This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
BAGLY’S HISTORY…………………………………………...…..3 TIME MANAGEMENT………………………………………………5 LET’S TALK FACILITATION…………………………………....11 Facilitation Skills..…………………………………………..12 Suggestions for Facilitation.………………………………. 13 The BAGLY ‘Script’………………………………………. 16 Icebreakers…………………………………………...…… 17 Positive Group Behavior…………………………………..20 Disruptive Group Situations………………………………23 Facilitating Disagreement……………………………...…27 Resolving Conflict…………………………………...…….28 Flip Charts………………………...……………………….29 Content, Process, and Relationship…………………...….32 Debriefing & Celebration……………………..…………..34 ANTI-OPPRESSION..……………………………………………39 Diversity…………………………………………………....40 Examples of Oppression……………………………………. Ableism…….………………………………………..42 Sexism………………………………………..……..43 Racism…………………………………..…………..44 Anti-Semitism……………………..…………………46 Classism……………………………………………..47 Internalized Homophobia/Biphobia…......…………..48 Trans 101………………………………………………..….50 Transgender & Gender Queer 101…………………...51 Gender Normative Privilege…………………………..56 Impact of Transphobia……………………………….58 White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack……59 Working With a Diverse Team…………………………...69
COMMUNICATION SKILLS…………………….…………….71 Group Decision Making…………………………………72 Resolving Conflict………………………………………..77 DESC Feedback Model………………………………….80 Active Listening………………………………………….83 HEARRT…………………………………………………………. History…………………………………………………...89 Being Sex-Positive………………………………………90 HIV/AIDS 101…………………………………………..92 HIV Testing……………………………………………..95 Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)………………..96 Substance Use’s Impact………………………………...99 Queer Youth Resources…………………………..…….102
HISTORY OF BAGLY
BAGLY's roots reach back to the late 1970s when a contingent of youth from the adult-led Committee for Gay Youth voiced their frustration over the fact that there were no organizations run by, and for, GLBT youth. With funding raised by the youth through a community auction, these courageous and visionary young people, along with an adult supporter, founded and BAGLY in 1980. The founding members located a space in downtown Boston, established a youth Steering Committee (that included two adult advisors) to make decisions, plan and implement programs and activities for its members. In the 1980s, BAGLY's most significant accomplishment was its pioneering role in providing social support, youth leadership, and health promotion programs and activities for GLBT youth, long before there was political support and funding for this work. This included establishing a GLBT Youth Speakers Bureau, HIV/AIDS prevention and education programs and the nation's first Prom for GLBT youth.
In the 1990s, BAGLY led the way in strengthening and expanding support for GLBT youth by establishing the GLBT Youth Group Network of Massachusetts, becoming a founding member of the Massachusetts Governor's Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth, and a founding member of the National Youth Advocacy Coalition (NYAC) for GLBT youth in Washington, DC. BAGLY youth leaders were also instrumental in the advocacy efforts that added "sexual orientation" to the list of defined, protected groups in the Massachusetts Students' Rights Law in 1993.
No program at BAGLY is an island. The components that make up BAGLY – Youth, Adults, Popular Education, and Risk Reduction – work together in tandem to create the Wednesday night space our membership enjoys. BAGLY continues to stress the importance of Youth-Adult partnerships through its Adult Advisors who are present every Wednesday evening and offer their help in any way possible. Throughout the last decade BAGLY has continued its efforts to advocate for and strengthen LGBT youth communities. Through programs such as the Queer Activist College (QuAC) BAGLY has formalized youth leadership development in a way that is accessible to youth populations. In addition the work of the Health Education and Risk Reduction Team has made BAGLY an organization on the cutting edge of HIV/STD prevention by implementing innovative programs that increase education and awareness about issues regarding healthy sexuality. What sets BAGLY apart from other youth organizations is its commitment to the evolution of the youth it serves. The youth membership of BAGLY has continuously changed over the organization’s 28-year tenure. Each snapshot of BAGLY’s membership provides a glimpse of what that generation of members and leadership dealt with at the time. Together youth and adults at BAGLY have worked to create a community committed to affirming healthy and positive identities. . By identity, we wish to convey that members take away a sense of what BAGLY is and a feeling of belonging in it. By community, we mean a sense of who the staff is volunteers and youth that make up the BAGLY community. The unique partnership between both youth & adult volunteers allows for continued collaboration.
Time is of the essence. Time is all we have. Time is running out. Time. Time. Time. For any leader, time is a limited and precious resource. There is no way to recover time that we have wasted. We can’t speed it up, slow it down, or stop it. In that case, as leaders, we can only find a way to make the most of it. At the end of this, you will be able to • • • • Discuss ways in which individuals can save time and waste time Discover and discuss some ways that you can save time Think about and articulate their priorities and how you prioritize your time Discover tools that you can utilize to help manage time effectively.
Time is one of those things that almost everyone says that they never have enough. With only 24 hours in a day, effective time management is a skill that will help as all make the most of the time that we do have. TIME SAVERS AND WASTERS How many times have you thought to yourself, “this (meeting, activity, email, telephone message, fax, etc. etc) is the biggest waste of time.”? But what is a time waster, really? Don Clark of Big Dog Leadership talks about the following ways in which we waste time. Indecision- Not knowing which course of action is best Inefficiency- Taking the long way around, working harder and not smarter, not utilizing tools at hand • Interruptions that do not pay off- Sometimes, interruptions can be a good thing; they can spark creativity. • • Procrastination- putting things off Unrealistic time estimates- Thinking something will take up more os less time than it actually will • • Unnecessary errors- Not double checking your work Crisis management relationship management • • • • • Poor organization- Nothing in order Ineffective meetings- Lack of procedures that everyone can follow Micro-management- Spending too much time worrying about everyone else Doing urgent rather than important tasks- Follows procrastination Poor planning and lack of contingency plans- Poor planning leads to time spent on what to do next, or instead of the first plan we came up with • Failure to delegate or delegation of responsibility without authority- Trying to do too much yourself • Lack of priorities, standards, policies or procedures- Not knowing really where you want to spend your time - Spending more time than needed on problem solving or
TIME SAVERS Don’t we all want to save time? But how, when we have so many things on our plates? Here are some ideas… Time Savers Include: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Manage the decision making process not the decisions Do one task at a time Establish daily, short term, mid-term, and long-term priorities Make memos, letters, and emails short and do them quickly Get rid of unneeded things Make yourself personal deadlines and deadlines for your groups Do not waste other people’s time Make sure all meetings have a purpose, a time limit, and include only the necessary people Get rid of busy work Keep accurate calendars; and stick to them Know when to stop a task, policy or procedure Delegate everything possible and encourage teammates to take on responsibilities Keep things simple Ensure time is set aside to get high priority tasks completed Reflect Use checklists and to do lists Change time priorities when you get new tasks
AVOID WASTING TIME Ever had one of those times where you knew you had things to get done, but you just couldn’t quite get there? Sometimes you need tips on how to avoid wasting time. Butler and Hope (1996), in their work Managing Your Mind, describe nine rules to follow when managing time, getting tasks done, and avoid wasting time 1. Get started- Get down to work quickly 2. Get into a routine- Plan a time every day to get certain tasks done (emails, paper work, etc) and stick to it. Use a day planner to help keep your schedule. 3. Do not say yes to too many things- Saying yes to too many things spreads us too thin, makes us live others’ priorities rather than our own. With only so many hours in a day, every time you say yes will mean something else doesn’t get done. 4. Do not commit yourself to unimportant activities- No matter how far ahead a commitment is, it is still a commitment, and it will still take up the same amount of our time. 5. Divide large tasks- By having small, manageable goals and tasks, you can eventually complete the larger project. Also, smaller projects will be more easily fit into an already tight schedule. 6. Do not put unneeded effort into a project-Learn to recognize each situation and put the attention to detail only in those situations that really need it. 7. Deal with it for once and for all- Deal with a task only once. Schedule the appropriate amount of time for it and get it done. Don’t continually start and stop a task. 8. Set start and stop times- By setting start and stop times you improve your scheduling. As you get better at start and stop times, see if you can’t take away times from your deadlines, working more efficiently. 9. Plan your activities- Schedule a time to schedule your activities. This will help you focus on your time management and make time for it.
PRIORITIES Part of managing your time, is knowing what your priorities are. Mind Tools (http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTE_o2.htm) has developed a three-step process to help discover what your priorities are. First, you must decide what you enjoy; second, you must concentrate on your strengths; and third, you must understand how to be excellent at your job. 1. What do you enjoy? An integral part of an individual’s quality of life is whether or not they enjoy what they do for a living or the organizations that they are a part of. Knowing what you like to do and what you don’t like to do, will help you to move your job or the clubs you join in the direction of doing things you like. Research says that the more you like what you do, the more likely you are to do that job effectively. 2. What are your strengths? As you move your job into an area that you enjoy, it is important to also identify things are you are good at, as well as areas where you are more challenged. As you move forward, it makes sense to move into areas where your strengths are showcased and your areas of challenge might not matter. 3. Knowing how to be excellent at what you do? In order to concentrate on the right things as you do your work, it is important that you and your supervisors are on the same page. To get, and remain on that page, you can ask the following questions according to Mind Tools (http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTE_o2.htm): • • • • • • What is the purpose of my job? What are the measures of success? What is exceptional performance? What are my priorities and deadlines? What resources are available? What costs are acceptable?
How does what I do relate to other people?
ACTION PLANS AND TO DO LISTS…WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE? According to the Mind Tools website on time management, Action Plans and To Do Lists are two of the most common and effective tools to help people manage their time (http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTE_05.htm) But what is the difference between the two? Action Plans are lists of tasks that must be done by an individual or team to achieve one goal. APs allow an individual or team to concentrate on achieving goals by working in stages. As a stage is completed, an individual can check off their progress toward the final goal. It is a simple way to keep track of everything that must be done to achieve your goal. To Do Lists are lists of tasks that an individual or team must complete. It shows you all of the jobs that must be done and keeps track of them all in one place. These lists can be put in order of most important to least important so that the most important jobs are done first. They are extra important if you have a long list of tasks to do, the tasks are very different or are very spread out. Resources Butler & Hope. (1996). Managing Your Mind. Oxford University Press. Clark, D. (1997). Big dog leadership. Retrieved from www.nwlink.com/~donclark/leader/leader.html on October 5, 2003. Mind Tools (1995-2005). Essential skills for an excellent career. Retrieved from http://www.mindtools.com/ on October 5, 2003.
LET’S TALK FACILITATION!
As a leader at BAGLY you’re probably going to facilitate many meetings and discussions. Facilitating a meeting takes a whole lot of skill. Just because you’re really knowledgeable about a topic or you’re really good at a certain skill doesn’t necessarily mean that you can automatically pass it on to others with ease. This section is designed to help leaders who have never facilitated a meeting at all those that are seasoned facilitators, there’s something for everyone! Go through each part of this section step-by-step and you will find success. By the end of this section you will explore: • • • • • What it means to be a facilitator How to start a meeting How to facilitate different types of meetings Various tools for facilitation How to debrief and celebrate meetings
Facilitation skills are critical for trainers and group facilitators. They are essential tools to ensure active participation both during training sessions and group meetings. Facilitation skills include the following:
ASKING QUESTIONS The facilitator asks open-ended, clarifying, and, occasionally closed questions to guide the discussion and to expand both the facilitator’s and the participants’ understanding of the subject(s) being discussed. Open-ended questions usually begin with what, how, when, where and are posed in such a way that the participants cannot answer with a “yes” or “no” response, but instead must expand the base of information. Clarifying questions are posed to help the facilitator clarify the situation and often begin with which, why, do you mean to say… etc. Closed questions can be answered with a yes or no and are asked to get specific information. PARAPHRASING The facilitator, using his or her own words, interprets what the participant is saying and how the participant is feeling. The purpose of paraphrasing is to determine if the facilitator understands what the speaker is trying to get across as well as the affective (emotional) aspect of what is being shared. This gives the speaker the opportunity to acknowledge the listener’s understanding or to correct it. It also clarifies what has been said for other participants. SUMMARIZING The facilitator, at key moments during the course of the training session or meeting, identifies the principal elements or details of the discussion up to that point. The purpose of summarizing is to end one phase of the discussion and either terminate the session or move on to the next phase. Summarizing is valuable in controlling the pace of a session or meeting and keeping the discussion track.
