruz, CA: ETR/Network Publications, 1983. As cited in Hedgepeth, E., & Helmich, J. (1996). Teaching about sexuality and HIV: Principles and methods for effective education, New York, NY: New York University Press, p.128.)
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Appendix B: Sex vs. Gender Exercise Genetic Sex XY, XX, Chromosomes, Estrogen Hormonal Domination, Testosterone Hormonal Domination. Anatomical Sex Gonads, Uterus, Vulva, Vagina, Penis, Breasts, Ovaries, etc. Gender Male, Female, Masculine, Feminine, Macho, Girly, Blue or Pink, etc.
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Appendix C: Terms and Definitions Exercise Important Gender-Definitions: (Instructor’s Copy) Genetic Sex: refers to one’s chromosomal and hormonal sex characteristics, such as whether one’s chromosomes are XY or XX and whether estrogen or testosterone dominates the hormonal system. refers to physical sex: gonads, uterus, vulva, vagina, penis, and so on. is the gender given by others, usually at birth. When a baby is born, someone looks at the genitals and exclaims, “It’s a boy!” or “It’s a girl?” With that single utterance, the baby is transformed from an “it” into “male” or “female.”
Anatomical Sex: Assigned Gender:
Whereas sex is rooted in biology, gender is rooted in culture. Core Gender: Gender Roles: Gender Role Stereotype: is the gender a person believes him- or herself to be. are the attitudes, behaviors, rights, and responsibilities that society associates with each sex. is a rigidly held, oversimplified, and over-generalized belief that all males and all females possess distinct psychological and behavioral traits. refers to the beliefs a person has about him- or herself and others regarding appropriate female and male personality traits and activities. refers to the actual activities or behaviors a person engages in as a female or a male.
Gender Role Attitude:
Gender Role Behavior:
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Appendix C: Part II (Student Worksheet / Front Board Visual) Gender Role Behavior: Anatomical Sex: a) is the gender a person believes him- or herself to be. b) refers to one’s chromosomal and hormonal sex characteristics, such as whether one’s chromosomes are XY or XX and whether estrogen or testosterone dominates the hormonal system. c) are the attitudes, behaviors, rights, and responsibilities that society associates with each sex. d) is a rigidly held, oversimplified, and overgeneralized belief that all males and all females possess distinct psychological and behavioral traits. e) refers to the actual activities or behaviors a person engages in as a female or a male. f) are the attitudes, behaviors, rights, and responsibilities that society associates with each sex. g) is the gender given by others, usually at birth. When a baby is born, someone looks at the genitals and exclaims, “It’s a boy!” or “It’s a girl?” With that single utterance, the baby is transformed from an “it” into “male” or “female.” h) refers to the beliefs a person has about him- or herself and others regarding appropriate female and male personality traits and activities.
Gender Role Stereotype:
Assigned Gender: Gender Role Attitude:
Homophobia & Gender 59 Appendix D: Terms and definitions related to sexual orientation Homosexuality: Homophobia: Primary sexual attraction to members of the same sex. The fear of or other emotional aversion to lesbians and gay men. Prejudice or bigotry toward lesbians and gay men. Heterosexism: The explicit or implicit assumptions that everyone is heterosexual (or should be). Intersex: Lesbain: Gay: Sexual Orientation: Persons with genitalia that are not distinctly male or female. The term for a female with a same-sex orientation. The preferred term for reference to a same-sex orientation. Includes homosexual, heterosexual, or bisexual and comprises the dimensions of sexual attraction, gender orientation, and gender identity. Sexual Preference: Coming Out: This phrase suggests that sexual orientation is a choice. The process by which a person comes to accept his or her homosexuality or sexual difference from a heterosexual norm. Transsexuals: Persons who are deeply dissatisfied with the gender to which their anatomical sex is associated with. Sometimes they seek surgical and hormonal reassignment. Transvestites: Persons who choose to wear clothing that society deems appropriate for the opposite gender. Transvesticism has nothing to do with sexual orientation.