ENCOURAGING The facilitator – aware that certain types of behaviors can be interpreted as encouraging and certain others as discouraging – encourages the speaker to say more about the situation through facial expressions, body language, and comments.
Adapted from “Becoming a Better Supervisor” Facilitation Skills
SOME SUGGESTIONS FOR FACILITATION Here are some ideas a previous BAGLY meeting facilitator had on how to facilitate a successful BAGLY meeting. I’ve added a few suggestions that I feel relevant to the current membership. Remember; feel free to make changes to suit your own personality! PICKING THE TOPIC It’s important to find a topic that really lends itself to discussion. When a speaker comes to make a presentation, it’s up to the facilitator to approach the conversation afterward so that BAGLY members will feel that they have something to contribute. When choosing the topic, keep in mind that there are a lot of different types of people at BAGLY. While youth who live in cities might not have much to say about “Life in the Suburbs,” many more people could add something to a discussion of “Dealing with Friends and Neighbors.” The best topics are usually the ones that you are genuinely interested in. That way, you really actively listen to what other people have to say about the topic. PREPARING FOR THE MEETING It’s always a good idea to really sit down and think about the topic before the night of the meeting. What are the issues involved? What are people most likely to disagree about? What points are people least likely to think of? Think about what kind of support you might need from your fellow YLC members, adult advisors, someone in the membership who might know a lot about your topic. Think about what other materials you might want to use, for example, do you want to use a flip chart? Flip charts are really useful for certain meetings (see the section on how to use a flip chart) and are easily available at the staff office.
SETTING UP THE MEETING The physical set-up of the meeting is one of the most important aspects. I suggest setting up chairs in a circle where everyone can be seen (you might want to think about sitting with the group in the circle as opposed to standing in the middle.) Facilitating meetings in stadium seating settings are immensely difficult because it’s easy for participants to feel detached from the entire meeting. THE OPENING QUESTION The opening question has been a mainstay of BAGLY meetings for a very long time. It’s the question that everyone answers in turn and serves as a jumping off point to get things started. It also gives people an opportunity to figure out the personalities that are present in the room. Try something fairly controversial (while also remembering to be respectful), where you think you’ll get a variety of answers. Make sure the question can be answered in a couple of words or sentences, but isn’t just “yes” or “no”; that is, don’t ask “closed” questions, rather, ask “open” ones. It’s usually a good idea to have a follow-up question ready to keep things going. CHOOSING YOUR QUESTIONS Have as many questions as possible planned out before you start. It’s usually better not to begin with questions asking, “why do some people…” Once folks become comfortable, they’ll often offer more personal stories themselves. Try to guess how people might answer and have more follow-up questions in mind. Don’t be afraid to ask controversial questions – they’re the best way to get people really talking. Make sure you ask your questions in a way that most people will be able to answer, whether they’re closeted or out, male or female, anywhere in the LGBTQ spectrum, living in the city or the suburbs. No one likes to feel left out of the conversation. Also, be careful not to ask questions in a way that makes it clear what answer you think is right. The important thing is to get as many people as possible to say what they feel.
KEEPING THINGS GOING One of a facilitator’s biggest jobs is to keep people talking…trust me this isn’t always easy. The best meetings are those where only a few questions keep people talking for the entire time (and even after the meeting). To keep things going smoothly, it’s important to listen to what each person has to say. Often, you can find something in what a person says that will lead you to your next question. For example, you can ask if other people feel the same way, or have had a similar experience (“Has anyone had a similar experience that they are willing to share?”) STAYING ON TRACK Another role of the facilitator is to keep the discussion on the topic. You have to use your own judgment. Sometimes, a boring discussion will get sidetracked into something that’s really interesting. If most people are interested in the new topic, it may be best to keep going. But if you feel that a lot of people still want to talk about the original subject, try to steer things back. Try not to blame anyone for getting off the topic. Just pick some area that you think people still have something to say about and ask another question. CLOSING THE MEETING It’s up to the facilitator to decide exactly when the meeting should end. This can be any time from about xx:30 to xx:50. If people seem “talked out”, don’t try to keep the discussion going. It’s better to have people feel that there’s more to talk about next week. Repeat the announcements quickly, and maybe give the potential topic for your next meeting. Make sure that everyone knows whether there will be HIV testing on site and who they should talk to if interested. Thank everyone for coming and relax. It’s over!
Adapted from JBV’s Some Suggestions for Facilitators 8/82 & 7/83
Historically, the BAGLY ‘script’ has been how youth at BAGLY have started meetings. The script gives basic information about BAGLY, our Frees, and our Health Promotion services. It is perfect for the “Welcome Meeting” because that is when most new people at BAGLY begin to get a sense of the space. It is important that if you choose to utilize a script that you make it as welcoming as possible while also giving youth the necessary information. Below is a sample of the script that youth facilitators have used in the past: Welcome to BAGLY. BAGLY is the Boston Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth • BAGLY is free of drugs, alcohol, sex, harassment, violence, weapons, and pressure. We ask that you don’t do these things at BAGLY or come to our space under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol • Please visit the health promotion table, there is a lot of information about being healthy and keeping yourself safe • We offer HIV testing every week. Please see any HEARRT member about testing slots. This meeting is about [Insert Topic and describe the meeting] • Let’s start by going around the circle and saying our name, age, where we are from and answer the opening question, which is… Remember, this is only a sample and you are encouraged to tailor it to the needs of the current membership by inserting relevant information such as any announcements of activities that may be soon approaching.
Icebreakers are one of the best ways to get a group of participants energized and ready to engage in your session. Many facilitators use Icebreakers at the beginning of every meeting, which is one way of ensuring their participants engagement. One word of caution, try to make your icebreaker connect to the meeting topic in some way. For example, if you’re facilitating a meeting about differences, diversity, community, etc. then the Icebreaker “I’m seeking common ground” is a great idea!
TOSS-A-NAME GAME Props: Balls or other soft throwing items Purpose: Icebreaker, Teamwork Procedure: With the group standing in a circle, have participants go around saying their names. Then show them a ball, and explain the activity this way: “First I will say my name, like ‘I am Adam.’ Then I will say, ‘and this is Sarah.’ Then I will throw the ball to Sarah. Sarah will say, ‘That is Adam, I am Sarah, and this is Toby,’ and so on, until all the names in the circle are strung onto the list. The game goes until everyone has been called, without anyone being repeated. If someone’s name is forgotten, have the group spot the person. There are many variations of this fun and easy icebreaker, some include; repeating the icebreaker many times – each time attempting to beat the last time, or using multiple balls at the same time spaced apart by a few people. I’M SEEKING COMMON GROUND Props: Enough chairs for all participants, minus one. Purpose: Icebreaker Procedure: Group sits in a circle of chairs with one person standing in the middle (no empty chairs). The person in the middle says “I seek common ground with…people who were born east of the Mississippi!” Anyone who was, including the person asking the question, must get up and run across the circle to find a new seat. You can’t take the seat of the person next to you! There will be one person left in the middle who must ask the next question. There is no limit to the amount of questions that could be generated for this game.
THE NAME GAME Props: None Purpose: Start communications and Team building Procedure: Get the group in a circle. Tell everyone to get an adjective starting with the first letter of their own first name and add it to the front of their first name [Adventurous Adam]. Then, introduce yourself, and tell the person next to you to introduce you then continue by introducing themselves. Each person farther down the circle will then introduce everybody in front of them then finally end with their own introduction. FIND YOUR TYPE Props: Pairs of Index cards with animal names written on them Purpose: Communication Skills and Icebreaker Procedure: Get the group in a circle. Tell everyone they may not speak. Give each person a card with an animal on it. Tell them to find their mates by doing something that animal would do. Start them all at the same time. HUMAN KNOT Props: None Purpose: Teambuilding, bending the personal space bubble, Communication Procedure: Get the group in a tight circle. Have the members of the group reach in with their right hands and grasp on of the right hands available. Repeat with left hands. Then ask them to unravel the knot without letting go of any hands. The circle of hands is to remain unbroken. However, it may be necessary to change grips due to the fact that some of us just can’t bend certain ways! One variation of this game is for the group to stay silent during the entire activities.
TRUST CIRCLE Props: None Purpose: Trust and Team Building Procedure: Have the group form a circle. Have each person stand in a spotting stance. Ask for one person to get in the middle and be a faller. Be sure to close in the circle once a faller has entered into the center. Use the spotting commands. Have the faller fall all directions so all spotters are utilized. Allow everyone an opportunity to be a faller. YURT CIRCLE Props: None Purpose: Trust, Teamwork, and Communication Procedure: Choose a clear, open area for this activity, as participants are likely to fall forward and backward. Participants should stand in a circle, facing inward and holding hands. Then, step backwards until everyone is stretched out but still able to have a firm grip on the two people whose hands they are holding. Everyone needs to keep their feet planted and lean back as far as they can. They must use the group to maintain their balance. Once they have done this, number off the group into 1s and 2s, alternating around the circle. Then, have the 1s lean in and the 2s lean out at the same time. Each person should be able to lean in or out while being held up by the group.
POSITIVE GROUP BEHAVIOR TIPS
It’s fun being a facilitator. There are always new challenges out there for you to overcome. Sometimes our meetings can become a bit hard to manage. Here are some tips to make your role as a facilitator, easier. 1. MODEL THE BEHAVIOR YOU WANT Your group will tend to behave in a way that reflects the patterns of behavior they are exposed to. 2. TEACH THE GROUP THE BEHAVIORS YOU WANT Give your group opportunities to build the skills that reflect the values you want; and put them into practice so those values become the group’s own. 3. ESTABLISH CLEAR EXPECTATIONS WITH THE GROUP Whether you call them ground rules, agreements, or ways of being, work with you group to proactively decide what they are. This gives the group a sense of ownership. 4. BE CONSCIOUS OF YOUR GROUP This means staying aware, in the present moment, of what is happening between you and your group.
5. PRESERVE SELF-CONTROL AT ALL TIMES Control of circumstances begins with control of your reactions to those circumstances. Learn and be aware of what pushes your buttons. • • • Take total responsibility for your reactions and be willing to admit when you’re wrong. Be willing to handle almost everything patiently and calmly. Practice NO: arguing, screaming, nagging, pleading, anger, stress, criticism, complaining to control your group. When you feel like doing these things, stop and consider the options.
6. FOCUS ON THE POSITIVE Focus on when your group is practicing the values or agreements that have been established, and respond with positive attention/affirmation. What you focus upon is what you empower. If you dwell on the negative, you empower the negative. • Try to give at least two affirmations for every one time that you focus on a negative behavior. 7. FIND THE POSITIVE Look for what you can appreciate, admire, and love about your group and tell them what you see. It is often easier to see and respond to the negative. 8. REDIRECT INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR Instead of waiting and watching mildly inappropriate behavior become something that warrants consequences, intervene early and redirect the group towards another behavior or activity. 9. USE A CONSEQUENCE SYSTEM, IDEALLY CREATED BY THE GROUP This establishes rules and boundaries and provides the group with a consistent message of appropriate behavior. If they create tem, just like agreements, they will have more investment in their success. • • • Establish a clear system of warning – sometimes people really aren’t aware if what they are doing. Administrate without anger. Be sure that you are not being overly controlling, restrictive, or oppressive when establishing rules, or the system backfires. 10.GIVE CHOICES Instead of giving the group directions, give choices whenever possible. This gives a sense of freedom and responsibility, and allows the person to “save face.”
11.CONNECTIVE CONSEQUENCES Connect consequences, when possible, directly to actions, e.g. if someone makes a mess, their consequence is to clean. 12.WEIGH GROUP VS. INDIVIDUAL NEEDS When dealing with difficult behaviors, try to keep in mind what would be best for the person, as well as what is best for the group. If you are making exceptions for one person, it may be best for them, but hurt the group, and vice-versa.
13.VISUALIZE WHAT YOU WANT Regularly visualize the group behaving well and expect them to behave that way. What you consistently visualize and expect is what you empower.
Adapted from Bob Lancer’s “Take Charge Now Process”
DISRUPTIVE GROUP SITUATIONS
In a group environment, members may exhibit certain common types of behavior that can be disruptive or harmful to the group. Not all of them will occur in your group – in fact, maybe none of them. However, you should be prepared to handle any situation. Below are some examples of such behavior and suggested ways of dealing with them.
1. CAN’T GET GROUP STARTED There is a lot of fooling around and people are wandering. Remind them it’s their group, and they are wasting time. Ask, “Can we get started?” 2. GROUP IS QUIET OR UNRESPONSIVE A quiet period in the group is not always something negative; however, if it lasts for an extensive period of time and becomes uncomfortable, then it may be a good idea to directly address the situation by saying something like, “The group seems quiet now.” Wait for a response; if there is none, ask, “Why do you think we are being so quiet?” 3. GROUP LACKS SERIOUSNESS Lack of seriousness can be a problem if it occurs at the wrong time. Try pointing out the problem and getting feedback from the group by saying, “Some of us don’t appear to be taking this seriously. What seems to be the problem?” 4. EVERYONE TALKS AT ONCE Everyone is talking at the same time. Simply remind the group of the ground rules by saying something like “Lets remember our ground rules and listen while others are talking. We all have something important to say, but if we all talk at once we may miss something.”
5. SIDE CONVERSATIONS Side conversations may disrupt the group and cause members to lose focus. To handle this situation, you can say, “There are some side conversations going on and we’re losing focus. Let’s stay on track.” If the conversations continue, it may be a good idea to confront the members directly during the group. If at all possible, however, try talking to them outside the group and sitting between them for the next meeting.
6. GROUP IS OFF THE SUBJECT If the discussion has veered off the subject but is serving a purpose, you may want to let it go or “go with the flow,” so to speak. However, if the group is totally off track and the discussion is not serving a worthwhile purpose, try saying, “This is interesting, but we’ve gotten off the subject. Can we get back on track?” 7. CLIQUES When cliques form, it’s best to talk individually to the group members involved, outside the group. Let them know it’s great they are getting to know that person or those persons and encourage them to get to know others. Do more activities in the group that will help them to mingle and get to know others better. 8. TENSION If tension arises in the group and you can’t figure out any reason for it, and there are no particular members involved, you may want to address the group directly by saying, “There seems to be some tension in the group. Why do you think that is?” If the tension can be traced to a few particular members, however, it’s best to talk to them about it outside the group
9. HOT DEBATE When discussion gets too heated, it’s best to remind the group of the ground rules. Try saying, “We aren’t communicating right now. This seems to be a very controversial subject, and I’m sure everyone has something important to say, so let’s give everyone a chance. Remember – listen to others and no negative statements. We should also support each other. That does not mean you have to agree, but let’s at least respect each other’s opinions.”
10.WAR BETWEEN TWO OR MORE MEMBERS OF THE GROUP When two or more members of the group don’t seem to be getting along, it should be handled as soon as possible outside the group. If this situation is not checked, it will tear the group apart. If it feels right, and you choose to broach the subject in-group, you might say, “I’m sensing some tension between some of us. Can we talk about this?” 11.THE QUIET PERSON Remember that each group member has the right to pass; however, if one person is being unusually quiet you may try addressing a question directly to them, such as, “How about you, Jane?” 12.THE CONSTANT TALKER When it becomes obvious that one group member is always dominating the conversation, you should say to that person, “We’d like to hear what you have to say, but let’s give everyone a chance.”
13.MEMBERS INTERRUPTING EACH OTHER When group members interrupt each other, remind them of the ground rules and say, “John was sharing, let’s let him finish.” Remember to go back and address the issue of the person who interrupted. 14.THE RELUCTANT MEMBER A group member who doesn’t want to be there is a problem, especially if the person is open or even hostile about it. Try involving that person in a friendly and supportive way. Most of the behavior resulting from the problem can be dealt with through the ground rules. If the behavior continues, however, you may need to talk with the person outside the group. Usually, the group itself will take care of the problem as they realize that, if they don’t, it may tear the group apart.
15.OTHER ISSUES Other member issues may crop up, such as an incessant comic, a member with a crush on you, etc. These issues are best dealt with outside the group. The person involved often needs special attention or extra time.
Adapted from “Becoming a Better Supervisor” Disruptive Group Situations
As a facilitator, you need to manage disagreement openly and positively. Out of disagreement will often emerge creative solutions and agreements that people will carry out with energy. However, this creativity and energy cannot happen if disagreements are pushed under the table or if they get out of hand and dominate the group proceedings. Here are some things you can do to be a positive force in facilitating disagreements: Summarize major points of disagreement or key alternatives. Ask if all have been able to contribute their views and query the group to see all major points have been discussed. Go around and ask each person to recommend a decision. If five of eight people agree, ask the three who did not the following questions: § § What would it take to change your mind?” “Now that we have clearly head each of our positions, what would it take to get consensus on this problem?” § “What are the areas of disagreement and are they resolvable?”
Whatever questions you use, you may then need to facilitate a discussion to sort out the answer. Another approach is to ask group members to think about what is keeping them from reaching agreement. Allow some discussion and then ask these participants what can be done. Then test for consensus again. At a certain point, you may decide for a vote. If the vote is not clear-cut, you can simply go with the majority or table the issue and agree not to decide.
GUIDELINES FOR RESOLVING CONFLICT • • • Try to differentiate between conflict your group can live with and conflict it cannot live with Try to identify exactly what the problem is and whose problem it is Avoid blaming one person or faction for the conflict. Everyone wants to be seen as a good person • • • • • • Assume that there is good will on the part of those involved Never corner the person with whom you disagree Always try to improve communication The more listening you do, the more information you will get It is important to acknowledge and validate everyone’s feelings You don’t have to catch the ball. Think about what is happening instead of just reacting to it • Differentiate between needs and solutions. Most arguments are about solutions. Find out more about what people need. There are usually many alternative solutions to meet real needs • Learn to view conflict as an opportunity for deeper understanding, growth, and better solutions • •
Adapted from NGLTF Campus Organizing Guide and Becoming a Better Supervisor Facilitating Disagreement
Remember that progress is a spiral process, it always has potential for some failure
THE BEAUTY OF FLIP CHARTS
Some people can’t believe they’ve participated in a training session or meeting unless they have been subjected to at least one chart. Some facilitators also feel this way. This is insufficient reason for making even one chart. FLIP CHART DOS AND DON’TS Use flip charts primarily during training sessions. They are a visual aid meant to assist in transmitting information, much like an overhead projector might be used. Only one page at a time is exposed to participants. Flip charts are usually prepared in advance, their content at least outlined. Flip charts are inexpensive, can be made rapidly, can be improvised, will work with individuals or groups, don’t require electricity or screens, and can be very effective. These virtues suggest using them often as a mechanical aid to learning and discussion. Flip charts can be abused, though. Often they are too small, too crowded, badly lettered, a monotonous color, and overused. They can cripple a discussion or become a crutch on which the unsure facilitator hobbles on to fill the meeting’s time slot. Flip charts get unruly in winds, tear instead of turn, topple instead of tear, and fight the unwary and innocent.
Don’t worship at the shrine of flip charts – bad ones are distracting, boring, or confusing. If you feel the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, consider these suggestions in making your chart (in preparation for a meeting/training). Plan the whole chart in miniature form – make little mistakes first. Figure how and where the chart will be mounted. Lighting and visibility are critical. Keep the bottom of the chart at least 40 inches high if your group will be seated at a table. • • Don’t use such cheap paper that your markers bleed onto the paper. Use the darker markers. Use the brighter colored markers for impact, not for ‘beauty.’ • Block letters are better than scripts or fancy styles (unless you’re really good and you know what you’re doing). • Put one idea to a page, using only key words. People get busy coping notes and miss the whole presentation. They might have had something valuable to contribute. Better yet, have your flip chart copied in advance so they can pay full attention. Or if it’s a meeting, and the chart is your group memory, have the recorder or another group member transcribe the chart paper for reproduction. • Use plenty of symbols, pictures, or diagrams, especially when communicating complex ideas or information. • Reveal your ideas deliberately, when you want them; conceal them after you no longer need them. These are the real advantages of flip charts. • Add on ideas by revealing your list one item at a time. Or start with blank pages and ask leading questions to solicit group input; let the learners construct the chart. • Because you finally found a well-chosen word doesn’t mean it’s sacred – the participants may come up with one they like better. Whatever gets them tuned in…that’s the idea!
USING THE WALL CHARTS AS GROUP MEMORY
Use wall charts primarily as a ‘group memory.’ It captures ideas and records individual thoughts in full view of the entire group. They are particularly suited to problem solving and similar meetings. Wall charts can also be abused. They can be small, crowded, badly written, and a monotonous color. You must have a suitable wall, and almost certainly an indoor location (you need a wall to have a wall chart!) Wall charts can be tremendously useful in certain situations. As the group memory it: Is an objective source for group discussion. Ideas aren’t attached to an individual. Helps focus the group on a task. Is an instant record. Guards against data overload. It holds everything and frees people from taking notes, enabling them to concentrate on the task. • • • • • Flip charts can be a great tool to help facilitate meetings but too many facilitators abuse them. Take some time to think about why you want to use a flip chart and if it is right for your meeting. Enables each member to be sure that ideas are accurately recorded. Increases sense of accomplishment. Makes it easy for latecomers to catch up without interrupting the meeting. Makes accountability and follow-up easier.
• • • •
CONTENT, PROCESS, AND RELATIONSHIP SATISFACTION
Successful facilitators balance their focus on three dimensions of success. They make conscious choices about where to focus their attention in order to have the highest impact. The following is a way to ensure that you are fulfilling all the aspects of a successful meeting/training and is also a helpful debriefing tool. CONTENT: ‘What’ the group is discussing: the topics, issues, skills, key points, and objectives. • • • Was the content interesting and relevant to the participants? Did we discuss what we set out to talk about? As a facilitator, did I meet the participants expectations?
PROCESS: The method, the approach, the facilitation techniques used to deliver the content and build relationship with the group. Process is the ‘how.’ • Did our processes work for the meeting? (i.e. did the activity designed to build ground rules work?) Were we able and willing to adjust when needed? • Was the process well facilitated? Was it inclusive of all participants? What other supports could I have used? • How was the pace and content flow of the discussion? Were people able to understand all the terms being used in the meeting? RELATIONSHIP: The rapport between the facilitator and the meeting participants. How connected the facilitator is to the participants, the level of trust in the group. • Did participants and facilitator(s) support each other and share responsibilities for keeping the meeting on track (i.e. reminding other participants of the ground rules)? • • Did everyone establish trusting relationships in which participants felt valued? Did participants feel it was ‘safe’ to participate?
If you have fulfilled the Content, Process, Relationship model it is almost guaranteed that you’ve had a successful meeting. As you can see meetings require thought before they actually happen so consider spending an extra 15 minutes planning what you’d like to see happen in your meeting. Sometimes, what helps me is if I think about what I’d like to feel like 5 minutes after my meeting is over.
Adapted from The Masterful Trainer © Interaction Associates, LLC.
DEBRIEFING & CELEBRATION!
A Debriefing Outline “Reflection without action leads to cynicism and action without reflection leads to burnout.” After every meeting, activity, or training you’ve completed, one of the most important things you can do to create closure is to debrief. You can do this by yourself but in my experience it’s even more helpful if I can talk to someone about the activity. Here are some questions to ask yourself (or the person you’re debriefing with);
WHAT? What happened in this session? What did everyone do? What was the point of this session? Did I/we accomplish it? What were some specific behaviors I/we practiced that helped/hindered the session’s goal? What things could I/we have done to increase effectiveness? How do I/we feel about participants’ response to our session?
SO WHAT? Why was this important/What did it mean to me/us? How did this session relate to real-life experiences? What did I/we learn from it that I/we can apply to our own skills? How can I/we apply these skills to real-life examples? NOW WHAT? Time to make plans based on experiences. What are the next steps that I/we can take to follow up on this session? (This part is basically an opportunity for you to identify how to apply the newly learned information to increase the impact of skills you may have passed on to the group).