Homophobia & Gender 60 Appendix D: Part II
Basow, S. A., & Johnson, K. (2000). Predictors of homophobia in female college students. Sex Roles, 42(5/6), 391-404. “The Highest correlations with homophobia for college women were authoritarian attitudes, a disagreement with sex role egalitarianism (they didn’t believe that men and women had equal roles), their degree of contact with gay men and lesbians (i.e., the more contact they had, the less homophobic they were), and the importance of their perceived feminine attributes in relation to their personal sense of femininity. However, overall, authoritarian attitudes (i.e., adherence to rules and authority) (p.391)
“Homosexuality appears to threaten traditional family and gender-role values. Right wing authoritarianism has been found to be particularly predictive of negative attitudes toward homosexuals. People who score high on authoritarianism are committed to maintaining the traditional family structure, they feel threatened by liberalization and people who threaten their conventional values, such as homosexuals (p.392).
Sakalli, N. (2002). Application of the attribution-value model of prejudice to homosexuality. The Journal of Social Psychology, 142(2), 264-271. “This study focused on the relationship between heterosexual participants’ causal attributions for the origins of homosexuality and their attitudes toward homosexuality. Attribution theories deal with how social perceivers use information to arrive at causal explanations for events – that is, how individuals use certain cues or dimensions to form a
Homophobia & Gender 61 causal judgment. If a person experiences a negative or undesirable outcome and the cause is controllable, then the observer may hold the person responsible for the negative outcome and, consequently, may feel negative affect (e.g., anger) toward the person (p.265).”
“Our study suggests that heterosexual individuals who believe that homosexuality is learned rather than genetic hold gay and lesbian individuals more responsible for their life style. However, if heterosexual individuals perceive that homosexuality has genetic causes and that gay men and lesbians, therefore, cannot control their sexual preferences, they may not dislike or reject them as much (p.266).”
*(Highlight recent research regarding pre-natal hormonal exposure and sexual orientation. A recent news article “Gay men, straight women share brain detail” can be found at: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080616/lf_nm_life/brain_gay_dc)
Negy, C., & Eisenman, R. (2005). A comparison of African American and White college students’ affective and attitudinal reactions to lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals: An exploratory study. The Journal of Sex Research, 42(4), 291-298. “African American (n = 70) university students were compared with White students (n = 140) on their affective (homophobia) and attitudinal (homonegativity) reactions to lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals. For both ethnic groups, gender and religiosity variables significantly predicted homophobia and homonegativity. Men in both groups had higher rates of homophobia than women. There were no differences in levels between groups (p.291).
Homophobia & Gender 62 Clarkson, J. (2006). “Everday Joe” versus “pissy, bitchy, queens:” Gay masculinity on StraightActing.com. The Journal of Men’s Studies, 14(2), 191-207. “This study explores how a straight-acting gay identity is positioned in opposition to cultural stereotypes of gay men that conflate femininity with homosexuality. The perpetuation of hyper-masculine symbols among gay men may function to promote negative attitudes toward femininity, feminine men, and women. The ‘new masculine homosexual’ is not new at all, but his visibility may be the result of the increased urbanization of gay men and the growing acceptance of homosexuality in contemporary society (p.192,193).”
“Straight-acting gay men model their version of masculinity on working-class aesthetics. Furthermore, this masculinity is dependent upon a high level of anti-femininity and homophobia. The members of this community condemn any gender performances they label “in your face” gayness. Gay hyper-masculinity = they re-inscribe hegemonic masculinity through their marginalization of women and other gay men (p.191)”
Szymanski, D. M., & Carr, E. R. (2008). The roles of gender role conflict and internalized heterosexism in gay and bisexual men’s psychological distress: Testing two mediation models. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 1, 40-54. “In American culture, rigid gender role socialization and learned sexism will cause many men to experience gender role conflict. Gender role conflict occurs when the internalization of rigid, sexist, and restrictive cultural messages about what it means to be a an results in personal restriction, devaluations, or violation of self and others (p.41).”
Homophobia & Gender 63 “It seems likely that sexual minority men’s experiences of gender role conflict can lead to internalized homophobia or negative feelings and attitudes about being gay or bisexual. Homosexuality and bisexuality violate the gender role norms of traditional masculinity, in part, because male homosexuality is often erroneously equated with femininity (p.41).”
“Sexual minority men, as well as their heterosexual counterparts receive strong messages that it is not ok to be gay/bisexual and that being gay or bisexual means you are not being “a real man” if one expresses signs of personal vulnerability or deviate from these masculine gender role norms (p.41). Our findings suggest that individuals who experience high degrees of gender role conflict are more likely to internalize negative attitudes and feelings about homosexuality (p.50).”