DEBRIEFING & CELEBRATION WITH THE GROUP
The following questions are useful to debrief a meeting/training. They help the group to process the session that has just occurred. Give everyone a chance to answer each question. This process is one of the most important components to a successful session because it checks for clarity and everyone’s level of understanding. General opening questions: How did it feel when you first got started? What was hard? Why? What was easy? Why? What kinds of leadership did you see? What kinds of leadership were most useful? Why? How did the group direct the discussion? How well did the group work together? Questions that deal with the ‘here and now’: In the moment you noticed _____, what were you thinking? Feeling? What had just occurred? What was your body doing at the time? When _____(name) did/said _____, how did you feel? What was your reaction? Questions for pursuing issues: What issue struck you today (positive or negative)? What was the statement? What was your reaction? How does the issue affect you? What is your recommendation? What do others in this group think?
Questions for finding meaning in experiences: What experience was most meaningful? What about it was meaningful? What did you feel? What did you notice going on around you? How does this relate to your life in a broader way? Questions for personal reflection on an experience: What personal strengths did you see? What have you learned about yourself? Why is this worth knowing? What will you continue to do? What do you hope to change? How will you change it? How do/did you feel? Questions for integrating: How do _____, _____, _____, _____, and _____ interrelate? What did we leave out that really needs to be added? How will you use this knowledge now on future projects? How did you feel when (speaker) said “_____”? How would you like to respond, if you could? What would you say? If you were the president, what would you want to do about _____? Questions for applying what you’ve learned: What was useful about doing this? How is this experience like others you’ve had? How is this group like others you’ve been a part of? What have you learned that you can use in other settings? What have you learned about how you work in groups?
Adapted from Jennifer Kurkoski’s A Debriefing Outline
REMEMBER, LISTEN TO EVERYONE
BEING A ROLE MODEL…
Lead by Setting a Good Example As a facilitator and leader at BAGLY, no matter how good a line you talk, if you don’t match it with you behavior, you will enjoy no respect and find it increasingly difficult to get the group to work with you. It may be more difficult under some circumstances to set a positive example, but that shouldn’t stop you! INFLUENCING OTHERS If you fail to set the example, why should you expect group members to do any better? To help keep the group together and get the job done, everything you do and say should line up with the best possible examples of leadership. When you set the example, you help facilitate the results you want as a leader. The essence is to remember that wherever you are, whatever you are doing, imagine that a member of BAGLY is taking a mental picture of you when you are least aware of it – and that will be the one image that sticks in his or her mind. Every leader has a special responsibility to set a positive example. As a leader, those you work with constantly watch you.
WAYS TO SET AN EXAMPLE
1. FOLLOW THE BAGLY FREES AND VALUES
If you don’t understand the frees and values, ask questions until you do.
2. TRY HARD
Following instructions may not be enough. Some teams win, some lose, even in the same league, playing by the same rules. Always do the best job you can. Give more than 100%. Persistence and consistency can make up for shortfalls in other areas.
3. SHOW INITIATIVE
Focus on what needs to be done without putting it off until forced to do it. Avoid procrastination. Seize the day. Not everything comes to those who wait. Ask for what you want. Look for opportunities to help.
4. DESERVE THEIR RESPECT
Show good judgment. Be careful when you clown around, and don’t disturb others when you goof off. Be careful if you use crude and/or offensive language and be mindful when you joke with someone you don’t know. Their sense of humor may be entirely different than yours. Leaders are supposed to act as if they deserved the respect of those who elected them. Nobody who demands respect ever gets it, except as lip service, while they are around. Remember that wherever you go, someone is undoubtedly glancing your way. What you do is far more important than what you say.
As a leader in any organization it’s important to make sure that the leadership is representative of the community it comes from. At BAGLY we have traditionally done a great job at being inclusive of all members of our community but, like all other organizations, we can always do more. Often times, folks talk about oppression as if it isn’t present in our community but many of us know that this is not true. The same forms of oppression that exist in the world (transphobia, racism, classism, etc.) happen every day around us – our community is not an island. Together we can work to make our organizations more inclusive. This section will help you explore: • • • Examples of Oppression Ways to create more inclusive programming How to work with diverse groups
Most groups or organizations want the largest base of support possible. When members of a group, or the group as a whole, behave in an unaware, insensitive or oppressive fashion, then those people at the receiving end of these behaviors tend not to join a group. They lose effectiveness and motivation, and their morale and investment in the group decreases without anyone necessarily understanding what is happening or why. Your group will be most effective when it is one that is welcoming to folks from targeted groups: racially oppressed groups – African-Americans, Asians, Latino/as, Native Americans and others; women, poor and working-class people; Jews; people with disabilities; older people and younger people; people who are bisexual, transgender and, at times, heterosexual allies. People from these groups are often targets but at times they can be agents as well. Remember that white, able-bodied, Gentile, middle class gay men can be targets too.
The following will give you a few concrete examples of behaviors that occur in groups that make a group less welcoming. We assume the reader to be LGBT and the groups in question to be LGBT groups; however, these examples may very well apply to others too. It is important to address the special needs of other groups with the same sensitivity we want and expect for our own. The following is by no means an exhaustive list; it is only a brief sample of oppressive behaviors.
Most of these behaviors are unintentional; unfortunately, intended or not, they have the same devastating consequences. Members of targeted groups experience innumerable versions of these unintended, “little” things, day in, day out, year in, year out. These “little” things form a pattern, and the pattern is debilitating. One thing to remember is that dealing with issues of diversity means dealing with feelings. All sorts of feelings – anger, sadness, discomfort, guilt, embarrassment, confusion. People who have been targeted by racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, classism, ableism, heterosexism and so forth may be angry or mistrustful, or appear to those of us on the other side as “oversensitive.” It’s hard to know what it’s like to endure the daily “little” things. Those of us who have not been the target of other forms of oppression may think we know it all because we’ve been oppressed as lesbians, transgender and gender non-conforming folk, gay men, and bisexuals. We may know some ways that oppression operates, but each form of oppression is unique and different. We can fall into feeling guilty, defensive, or confused. It is important to keep in mind that ridding us of the attitudes and behaviors we have learned is a challenge and takes time.
The following examples are not intended to make anyone feel guilty or bad, but you may identify some behaviors that you have done. All any of us can do is identify our behaviors that may get in the way and commit ourselves to practicing new and different behaviors that may work better. This must be an active and conscious process.
EXAMPLES OF ABLEISM
• • • •
Seeing a person only in terms of her/his disability Not making eye contact Assuming that one person can and will represent all disabled people Scheduling only special activities for accessibility, rather than making all activities accessible Seeking disabled people’s opinion or input only on matters of accessibility Assuming that being able-bodied is a more “normal” or “better” state than being disabled Being unwilling to recognize your ableist behaviors, or excusing them Holding lower expectations of disabled people, or only giving people with disabilities work that’s too easy.
The group of people labeled “disabled” includes everyone from a businessperson experiencing chronic depression, to a student with dyslexia, to a visually impaired mother, to a teenager with arthritis, to a professor in a wheelchair, to a woman with environmental allergies, to a man with AIDS. Clearly we cannot know everything we need to about every person with a disability. But we can be flexible and open to learning. We can respectfully ask someone what her/his needs are. We can treat each person with a disability as a unique person, and as a whole person. We can teach each other what we learn. We can think about issues of accessibility and work toward greater accessibility in all our activities. We can remember to put accessibility information on flyers, etc.
EXAMPLES OF SEXISM • Not crediting women’s ideas, contributions, or work in discussions with others or ignoring women when men are around • Expecting the women to take care of certain jobs like taking notes, baking brownies for the bake sale, and expecting women to take care of individual or group nurturance needs like providing support, sympathy, conflict resolution, etc. • • Doing something for a woman rather than helping her learn how to do it Referring to hypothetical people, experts, professionals, and directors as “he,” using sexist language like “mankind,” “chairman,” “freshman,” “man the table,” and “bitch.” • • Referring to adult females as girls Judging women as pushy, aggressive, unfriendly, “bitchy” when they act the same way as men who you don’t judge negatively • Assuming the male perspective is the norm and the female perspective divergent, Such as referring to the whole group as “gay,” (a term like mankind that’s supposed to include women) or using the pink triangle (again a symbol of the oppression of gay men) as the universal gay and lesbian symbol • Assuming that because you are a gay or bisexual man you are not sexist like other men • Even though women are a majority of the population your group is mostly male with mostly male leadership • If one woman objects to something as sexist, finding another woman who will say it’s not sexist so that you don’t have to deal with it.
Women come from every group, so that there are women of color, MTF transgender folk, Jewish women, poor and working-class women, and women with disabilities. Lesbian and bisexual women are not only targeted because of heterosexism but because of sexism too, and sometimes other manifestations of oppression. Many lesbian and bisexual women may feel more in common or more connected to other women (even heterosexual women) than to gay or bisexual men. Gay and bisexual men may feel different from heterosexual men and want lesbians and bisexual women to see them as allies just because of their sexual orientation. All men learn sexism and all men must commit themselves to actively working against sexism. We can use inclusive language, commit ourselves to gender parity in terms of leadership, speakers, films, etc. We can pay attention to how “campy” behavior can portray women/females in a negative or stereotypical manner and challenge that when it occurs. We can pay attention to group process and give feedback when men dominate discussions or only respond to other men. EXAMPLES OF RACISM • Assuming a person of color has a job, scholarship, position, etc. because of her/his race, rather than her/his qualifications • Assuming that one person of color (or a few people of color) can speak (or are speaking) for all people of color • Perceiving people of color as “cliqueish” or "segregating themselves” while overlooking all the times all white groups hang-out together.
Using materials, pictures, posters, magazines, movies, etc. that portray no people of color Expecting that if people of color want things to change that it is their responsibility to tell white people what they’re doing wrong Backing up white people when they do or say something racist, and trying to minimize/discount that behavior by saying things like, “S/he didn’t mean it that way,” or “She/he’s really nice, she/he’s just a little prejudiced,” or “If you think that’s bad, you should have seen/heard________” Viewing the mistakes of one person of color as indicative of all people of color Either expecting less from people of color (making allowances for low productivity, lots of mistakes, applying lower standards) or demanding that people of color do a better job than anyone else to be given equal respect Assuming that all “people of color” are Black
Like every other group there is great diversity within the group “people of color,” the experiences of African-American, Latina/o, Asian and Asian-American, and Native
American are not the same. The experiences within each group, say, the group of Latina/o’s is not the same either. However, all have been affected by racism. On the other hand, White people can actively educate themselves on the diverse and rich history, culture, languages and experiences of people of color. White people can begin to notice white as the norm and challenge it. We can develop personal relationships with people of color. We can make sure we publicize People of Color meetings, programming, and events widely.
EXAMPLES OF ANTI-SEMITISM • Saying of or to Jews who don’t fit the stereotype in terms of looks or actions, “Oh, you don’t seem Jewish” • Withdrawing from or putting down Jews whose communication style makes you feel uncomfortable because of your own cultural style • • • Considering anti-Semitism a less significant concern than other issues of oppression Holding individual Jews responsible for the policies of the Israeli government Wishing everyone happy holiday at Christmas time and not acknowledging the major Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur in the fall and Passover in the spring • • • • Calling it a holiday party, but having everything really be Christmas traditions Holding meetings or events on Jewish holidays Not knowing when Jewish holidays are When Jews raise issues or concerns, thinking “they’re really paranoid,” or “they’re trying to take over” • Dismissing Judaism as a “patriarchal religion” without understanding that for many being Jewish is an ethnicity and/or culture Jewish experiences in the United States are very diverse, although anti-Semitism affects all Jews. Although we may think of Jews as white or middle class, in reality there are Jews of every race and class, from all parts of the world, religious and secular. Many of us equate anti-Semitism with the Holocaust. Since that’s not happening now we don’t see or acknowledge the subtler forms of anti-Semitism. Many of us may have rejected our religious upbringing and can’t understand why Jews still want to identify with a “patriarchal” religion. But Jewish identity is more than a religious practice; it’s belonging to a people. We can acknowledge differences. Saying or thinking, “It doesn’t matter to me that you’re Jewish” is not a compliment. We can educate ourselves about Jewish experience, history, and culture; we often don’t learn this in school, and it is not up to Jews to educate us. Specifically understanding that some Jews follow certain dietary rules (keeping Kosher), make sure there are kosher options available if you are serving food.
EXAMPLES OF CLASSISM • Expecting people to be able to front money out of their own pockets and get reimbursed later • • • • Valuing formal over informal education Valuing intellectual skills over practical skills Valuing head work over manual labor Assuming that working-class people are more prejudiced, unintelligent, ignorant, homophobic, etc. • • Not openly discussing costs when planning a group activity, assuming everyone has the necessary resources Assuming that someone else should do the drudge work, so you can be free to do the more creative work • Not noticing or relating to the service workers (janitors, secretaries) around you – believing your are “entitled” to their services • • Generally believing yourself to be superior to poor and working class people Assuming certain communication styles (“polite,” “quiet,” “non-emotional”) are superior Class differences are often un-named and un-spoken, but this does not mean they are unreal. In the U.S. class differences may seem obscured. Many of us grow up thinking we’re middle class, when in reality we’re working class or upper-middle class. People who don’t make it are blamed for their failure, and so often feel ashamed and bad. Judging people by what “status” symbols they have is a difficult habit to break. This includes judging ourselves. We may also judge people by how they talk, dress, how much education they have, or where they live. We can be more direct and open about money. We can plan events that take into account a range of financial situations. We can have sliding scales. We can interrupt when people put down or make fun of poor and working people. We can consider and evaluate our own sense of entitlement, how this
Be careful not to rank oppressions
affects the decisions we make and how we act. INTERNALIZED HOMOPHOBIA/BIPHOBIA • Assuming other lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people are only potential sexual partners, or that every interaction is about flirting and cruising • Criticizing other lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people for being “too out,” “flamboyant,” “blatant” or “militant” about their sexual orientation, staying away from them • • Assuming that everyone is heterosexual, or lesbian, or gay, or bisexual Bisexuals assuming their experience and oppression is the same as a lesbian’s or gay man’s; at times bisexuals enjoy “heterosexual privilege” that is not available to lesbians and gay men • • Lesbians and gay men assuming that bisexuals never experience heterosexism Lesbians and gay men assuming that bisexuals are “just going through a phase,” “non-monogamous or promiscuous,” “confused,” or “will necessarily abandon them for an opposite gender partner” • Not speaking up as strongly on issues of heterosexism as you would about other issues • Thinking that there really is something wrong with being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender folks • Assuming that you would be unwelcome as a lesbian, gay man, bisexual, or transgender person and that you can’t talk about your experiences • Assuming that you cannot find or help develop heterosexual or non-transgender allies • Believing the stereotypes about lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgender people and acting them out or believing there is one right way to be, act, dress, etc. as a lesbian, gay man, bisexual, or transgender person; • Dismissing the uniqueness of transgender experience, e.g., adding “transgender” to the title of your group without learning about transgender experience and gender oppression, including the commonalities and differences between LGB people and transgender people.
LGBT people are part of every group. The essence of our oppression is isolation, invisibility, and shame. It is important for lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgender people to find each other and offer each other support and space to come out in our own unique way. On the other hand it is important for us to gently challenge each other’s internalized homophobia. What keeps us from reporting harassment against us? Do we just take it for granted? What stops us from going to a dance, a meeting, or a demonstration? Sometimes there are real external threats, but often we have a hard time telling the difference between our own internalized fear from external threats. It is important for us to recognize our commonalties as a community, and the unique differences between lesbians and gay men, or lesbians, and bisexual women, as well as the differences among us as a group of gay men or lesbians.
“I’M SO HOMOPHOBIC I CAN’T EVEN TOUCH MYSELF!”
Adapted from NGLTF Campus Organizing Guide
This section highlights some problems faced by the Transgender community and ways that our community can work together to become a united force. We must work together in order to make our movement stronger and to create the equality we seek for our often times gender normative movement.
The information in this section was compiled by Gunner Scott – Director of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition http://www.mtpc.org
TRANSGENDER & GENDER QUEER 101
WE DON’T WANT TO BE ON ANY TALK SHOWS, BE IN ANY ADS, SELL ANY PRODUCTS, STAR IN ANY SITCOMS, OR BE A TARGET MARKET. WE WANT MORE LANGUAGE, MORE FUNDING, MORE HEALTHCARE, MORE SMALL-SIZED SUITS, MORE RESEARCH, MORE OPTIONS. WE WANT MORE SPACE FOR MORE CREATURES. WE DEMAND SAFE AND ACCESSIBLE BATHROOMS FOR PEOPLE OF ALL GENDERS AND UNTIL THEN WE WILL PISS AND SHIT WHEREVER WE WANT. WE ARE NOT DECEIVING YOU. WE ARE NOT MUTILATING OUR BODIES. WE ARE NOT BETRAYING Y/OUR COMMUNITIES. WE ARE BEING AND BECOMING OUR TRUE, FOXY, AND GLORIOUS SELVES. WE ARE PUTTING THE ‘SEX’ BACK IN TRANSSEXUAL. WE CRUISE MEN WITH TITS, CHICKS WITH DICKS, BEARDED LADIES AND GENDERQUEERS OF EVERY SPECIES. WE WANT TO LICK YOUR SCARS AND MAKE IT ALL BETTER.
WE REFUSE TO CHECK EITHER BOX.
WE ARE GUARANTEED TO STAY HARD ALL NIGHT LONG AND NOT GET YOU PREGNANT. WE BAT FOR ALL TEAMS – WE BAT FOR THE WHOLE FUCKING LEAGUE. WE WILL KEEP CRASHING YOUR EVENTS, YOUR POTLUCKS, YOUR BATHHOUSES, YOUR DYKE AND YOUR FAG BARS, YOUR SHELTERS, YOUR SUPPORT GROUPS AND YOUR PLAY PARTIES UNTIL YOU REALIZE THAT
WE ARE PART OF YOUR COMMUNITIES.
UNTIL YOU REALIZE THAT YOUR LIBERATION IS TIED UP WITH OURS. UNTIL YOU REALIZE THAT TRANS IS MORE THAN JUST THE ‘T’ ON THE END OF GLBT. UNTIL YOU REALIZE THE ENDLESS WAYS THAT TRANSPHOBIA LIMITS AND HURTS ALL OF US, TRANS-IDENTIFIED OR NOT. WE ARE GOING TO BREATHE THE FIRE INTO YOUR LUNGS AND LIGHT IT UNDER YOUR ASS: WE AREA THE S/HEROES OF OUR OWN MOVEMENT – JOIN US – THE TRANS REVOLUTION BEGINS HERE AND NOW.
A MILLION GENDERS FOR A MILLION PEOPLE!
TRANSGENDER Transgender is the common umbrella term for people who transgress gender norms or cross society's idea of gender lines. Transgender folks can identify their sexual orientation as heterosexual, gay, lesbian, or bisexual. Transgender is about gender identity and gender expression not sexual orientation. GENDER Self-expression, performance, actions, behavior, dress, grooming of culturally prescribed norms based on binary of male and female. GENDER IDENTITY Inner sense of 'being' male or female, both, or neither, includes sense of self and one's image presented to the world. Self-identification. GENDER BINARY SYSTEM Culturally defined code of acceptable behavior only for 2 gender system of male/female. Men/boys are to exhibit masculine gender presentation, behaviors, and social roles. Women/girls are to exhibit feminine gender presentation, behaviors, and social roles. ASSIGNED SEX/GENDER Based on physical anatomy of genitalia. The Transgender community includes, but not limited to the following labels and identities: Transexual MTF (male to female) transsexual woman- person born/ Assigned Gender at birth as male/boy transitions to live and identify full time as female/woman FTM (female to male) transsexual man- person born/ Assigned Gender at birth as female/girl transitions to live and identify full time as male/man.
LIVE FULL TIME To live and identify in the gender they have transitioned to or self identify as, may or may not use medical intervention such as hormones or gender reassignment surgery (GRS) depending on financial ability, health, and access, but does do a social transition and identify and live as the "opposite" the gender they were born. SOCIAL TRANSITION Can include changing name (legally or through common usage), dressing in clothing of gender they identify with and using pronouns of gender they identify with. Sexual orientation may or may not change with the person's transition and transsexuals can be heterosexual, gay, lesbian, or bisexual. Other identities under the Transgender umbrella: CROSS DRESSER Person who wears clothing opposite their assigned gender, usually not all the time. Does not identify as the opposite gender identity. For example, men who wear what we consider to be women's clothing and women who wear traditionally male attire. Why cross-dress? This varies and can include playfulness (i.e., performance), sexual pleasure, or feelings of comfort and relaxation. Some describe feelings of relief when cross-dressed as the pressures associated with their gender role are shed with the clothing. They generally do not want to live as the opposite gender; in other words, most male cross-dressers identify as male, are comfortable being male, and do not want to change that. Adapted from Making Women's Shelters Accessible to Transgendered Women Allison Cope & Julie Darke October 199
DRAG QUEEN Person, sometimes gay men, impersonating famous females, usually for performance also called female illusionists. DRAG KING Person, sometimes lesbians, impersonating famous males, usually for performance. GENDER NON-CONFORMING PEOPLE "Gender non-conforming" refers to people whose gender expressions do not match stereotypes of how girls/women or boys/men are "supposed to" look and act. In reality, most people in general don't meet all gender expectations and stereotypes either; almost nobody is perfectly masculine or perfectly feminine. The reason gender nonconforming people are included in the list of transgender people is that there are some people who identify as transgender, but are not transitioning gender, and do not consider themselves cross-dressers, androgynous, or genderqueer. Adapted from Transitioning Our Shelters GENDERQUEER GenderQueer term started to come into use in approximately the late 1990's. It has been associated with primarily youth communities and those who are white and where born female and are now along the masculine spectrum, but there are many folks along the age and race/ethnic spectrum that use it to describe themselves and also those who where born male and are along the feminine spectrum. Has also been written as Gender Queer or Genderqueer.
CURRENT WORKING DEFINITION: GENDERQUEER: Those who identify their gender outside the gender binary system of male and female, maybe fluid with gender presentation or not conform to gender stereotypes and may use gender neutral pronouns such as "sie, hir, hir, hirs, hirself" or "zie, zir, zir, zirs, zirself" or choose to use the pronoun closest to the end of the masculine or feminine spectrum they are presenting. Some may do some or all of medical transition or none at all. Some may change their birth name. It is also used by some to describe both their gender identity and their sexuality as queer. Other terms that gender non-conforming or those who have gender identities outside the binary gender system are boy dyke, dyke boy, boi, and by some youth in communities of color are femme queens, butch boi, or drags. INTERSEX (Is not a transgender identity) Intersexuality is a set of medical conditions that features "congenital anomaly of the reproductive and sexual system." That is, a person with an intersex condition is born with sex chromosomes, external genitalia, or an internal reproductive system that is not considered "standard" for either male or female. Adapted from "Introduction to intersex activism" from Intersex Society of North America www.isna.org OTHER TERMS AND DEFINITIONS OUTING The act of disclosing a person's sexual orientation, gender identity, transition status, HIV status, etc…to others. CLOSETED Not disclosing or concealing a person's sexual orientation or gender identity to others.
GENDER NORMATIVE PRIVILEGE
If I am gender normative (or, in some cases, simply perceived as gender normative):
Strangers don’t assume they can ask me what my genitals look like and how I have sex. My validity as a man/woman/human is not based on how much surgery I’ve had or how well I ‘pass’ as a non-transperson. When intiating sex with someone, I do not have to worry that they won’t be able to deal with my parts, or that having sex with me will cause my partner to question his or her own sexual orientation. I am not excluded from events which are either explicitly or de facto (because of nudity) for men-born-men or women-born-women only. My politics are not questioned based on the choices I make with regard to my body. I don’t have to hear “so you’ve had THE surgery?” or “oh, so you’re REALLY a [incorrect sex or gender]?” each time I come out to someone. I am not expected to constantly defend my medical decisions. Strangers do not ask me what my “real name” [birth name] is and then assume they have the right to call me by that name. People do not disrespect me by using incorrect gender pronouns even after they’ve been corrected. I do not have to worry that someone wants to be my friend or have sex with me in order to prove his or her ‘hip-ness’ or good politics. I do not have to worry about whether I will experience harassment or violence for using a bathroom or whether I will be safe changing in a locker room. When engaging in political protests, I do not have to worry about the gendered repercussions of being arrested. (i.e. What will happen to me if the cops find out that my genitals do not match my gendered appearance? Will I be placed in a cell with people of my own gender?) I do not have to defend my right to be a part of ‘Queer,’ and gays and lesbians will not try to exclude me from our movement in order to gain political legitimacy for themselves. My experience of gender (or gendered spaces) is not viewed as ‘baggage’ by others of the gender in which I live.