Van Der Meer, T., & Herdt, G. (2003). Homophobia and anti-gay violence: Contemporary perspectives (editorial introduction). Culture, Health & Sexuality, 5(2), 99-101. “Homophobia is seen by many as yet another way to subjectify women by trying to eradicate everything that might be considered feminine in men. Anti-gay violence is thus a mechanism for the control of manhood. The majority of gay bashers are in their teens to early 20s. This form of macho masculinity is based in very old worries about virility, the integrity of the body, and the need to dramatically show to one’s peers, examples of their toughness (p.100).”
Homophobia & Gender 64 Hillier, L. & Harrison, L. (2004). Homophobia and the production of shame: Young people and same sex attraction. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 6(1), 79-94. “Research has revealed that growing up gay, lesbian, or bisexual can be a lonely and stressful time in comparison with the experiences of other minority groups. Of the 5000 suicides of young men and women between the ages of 14 and 24 in the USA each year, over 30% of them have been attributed to the emotional turmoil over sexual preference issues and societal prejudices surrounding same sex relationships (p.80).”
Adams, H. E., Wright, L. W., & Lohr, B. A. (1996). Is homophobia associated with homosexual arousal? Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 105(3), 440-445. “In this study men were placed into groups based on their level of homophobia, as determined by psychological testing. Two groups were examined, those who rated high in homophobia, and those who rated low in homophobia. All of the men in this study identified as ‘strictly heterosexual.’ Each participant were donned with a penile plethysmograph (a ring around base of penis to measure blood flow), as well as various instruments to measure physiological responses. The groups were shown erotic films and their physiological responses were recorded.
Three kinds of films were shown: heterosexual sex, lesbian sex, and gay male sex. Only the men who rated high in homophobia became sexually aroused to the gay male sex film. Both groups became aroused to both the heterosexual sex scenes, and the lesbian sex scenes. This study suggests that there is a connection between high levels of homophobia and repressed homoerotic arousal.”
Homophobia & Gender 65 Appendix E How Do YOU Feel About Homosexuality? Fill out the chart below according to teacher instruction Statement:
(Disagree) Thinking Yes (Agree) /Thinking No Points of Opposition
Homosexual men molest children.
You can spot a gay or lesbian person by the way they act and dress.
I’ve never met a homosexual person.
To be bisexual implies that a person has multiple partners.
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Homosexuality is a mental illness.
Christians are united in their opposition to homosexuality.
Homosexuals have many sexual partners and do not develop longterm relationships.
Homosexuals want special rights, and that’s not fair.
Homosexual people are bad parents.
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Homosexuals want to come into our schools and recruit our children to their lifestyle.
Appendix E and F were taken from: Tozeland, S., Loewen, J., & Monteith, J. (2008). Teaching anti-homophobia in your classroom: An overt lesson plan for S1-S4 students. Retrieved on June 28, 2008 from the University of Winnipeg website at: http://io.uwinnipeg.ca/~cacademi/homosexuality/antihomophobia.htm.
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Appendix F: Myths and realities about homosexuality Myth: Homosexual men molest children. Reality: This has been repeatedly shown not to be true by scientific studies. Molesting of children occurs among heterosexual and homosexual men to the same degree. The average offender is a white heterosexual male whom the child knows. Myth: You can spot a gay person by the way they act and dress. Reality: Some people believe that all gay men are effeminate and all lesbians are tomboys. While there are some people who fit these stereotypes, they are not representative of all homosexual people. Most people never suspect the sexual orientation of a homosexual individual. Myth: I’ve never met a homosexual person. Reality: Most people know a number of homosexual persons, but are unaware of it because they are ‘in the closet’. Because of intense hatred directed toward gay, lesbian, and bisexual people in our society, many are quite reluctant to reveal their sexual orientation. Myth: To be bisexual implies that a person had multiple partners. Reality: Bisexual individuals have affection and sexual feelings towards persons of the other sex, as well as the same sex. This does not imply involvement with more than one partner any more than a heterosexual person’s ability to be attracted to more than one person implies multiple partners. Myth: Homosexuality is a mental illness. Reality: While once classified as a mental illness, associations have removed homosexuality form their list of mental disorders. Numerous studies have shown that homosexuality is not linked with psychological disturbance and is in no sense a ‘mental problem’. Myth: Christians are united in their opposition to
Homophobia & Gender 69 homosexuality. Reality: There are a wide variety of opinions about homosexual persons among the various Christian denominations, and among individuals as well. Some religious groups interpret certain biblical passages as injunctions against homosexuality, while others view these passages in the light of historical context, much like slavery. Many Christian denominations have issued statements condemning discrimination and prejudice, and welcome and affirm homosexual Christians into the body of Christ, with unique gifts to offer.