I do not have to choose between being invisible (passing) or being ‘othered’ and/or tokenized based on my gender. People will not assume that I’m a top/bottom based on my anatomy. I am not told that my sexual orientation and gender identity are mutually exclusive. When I go to the gym or a public pool, I can use the showers. If I end up in the emergency room, I do not have to worry that my gender will keep me from receiving appropriate treatment, or that all of my medical issues will be seen as a result of my gender. (“Your nose is running and your throat hurts? Must be due to the hormones!”) My health insurance provider (or public health system) does not specifically exclude me from receiving benefits or treatments available to others because of my gender. My identity is not considered ‘mentally ill’ by the medical establishment. I am not required to undergo an extensive psychological evaluation in order to receive basic medical care. The medical establishment does not serve as a ‘gatekeeper,’ determining what happens to my body. People do not use me as a scapegoat for their own unresolved gender issues.
q q q q
Adapted from: http://ftmichael.tashari.org/privilege.htm
IMPACT OF TRANSPHOBIA ON YOUTH
In schools, transgender students and, more generally, students with gender expressions that do not conform to gender stereotypes are often bullied and harassed. Some are even violently assaulted. At times, students are prevented from engaging in ordinary school and after-school activities. Often students can feel that they have little support from their schools when teachers and administrators have little training or policy guidance about how to support students with different gender identities and expressions. Not surprisingly, transgender youth subject to persistent hostility in their school are at higher risk of running away from home and subsequent homelessness, because they feel that they have no support or alternatives. E.J., a transgender man who grew up and now works in Massachusetts, experienced homelessness as a youth. In an interview, he explained that: “a hostile school magnifies the likelihood that a transgender kid living in a hostile home will run away. On the other hand, a supportive school gives you hope that, even if your home life is really bad, even violent, there's some hope for the future when you graduate and can go to college.” Overall, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students between the ages of 13 and 20 are at high risk of harassment and violence. A substantial majority feel unsafe in their own schools. Transgender and gender-variant students are disproportionately affected.
WHITE PRIVILEGE: UNPACKING THE INVISIBLE KNAPSACK
"I was taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group" Peggy McIntosh Through work to bring materials from women's studies into the rest of the curriculum, I have often noticed men's unwillingness to grant that they are over privileged, even though they may grant that women are disadvantaged. They may say they will work to women's statues, in the society, the university, or the curriculum, but they can't or won't support the idea of lessening men's. Denials that amount to taboos surround the subject of advantages that men gain from women's disadvantages. These denials protect male privilege from being fully acknowledged, lessened, or ended. Thinking through unacknowledged male privilege as a phenomenon, I realized that, since hierarchies in our society are interlocking, there is most likely a phenomenon; I realized that, since hierarchies in our society are interlocking, there was most likely a phenomenon of while privilege that was similarly denied and protected. As a white person, I realized I had been taught about racism as something that puts others at a disadvantage, but had been taught not to see one of its corollary aspects, white privilege, which puts me at an advantage. I think whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege, as males are taught not to recognize male privilege. So I have begun in an untutored way to ask what it is like to have white privilege. I have come to see white privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets that I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was "meant" to remain oblivious. White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools , and blank checks. Describing white privilege makes one newly accountable. As we in women's studies work to reveal male privilege and ask men to give up some of their power, so one who writes about having white privilege must ask, "having described it, what will I do to lessen or end it?"
After I realized the extent to which men work from a base of unacknowledged privilege, I understood that much of their oppressiveness was unconscious. Then I remembered the frequent charges from women of color that white women whom they encounter are oppressive. I began to understand why we are just seen as oppressive, even when we don't see ourselves that way. I began to count the ways in which I enjoy unearned skin privilege and have been conditioned into oblivion about its existence. My schooling gave me no training in seeing myself as an oppressor, as an unfairly advantaged person, or as a participant in a damaged culture. I was taught to see myself as an individual whose moral state depended on her individual moral will. My schooling followed the pattern my colleague Elizabeth Minnich has pointed out: whites are taught to think of their lives as morally neutral, normative, and average, and also ideal, so that when we work to benefit others, this is seen as work that will allow "them" to be more like "us."
Daily effects of white privilege I decided to try to work on myself at least by identifying some of the daily effects of white privilege in my life. I have chosen those conditions that I think in my case attach somewhat more to skin-color privilege than to class, religion, ethnic status, or geographic location, though of course all these other factors are intricately intertwined. As far as I can tell, my African American coworkers, friends, and acquaintances with whom I come into daily or frequent contact in this particular time, place and time of work cannot count on most of these conditions.
1. I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time. 2. I can avoid spending time with people whom I was trained to mistrust and who have learned to mistrust my kind or me. 3. If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area which I can afford and in which I would want to live. 4. I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me. 5. I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed. 6. I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented. 7. When I am told about our national heritage or about "civilization," I am shown that people of my color made it what it is. 8. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race. 9. If I want to, I can be pretty sure of finding a publisher for this piece on white privilege. 10. I can be pretty sure of having my voice heard in a group in which I am the only member of my race. 11. I can be casual about whether or not to listen to another person's voice in a group in which s/he is the only member of his/her race. 12. I can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my race represented, into a supermarket and find the staple foods which fit with my cultural traditions, into a hairdresser's shop and find someone who can cut my hair. 13. Whether I use checks, credit cards or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of financial reliability.
14. I can arrange to protect my children most of the time from people who might not like them. 15. I do not have to educate my children to be aware of systemic racism for their own daily physical protection. 16. I can be pretty sure that my children's teachers and employers will tolerate them if they fit school and workplace norms; my chief worries about them do not concern others' attitudes toward their race. 17. I can talk with my mouth full and not have people put this down to my color. 18. I can swear, or dress in second hand clothes, or not answer letters, without having people attribute these choices to the bad morals, the poverty or the illiteracy of my race. 19. I can speak in public to a powerful male group without putting my race on trial. 20. I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race. 21. I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group. 22. I can remain oblivious of the language and customs of persons of color who constitute the world's majority without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion. 23. I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behavior without being seen as a cultural outsider. 24. I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to the "person in charge", I will be facing a person of my race. 25. If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven't been singled out because of my race. 26. I can easily buy posters, post-cards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys and children's magazines featuring people of my race.
27. I can go home from most meetings of organizations I belong to feeling somewhat tied in, rather than isolated, out-of-place, outnumbered, unheard, held at a distance or feared. 28. I can be pretty sure that an argument with a colleague of another race is more likely to jeopardize her/his chances for advancement than to jeopardize mine. 29. I can be pretty sure that if I argue for the promotion of a person of another race, or a program centering on race, this is not likely to cost me heavily within my present setting, even if my colleagues disagree with me. 30. If I declare there is a racial issue at hand, or there isn't a racial issue at hand, my race will lend me more credibility for either position than a person of color will have. 31. I can choose to ignore developments in minority writing and minority activist programs, or disparage them, or learn from them, but in any case, I can find ways to be more or less protected from negative consequences of any of these choices. 32. My culture gives me little fear about ignoring the perspectives and powers of people of other races. 33. I am not made acutely aware that my shape, bearing or body odor will be taken as a reflection on my race. 34. I can worry about racism without being seen as self-interested or self-seeking. 35. I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having my co-workers on the job suspect that I got it because of my race. 36. If my day, week or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether it had racial overtones. 37. I can be pretty sure of finding people who would be willing to talk with me and advise me about my next steps, professionally.
38. I can think over many options, social, political, imaginative or professional, without asking whether a person of my race would be accepted or allowed to do what I want to do. 39. I can be late to a meeting without having the lateness reflect on my race. 40. I can choose public accommodation without fearing that people of my race cannot get in or will be mistreated in the places I have chosen. 41. I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help, my race will not work against me. 42. I can arrange my activities so that I will never have to experience feelings of rejection owing to my race. 43. If I have low credibility as a leader I can be sure that my race is not the problem. 44. I can easily find academic courses and institutions which give attention only to people of my race. 45. I can expect figurative language and imagery in all of the arts to testify to experiences of my race. 46. I can chose blemish cover or bandages in "flesh" color and have them more or less match my skin. 47. I can travel alone or with my spouse without expecting embarrassment or hostility in those who deal with us. 48. I have no difficulty finding neighborhoods where people approve of our household. 49. My children are given texts and classes which implicitly support our kind of family unit and do not turn them against my choice of domestic partnership. 50. I will feel welcomed and "normal" in the usual walks of public life, institutional and social.
Elusive and fugitive I repeatedly forgot each of the realizations on this list until I wrote it down. For me white privilege has turned out to be an elusive and fugitive subject. The pressure to avoid it is great, for in facing it I must give up the myth of meritocracy. If these things are true, this is not such a free country; one's life is not what one makes it; many doors open for certain people through no virtues of their own. In unpacking this invisible knapsack of white privilege, I have listed conditions of daily experience that I once took for granted. Nor did I think of any of these perquisites as bad for the holder. I now think that we need a more finely differentiated taxonomy of privilege, for some of these varieties are only what one would want for everyone in a just society, and others give license to be ignorant, oblivious, arrogant, and destructive. I see a pattern running through the matrix of white privilege, a patter of assumptions that were passed on to me as a white person. There was one main piece of cultural turf; it was my own turn, and I was among those who could control the turf. My skin color was an asset for any move I was educated to want to make. I could think of myself as belonging in major ways and of making social systems work for me. I could freely disparage, fear, neglect, or be oblivious to anything outside of the dominant cultural forms. Being of the main culture, I could also criticize it fairly freely. In proportion as my racial group was being made confident, comfortable, and oblivious, other groups were likely being made unconfident, uncomfortable, and alienated. Whiteness protected me from many kinds of hostility, distress, and violence, which I was being subtly trained to visit, in turn, upon people of color. For this reason, the word "privilege" now seems to me misleading. We usually think of privilege as being a favored state, whether earned or conferred by birth or luck. Yet some of the conditions I have described here work systematically to over empower certain groups. Such privilege simply confers dominance because of one's race or sex.
Earned strength, unearned power I want, then, to distinguish between earned strength and unearned power conferred privilege can look like strength when it is in fact permission to escape or to dominate. But not all of the privileges on my list are inevitably damaging. Some, like the expectation that neighbors will be decent to you, or that your race will not count against you in court, should be the norm in a just society. Others, like the privilege to ignore less powerful people, distort the humanity of the holders as well as the ignored groups. We might at least start by distinguishing between positive advantages, which we can work to spread, and negative types of advantage, which unless rejected will always reinforce our present hierarchies. For example, the feeling that one belongs within the human circle, as Native Americans say, should not be seen as privilege for a few. Ideally it is an unearned entitlement. At present, since only a few have it, it is an unearned advantage for them. This paper results from a process of coming to see that some of the power that I originally say as attendant on being a human being in the United States consisted in unearned advantage and conferred dominance. I have met very few men who truly distressed about systemic, unearned male advantage and conferred dominance. And so one question for me and others like me is whether we will be like them, or whether we will get truly distressed, even outraged, about unearned race advantage and conferred dominance, and, if so, what we will do to lessen them. In any case, we need to do more work in identifying how they actually affect our daily lives. Many, perhaps most, of our white students in the United States think that racism doesn't affect them because they are not people of color; they do not see "whiteness" as a racial identity. In addition, since race and sex are not the only advantaging systems at work, we need similarly to examine the daily experience of having age advantage, or ethnic advantage, or physical ability, or advantage related to nationality, religion, or sexual orientation. Difficulties and angers surrounding the task of finding parallels are many. Since racism, sexism, and heterosexism are not the same, the advantages associated with them should not be seen as the same. In addition, it is hard to disentangle aspects of unearned advantage that rest more on social class, economic class, race, religion, sex, and ethnic identity that on other
factors. Still, all of the oppressions are interlocking, as the members of the Combahee River Collective pointed out in their "Black Feminist Statement" of 1977. One factor seems clear about all of the interlocking oppressions. They take both active forms, which we can see, and embedded forms, which as a member of the dominant groups one is taught not to see. In my class and place, I did not see myself as a racist because I was taught to recognize racism only in individual acts of meanness by members of my group, never in invisible systems conferring unsought racial dominance on my group from birth. Disapproving of the system won't be enough to change them. I was taught to think that racism could end if white individuals changed their attitude. But a "white" skin in the United States opens many doors for whites whether or not we approve of the way dominance has been conferred on us. Individual acts can palliate but cannot end, these problems.
To redesign social systems we need first to acknowledge their colossal unseen dimensions. The silences and denials surrounding privilege are the key political surrounding privilege are the key political tool here. They keep the thinking about equality or equity incomplete, protecting unearned advantage and conferred dominance by making these subject taboo. Most talk by whites about equal opportunity seems to me now to be about equal opportunity to try to get into a position of dominance while denying that systems of dominance exist. It seems to me that obliviousness about white advantage, like obliviousness about male advantage, is kept strongly inculturated in the United States so as to maintain the myth of meritocracy, the myth that democratic choice is equally available to all. Keeping most people unaware that freedom of confident action is there for just a small number of people props up those in power and serves to keep power in the hands of the same groups that have most of it already. Although systemic change takes many decades, there are pressing questions for me and, I imagine, for some others like me if we raise our daily consciousness on the perquisites of being light-skinned. What will we do with such knowledge? As we know from watching men, it is an open question whether we will choose to use unearned advantage, and whether we will use any of our arbitrarily awarded power to try to reconstruct power systems on a broader base.
Peggy McIntosh is associate director of the Wellesley Collage Center for Research on Women. This essay is excerpted from Working Paper 189. "White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming To See Correspondences through Work in Women's Studies" (1988), by Peggy McIntosh.
WORKING WITH A DIVERSE TEAM – A FEW TIPS
CREATE DIVERSITY. Create Diversity in your team (i.e. work to ensure a mix of backgrounds in terms of race, gender identity, culture, age, education, physical ability, etc.). It is natural that we are most comfortable around people who are like us – they validate our point of view. We know how to act and what to expect, and we usually avoid offensive behavior. But teams composed of people with the same background are usually not effective over time. They look at problems the same way and usually come up with the same ideas over and over again. Diversity in a team creates fresh perspectives and fosters creativity and innovation. But this requires that we respect people who are different from us. ENCOURAGE DIFFERENT IDEAS. Respect ideas that are different from yours. Make a personal commitment not to judge new ideas immediately but to try to understand and build on those ideas. You can make a conscious decision to hold back from immediately evaluating ideas and can change your responses to new concepts. You will not only be more open and receptive to new thoughts and perspectives but will also be a wonderful example to other members of the team.
CONFRONT ISSUES – NOW. Confront diversity problems immediately. Even though allowing an occasional comment may seem like the best approach, any tolerance of closed thinking will send a strong signal to the team that it is acceptable to shut others out based on bias and prejudice. It is never inappropriate to speak out in support of new and different ideas or to confront subtle biases. Jokes based on race, gender identity, age, religious, or cultural background are NEVER appropriate in a team setting, even when they seem to have nothing to do with anyone on the team. In confronting these biases you might say something like: Simon, I know you don’t intend to hurt anyone by using offensive words like ‘bitch’. But it would really help the team if you respect the fact that words such as that might be hurtful to someone. Let’s try to respect each other’s needs and values – it’s what makes our team strong and successful. DEVELOP COMMONALITIES. Create common ground. Have diversity in team composition, but share common team values as a way to resolve conflicts and focus on the same overall goals. Each team member must be able to support and commit to the values of the work and the team. These are the fundamentals behind all the decisions and actions that occur throughout the course of doing projects. Use the following guidelines to develop positive team values: Do what is right. Do it together. Do what helps others. Do what makes sense.
q q q q
Adapted from Becoming a Better Supervisor Working with a Diverse Team
As a leader at BAGLY, you are no doubt called on to make decisions on the spot. More often, though, you will have to make decisions as a part of a group. How well you work with the group directly affects not only how quickly the group makes decisions but also how everyone feels about the final product. In this section you will explore: • • • • Why group decision making is important How to facilitate decision-making meetings Active Listening Different ways to give and receive feedback
MAKING DECISIONS IN GROUPS
Why You Do It Often, in small groups, the decision-making process is never defined. The result is that the person with the most formal authority (i.e. Co-Chairs) makes the decisions after considering the opinions and politics of the group. In cases where the decision does not require a high level of commitment from members, this autocratic approach will probably work. If, on the other hand, the issue is important to the group, you need their support in order to move forward. In these cases, voting or consensus building are more appropriate options. In general, the more commitment or agreement an issue requires, the more difficult the process to achieve it. When less commitment is required, and less thorough analysis, the group naturally assumes less responsibility for the outcome. As leader, you will avoid conflict and confusion if you clarify with your group exactly how decisions will be made during a meeting or project. Your members will also acquire a valuable life skill if you help them learn how to reach consensus on important and/or difficult problems. How You Do It The four most common types of decisions are autocratic, democratic, consensual, and unanimous. The next page will give you a definition of each of these decision-making styles.
AUTOCRATIC The decision is made by one individual (usually the person in charge) or by a small group.
DEMOCRATIC Everyone gets a vote, and the option with the most votes wins. Some groups use a simple majority (51%); others require two-thirds majority. Voting makes many groups’ decisions.
CONSENSUAL All team members commit to support the decision at hand, though some may not fully agree with it. Those with reservations at least feel they are not compromising their ethics, values, or interests by joining in the consensus.
UNANIMOUS Everyone agrees that the best possible solution has been reached. You will probably encounter few problems that are worth the time required to achieve unanimity. Consensus is more common.
USING A CONSENSUAL PROCESS TO INFORM DECISIONS
When do you decide to push for consensus as opposed to going with a simple (and quick) vote? This is a judgment call, and it is made based on three factors: The importance of the issue The degree to which each person’s support is really needed for success, and Whether a decision has to be made about a particular issue during the meeting.
When making this kind of judgment, you are trying to strike a balance between 1. Pushing participants to make a decision by voting, which doesn’t ensure everyone’s commitment to the action, and 2. Taking too much time to reach consensus, which may result in a sense of wasted time, heightened disagreement, and failure to achieve results. Consensus decisions should be directly related to the purpose of the meeting and should come after the group has had a reasonable amount of time to discuss the issue. At that point, you can take the following actions. Ask the group, “Are we at a point where we can make a decision about this issue?” If so, record a clear statement of that decision. If not, ask, “Keeping aware of our time limits, what do we have to do to arrive at a decision?”
Summarize the decision. “Here is the decision I hear us moving toward. Correct me if I’ve misstated it or left something out.” Ask the group members if they all agree with this decision. Look around to see if every person has nodded or said yes. When reaching consensus is getting a little tougher, take action to help people modify their position enough to achieve what might be called a “real world” consensus. Here are some examples of what you might say in these instances.
“Do you agree that this is a decision or solution that you can support or carry out?” Better yet… “Do you agree that this is the best solution that we can develop collectively?” Or… “Based on this discussion and our need to take action, can you agree to this as a practical solution – perhaps one that is not ideal and not exactly what you want, but nonetheless achievable.” Or… “Remembering that we all have to keep our common purposes in mind, do you agree that this is the best action we can jointly take?” These steps may help the group achieve consensus, however grudgingly. If you get agreement, acknowledge it, summarize key points, identify actions, record the results, and move on. When you are choosing which decision-making approach to use in a particular situation, keep in mind that consensus requires considerable effort and time on the part of the leader and group members. It is most appropriate in situations where The group has clear authority to make and implement the decision There is need for total commitment on the part of the entire group
Adapted from Becoming a Better Supervisor Making Decisions in Groups
GUIDELINES FOR RESOLVING CONFLICT
• Try to differentiate between conflict your group can live with and conflict it cannot live with • • Try to identify exactly what the problem is and whose problem it is Avoid blaming one person or faction for the conflict. Everyone wants to be seen as a good person • • • • • • Assume that there is good will on the part of those involved Never corner the person with whom you disagree Always try to improve communication The more listening you do, the more information you will get It is important to acknowledge and validate everyone’s feelings You don’t have to catch the ball. Think about what is happening instead of just reacting to it • Differentiate between needs and solutions. Most arguments are about solutions. Find out more about what people need. There are usually many alternative solutions to meet real needs • • Learn to view conflict as an opportunity for deeper understanding, growth, and better solutions Remember that progress is a spiral process, it always has potential for some failure
Adapted from NGLTF Campus Organizing Guide
GOOD COMMUNICATION IS KEY TO CONFLICT RESOLUTION Even though all conflict is not the result of misunderstanding, good communication is key to resolving conflicts. In communication there are two roles: the sender and the receiver(s). The following model for communication is very helpful in clarifying the issues and helping different people communicate with each other effectively. Help the sender to express her/his feelings, issues, and concerns in the following form, by filling in the blanks in the manner suggested. Although it will feel awkward at first, try to adhere to this model and it will get easier. STEP 1 I am noticing that you... When you did… When you said… Observable, objectively stated description of behavior is most useful. Watch out for any hidden judgments! STEP 2 I feel… Make a statement about how you feel. Watch out for “-ed” words (“threatened,” “cheated,” “ripped off”) that are hidden judgments! STEP 3 Because I believe… Because I assume… State your belief or assumption that creates your emotional reaction.
Step 4 What I want is… Again, observable, objectively stated descriptions of behavior are most useful. This can relate to you or someone else. Make sure it is doable! Step 5 Because I value… Make a statement about what you value. This is a vision of what you want or care about. The receiver’s job is to engage in active listening, which is a process of feeding back to the other person what you have heard. The receiver can also use the form of the model above. When this cycle is complete the person talking usually feels understood. Understanding is not the same as agreeing, however. The receiver(s) will also have an opportunity to express themselves according to this model and be listened to. Helping people clarify their ability to send messages and helping people to feed back what they have received is one part of conflict resolution. It is especially useful in interpersonal conflicts so that people feel heard and understood.
Adapted from NGLTF Campus Organizing Guide
Using “I Statements” is one of the most useful ways to give feedback. It is extremely important that active listening methods are utilized – that means really trying to understand what someone is trying to say, and where they’re coming from. Of course this isn’t the only way to give feedback. In the next section you’ll look at the DESC Feedback model. You’ll probably use the “I Statement” model more often. I included the DESC model so you could have something to use in a more professional setting.
DESC MODEL FOR FEEDBACK
The DESC model is a feedback method for constructively bringing an issue to a member’s attention and initiating the problem-solving process. An important aspect of the DESC model is that it focuses on the member’s behavior and not on the member. It allows you to separate the member from the problem and engage the member as an equal partner in finding a solution. Essentially, it places you two as allies in finding a resolution to the problem. To begin this process, write or carefully think through the following steps in planning how to approach the member: Describe what the member is doing that creates problems, Express why that behavior is a problem for you as the supervisor or for the project, Specify what you want the member to do instead, Clarify the consequences for either succeeding or failing to change the problem behavior By writing out or thinking out what you want to say to a member – as if you were writing a script – you are likely to be clearer, more forceful, and less judgmental in describing the problem in question. Writing out the script doesn’t mean you sit down with the member in question and read it to them. It means you have thought through the presentation of the issues carefully before meeting with the member. The following paragraphs describe each of the four steps of the model in greater detail.