Myth: Homosexual persons have many sexual partners and do not develop long-term relationships. Reality: Studies indicate that most homosexual persons value and want long-term partners and that a large proportion are involved in stable, close relationships. It is not unusual to find couples who had been together for over twenty years. Myth: Homosexual people want special rights, and that’s not fair. Reality: Basic human rights are not special rights. The right to get and keep a job based on merit, to be served in a restaurant, to have housing, or to walk safely down the street are not special privileges. Homosexual and bisexual people want the same rights that are guaranteed to others. Myth: Homosexual people are bad parents. Reality: Some people believe that children of gay or lesbian people are more likely to grow up to be homosexual. Others are concerned that these children will grow up without appropriate ethical values. There is no evidence to support either of these claims. In fact, being the victims of hate and discrimination make homosexual parents more committed to teaching their children the values of kindness and charity. Myth: Homosexual people want to come into our schools and recruit our children to their lifestyle. Reality: There have been attempts to bring ‘gay’ issues into schools,
Homophobia & Gender 70 but certainly not to convert anyone. An individual could not be ‘recruited’ into a homosexual lifestyle even if someone tried to do this. The intent is to teach adolescents not to mistreat gay and lesbian classmates, who are often subjects of harassment and physical attacks. A recent study indicates that 30% of gay and lesbian students attempt suicide around the age of fifteen - a sobering finding. Appendix E and F were take from: Tozeland, S., Loewen, J., & Monteith, J. (2008). Teaching anti-homophobia in your classroom: An overt lesson plan for S1-S4 students. Retrieved on June 28, 2008 from the University of Winnipeg website at: http://io.uwinnipeg.ca/~cacademi/homosexuality/antihomophobia.htm.
Homophobia & Gender 71 Appendix G
The Language of Sex: The Heterosexual Questionnaire
1. What do you think caused your heterosexuality? 2. When and how did you decide you were a heterosexual? 3. It is possible that your heterosexuality is just a phase you may grow out of? 4. Is it possible that your heterosexuality stems from a neurotic fear of others of the same sex? 5. If you have never slept with a person of the same sex, is it possible that all you need is a good gay lover? 6. Do your parents know that you are straight? Do your friends and/or roommate(s) know? How did they react? 7. Why do you insist on flaunting your heterosexuality? Can’t you just be who you are and keep it quiet? 8. Why do heterosexuals place so much emphasis on sex? 9. Why do heterosexuals feel compelled to seduce others into their lifestyles? 10. A disproportionate majority of child molesters are heterosexual. So do you consider it safe to expose children to heterosexual teachers? 11. Just what do men and women do in bed together? How can they truly know how to please each other, being so anatomically different? 12. With all the societal support marriage receives, the
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divorce rate is spiraling. Why are there so few stable relationships among heterosexuals? 13. Statistics show that lesbians have the lowest incidence of sexually transmitted diseases. Is it really safe for a woman to maintain a heterosexual lifestyle and run the risk of disease and pregnancy? 14. How can you become a whole person if you limit yourself to compulsive, exclusive heterosexuality? 15. Considering the menace of overpopulation, how could the human race survive if everyone were heterosexual? 16. Could you trust a heterosexual therapist to be objective? Don’t you feel s/he might be inclined to influence you in the direction of her/his own leaning? 17. Would you want your child to be heterosexual, knowing the problems that s/he would face? Rochlin, M. (1982). “The language of sex: The heterosexual questionnaire,” changing men. Waterloo, ON: University of Waterloo.
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Appendix H Likelihood That Person Will Get Picked On Not Likely 0 1 Pic #1 Pic #2 Pic #3 Pic #4 Pic #5 Pic #6 Pic #7 Pic #8 Pic #9 Pic #10 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 Likely 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 Very Likely 5 6 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6
Homophobia & Gender 74 Appendix I: Facts and Myths About Anti-Homophobia Education Sometimes people make assumptions about what is taught in schools without accurate knowledge. Misconceptions lead to emotional reactions including anger, anxiety and fear. Here are some facts to help you better understand how schools operate. Myth # 1: Teaching about homosexuality in schools condones the lifestyle. Fact #1: Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people have lives like everyone else. There is no distinct LGBT “lifestyle.” Teachers often teach about unfamiliar topics to help students develop respect for other people and to acknowledge their contributions to society. A teacher’s job is to present accurate, age-appropriate information to students. Myth #2: Teaching about homosexuality in schools involves talking about gay sex. Fact #2: Anti-homophobia education can be done in a variety of ways. Most involve no discussion of sex or sexual practices whatsoever. The only exception may be in the health segment of Personal Planning or Health & Career Education classes. Otherwise, teachers may talk about LGBT role models in history, or read a story about same gender families. They may also discuss the oppression of LGBT people and focus on stopping homophobic name-calling in schools. These are just a few examples of age-appropriate anti-homophobia education. Myth #3: LGBT teachers have a gay agenda for public schools by introducing LGBT topics. Fact #3: Teachers and principals have a legal obligation to respond to all forms of harassment and discrimination in schools. All students have the right to attend school in a safe environment – and expect to see their lives positively reflected in curriculum and classroom activities. Just as anti-racism and multicultural education have been embraced by educators as worthy topics, there is also a growing awareness by educators that anti-homophobia has to be addressed. You do not have to be a person of colour to care about racism. Similarly, you do not have to be LGBT to fight homophobia in schools or society at large.
Homophobia & Gender 75 Myth #4: Gay-Straight Alliance Clubs (GSAs) in high schools are a way to recruit students and encourage them to experiment with being gay or lesbian. Fact #4: No one suddenly chooses to become LGBT simply because they heard about the topic in school, from friends, or via their social circles. There is no known “cause” for a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity – whether that person identifies as homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual or transgender. Sexual orientation and gender identity are complex traits, and have been understood differently by different cultures and at different times in history. GSAs help all students to come together in a safe space to talk about issues that are important to them. GSAs help all students to learn from one another and make their school safe and more welcoming for students, staff and families. Anyone can be the target of hateful slurs, irrespective of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Myth #5: Students will become more sexually active and/or promiscuous if they hear about LGBT issues at school. Fact #5: Like it or not, some teenagers are sexually active. The decisions they make about their bodies have little to do with LGBT issues or anti-homophobia education. However, lack of information about safe sex can have dramatic and sometimes tragic consequences for youth. Promiscuity and unsafe sexual behaviors often occur when students do not have access to age-appropriate, accurate information. (The “Facts And Myths About Anti-Homophobia Education” information sheet was taken in its entirety from the International Day Against Homophobia website. It was retrieved on July 2, 2008 from: http://www.homophobiaday.org/utilisateur/documents/homophobia/pdf/homophobiamyth s.pdf)
Homophobia & Gender 76 Appendix J: Course Evaluation Form
Please evaluate the instructor for the items listed by checking the appropriate box: Strongl y agree 1. My instructor communicates ideas and concepts clearly Comments/suggestions 2. My instructor demonstrates a thorough grasp of the course material Comments/suggestions Agre e Neutra Disagre l e Strongly disagree
3. My instructor explains the material in an interesting manner Comments/suggestions 4. My instructor is well-organized Comments/suggestions 5. My instructor is accessible outside of class Comments/suggestions 6. My instructor encourages participation in class Comments/suggestions 7. The pace of the course is good
Homophobia & Gender 77 Comments/suggestions 8. My instructor helped to create a safe environment in which to learn and share information. Comments/suggestions 9. My instructor uses good examples in lecture Comments/suggestions 10. My instructor notices indications when students need help Comments/suggestions 11. My instructor uses class time efficiently Comments/suggestions 12. The class ground rules were clearly stated and revisited throughout the course. Comments/suggestions 13. The instructor stimulated my interest in the subject. Comments/suggestions 14. The expectations for course assignments were fair. Comments/suggestions 15. The instructor gave me helpful feedback in a timely manner. Comments/suggestions
Homophobia & Gender 78 The next 2 sections ask you to evaluate the instructor’s teaching and the course itself. I) Please comment on the teaching. Please explain how your instructor has helped you learn the course material. Please list at least 2 things.
Please explain how your instructor could improve in helping students learn the materials covered in class. Please list at least 3 things.
II) Please comment on the course. Please comment on the course material. Did the course meet your expectations? Please explain.
Imagine you were an instructor for this course. Please explain what you would change improve the course. Please list at least 2 things.
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