DESCRIBE A good description covers the facts about the issue, not your assumptions about what these facts mean. In general, we tend to assume what someone’s intentions will be and jump into feedback discussions that sound blameful or judgmental. By describing in writing what the person is doing, the supervisor can review the language for things like “loaded” words that may trigger anger in one or both parties, and the discussion becomes a much more positive one. The description should also be specific so the member can clearly understand what behavior is at issue. EXPRESS Expressing the impact or consequences of the member’s behavior is critical because it relates directly to motivation: Members will be more motivated to change when they understand other people’s perceptions of their actions. The most important reason why the behavior of a member becomes a problem is that it interferes with the group’s dynamics. It is helpful to point out t he positive goals of the group that are being interfered with or delayed by the problem behavior. SPECIFY Specifying means deciding with the member exactly what steps you and the member will take to address the situation at hand; it also means that you decide what you want to stop doing, start doing, or continue doing relative to the behavior. Sometimes it’s simply easier for us to identify changes in our own behavior to preempt a problem that to hope for the member’s problem behavior to change. When specifying the desired outcome of feedback, the supervisor should allow and actively encourage that the member suggest the means for achieving the end result. CLARIFY Identifying consequences can motivate people to change, and it’s good to start with the positive ones. When feedback on an issue is being given for the first time, it may not be necessary to state consequences. In general, though, by explaining the advantages to be gained by a change in behavior, the leader might even be answering the member’s unspoken question: What’s in it for me?
A FEW NOTES ON GIVING THIS TYPE OF FEEDBACK 1. Give feedback as soon after the event as possible, before the behavior becomes a habit and while the member still remembers what happened. 2. Focus on the specific behavior the individual can do something about, not on the person. Avoid generalizations – describe actions. Instead of saying “You are lazy” or “You are always late!” trying describing the instances to which you are referring to, “Arrived 10 minutes late 2 meetings in a row. How can we work together to make sure we can start meetings on time?” 3. Explain why the behavior, not the person is a problem. Explain the kind of behavior that would positively affect the group. 4. Ask whether the member can provide a change in behavior that would help the group. If the member has a problem with a change in behavior, offer to help resolve the problem. One you open up to hear the other side of the story, be prepared to use active listening to help solve the problem.
Adapted from Becoming a Better Supervisor DESC Feedback Model
Hear What People Are Really Saying Listening is one of the most important skills you can have as a leader. How well you listen has a major impact on your effectiveness, and on the quality of your relationships with others. We listen to obtain information. We listen to understand. We listen for enjoyment. We listen to learn. Given all this listening we do, you would think we’d be good at it! In fact we’re not. Depending on whom you ask, we remember a dismal 25-50% of what we hear. That means that when you talk to anyone for 10 minutes, they only really hear 2½-5 minutes of the conversation. If you turn this around, it reveals that when you are receiving directions or being presented with information, you aren’t hearing the whole message either. You hope the important parts are captured in your 25- 50%, but what if they’re not? Clearly, listening is a skill that we can all benefit from improving. By becoming a better listener, you will improve your productivity, as well as your ability to influence, persuade, and negotiate. What’s more, you’ll avoid conflict and misunderstandings – all necessary for leadership success. The way to become a better listener is to practice “active listening”. This is where you make a conscious effort to hear not only the words that another person is saying but, more importantly, to try and understand the total message being sent. In order to do this you must pay attention to the other person very carefully.
You cannot allow yourself to become distracted by what else may be going on around you, or by forming counter arguments that you’ll make when the other person stops speaking. Nor can you allow yourself to lose focus on what the other person is saying. All of these barriers contribute to a lack of listening and understanding. To enhance your listening skills, you need to let the other person know that you are listening to what he or she is saying. To understand the importance of this, ask yourself if you’ve ever been engaged in a conversation when you wondered if the other person was listening to what you were saying. You wonder if your message is getting across, or if it’s even worthwhile to continue speaking. It feels like talking to a brick wall and it’s something you want to avoid.
Acknowledgement can be something as simple as a nod of the head or a simple “uh huh.” You aren’t necessarily agreeing with the person, you are simply indicating that you are listening. Using body language and other signs to acknowledge you are listening also reminds you to pay attention and not let your mind wander. You should also try to respond to the speaker in a way that will both encourage him or her to continue speaking, so that you can get the information if you need. While nodding and “uh huhing” says you’re interested, an occasional question or comment to recap what has been said communicates that you understand the message as well. Remember what we talked about in the facilitation section? Paraphrasing is a very useful tool to show that you’re actively listening to the person trying to communicate with you. Active Listening requires a fair amount of work. The next section includes some tips to help aid the process of becoming an active listener. Tip: If you're finding it particularly difficult to concentrate on what someone is saying, try repeating their words mentally as they say it – this will reinforce their message and help you control mind drift.
BECOMING AN ACTIVE LISTENER
There are five key elements of active listening. They all help you ensure that you hear the other person, and that the other person knows you are hearing what they are saying. PAY ATTENTION. Give the speaker your undivided attention and acknowledge the message. Recognize that what is not said also speaks loudly.
q q q q q
Look at the speaker directly. Put aside distracting thoughts. Don’t mentally prepare a rebuttal! Avoid being distracted by environmental factors. “Listen” to the speaker’s body language. Refrain from side conversations when listening in a group setting.
SHOW THAT YOU ARE LISTENING. Use your own body language and gestures to convey your attention.
q q q q
Nod occasionally. Smile and use other facial expressions. Note your posture and make sure it is open and inviting. Encourage the speaker to continue with small verbal comments like yes, and uh huh.
Our personal filters, assumptions, judgments, and beliefs can distort what we hear. As a listener, your role is to understand what is being said. This may require you to reflect what is being said and ask questions.
Reflect what has been said by paraphrasing. “What I’m hearing is…” and “Sounds like you are saying…” are great ways to reflect back. Ask questions to clarify certain points. “What do you mean when you say…” “Is this what you mean?” Summarize the speaker’s comments periodically.
DEFER JUDGMENT. Interrupting is a waste of time. It frustrates the speaker and limits full understanding of the message.
Allow the speaker to finish. Don’t interrupt with counterarguments.
RESPOND APPROPRIATELY. Active listening is a model for respect and understanding. You are gaining information and perspective. You add nothing by attacking the speaker or otherwise putting him or her down.
Be candid, open, and honest in your response. Assert your opinions respectfully. Treat the other person as he or she would want to be treated.
Tip: If you find yourself responding emotionally to what someone said, say so, and ask for more information: "I may not be understanding you correctly, and I find myself taking what you said personally. What I thought you just said is _____; is that what you meant?"
CLOSING THOUGHTS ON ACTIVE LISTENING It takes a lot of concentration and determination to be an active listener. Old habits are hard to break, and if your listening habits are as bad as many people’s are, then there’s a lot of habit-breaking to do! Be deliberate with your listening and remind yourself constantly that your goal is to truly hear what the other person is saying. Set aside all other thoughts and behaviors and concentrate on the message. Ask question, reflect, and paraphrase to ensure you understand the message. If you don’t, then you’ll find that what someone says to you and what you hear can be amazingly different! Start using active listening today to become a better communicator and improve your productivity and relationships.
BAGLY was one of the first LGBT youth organizations in the country (and possibly the world) to being peer-to-peer Health Education and Risk Reduction. In 1981 BAGLY held its first meeting about the “Gay Cancer”/GRID (Gay Related Immune Deficiency), then names for HIV/AIDS. BAGLY began receiving money from the AIDS Walk held by the AIDS Action Committee in the late 1980s. This initial funding paved the way for the operation of the first Toll-Free HIV Hotline for LGBT youth. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health provided more formal funding in 1991 through a funding stream named “Project Teen Health.” In 1998 BAGLY became the first LGBT youth organization to offer on-site testing in the state. Almost ten years later, in 2008, BAGLY became the first to offer peer-to-peer HIV counseling and testing. Informal peer-to-peer health education became a formal program in 1996 when youth members organized the Health Education and Risk Reduction Team (HEARRT). HEARRT is the model of peer-to-peer education that takes place to this day! The next section is a refresher of HIV and STD prevention along with some sexual health resources for LGBT youth.
WHAT IS SEX-POSITIVE?
A “Sex Positive” framework can be characterized by the following: • • • • Affirming and inclusive of diversity Recognizing that adolescence is a time of sexual development and Experimentation Supporting young people to develop healthy, respectful and consensual relationships • Choosing to be, or not to be, sexually active is a normal, healthy part of adolescence • • Acknowledging all young people as sexual beings Not using labels or confining young people’s sexuality but affirming a young person’s capacity to define, name and express their sexuality This looks like many things at BAGLY. Perhaps, the most obvious representation of s sexpositive framework at BAGLY is the fact that we educate youth about safer sex practices (as opposed to teaching abstinence only education.) There are many other ways we can employ a sex-positive framework at BAGLY. The many components of sex-positive frameworks usually require a shift of thinking in regards to gender as well. Here are few suggestions: People of diverse gender expression and identity must be afforded the same respect and rights as those whose gender identity and expressions conform to societal expectations. • Gender identity is not the same as sexual identity. Transgender is not a sexual orientation issue, although some transgender people do identify as same-sex attracted. • • All gender expressions are healthy and valid. The male/female system of gender is limiting to some people’s sense of who they are. Many gender expressions have existed in all cultures and times. The “problem” is not gender difference, but a rigid and confining gendered social system.
These are some things we can do together to ensure we are creating a sex-positive space: • • Affirm a “sex positive” framework. Acknowledge, affirm and be inclusive of the spectrum of sexual and gender identities. • Acknowledge that sexuality is part of a young person’s whole being and not a deviation and/or disease. • Ensure an environment that is affirming and inclusive of diversity. This may include posters on the walls, videos, educational materials and resources that are inclusive and supportive of all young people. • Use sex and gender-neutral language in talking with everyone in our space. (For example, “What does your partner think about this?”; “Does he or she know about how you feel?”) • Be aware of other sources of information and support for young people in relation to sexuality and identity issues. Know how to access them, including access to positive role models, linkages to youth peer support groups, youth specific information and provide opportunities to discuss sexuality issues in confidence. • Encourage and support discussions to talk about thoughts, beliefs, and feelings around sexuality. • Become (or remain) active in issues relating to equal opportunity and human rights legislation, homophobia, coming out, same-sex relationships, issues affecting transgender young people, differences between gender and sexual identity, and human sexuality. • Be aware that “coming out” is a process and a personal decision. When and to whom to come out is the young person’s choice and ideally should be done with support and options. • • Develop policies that explicitly affirm sexual diversity and challenge homophobia. Develop supportive environments for transgender young people.
To be sure, we already practice many of these ideas within our space however, there’s always more that we can do to ensure we are supporting everyone in all aspects of their identities.
Adapted from New South Wales Association for Adolescent Health Position Paper Young People and Sexuality
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. This is the virus that causes AIDS. HIV is different from most other viruses because it attacks the immune system. The immune system gives our bodies the ability to fight infections. HIV finds and destroys a type of white blood cell (T cells or CD4 cells) that the immune system must have to fight disease. AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. AIDS is the final stage of HIV infection. It can take years for a person infected with HIV, even without treatment, to reach this stage. Having AIDS means that the virus has weakened the immune system to the point at which the body has a difficult time fighting infections. When someone has one or more of these infections and a low number of T cells, it is said that the virus has progressed to AIDS.
BRIEF HISTORY OF HIV IN THE UNITED STATES
HIV was first identified in the United States in 1981 after a number of gay men started getting sick with a rare type of cancer. It took several years for scientists to develop a test for the virus, to understand how HIV was transmitted between humans, and to determine what people could do to protect themselves. In 2008, CDC adjusted its estimate of new HIV infections because of new technology and developed by the agency. Before this time, CDC estimated there were roughly 40,000 new HIV infections each year in the United States. New results shows there were dramatic declines in the number of new HIV infections from a peak of about 130,000 in the mid 1980s to a low of roughly 50,000 in the early 1990s. Results also shows that new infections increased in the late 1990s, followed by a leveling off since 2000 at about 55,000 per year.
AIDS cases began to fall dramatically in 1996, when new drugs became available. Today, more people than ever before are living with HIV/AIDS. CDC estimates that about 1 million people in the United States are living with HIV or AIDS. About one quarter of these people do not know that they are infected: not knowing puts them and others at risk.
HOW HIV IS AND IS NOT TRANSMITTED
HIV is a fragile virus. It cannot live for very long outside the body. As a result, the virus is not transmitted through day-to-day activities such as shaking hands, hugging, or a casual kiss. You cannot become infected from a toilet seat, drinking fountain, doorknob, dishes, drinking glasses, food, or pets. You also cannot get HIV from mosquitoes. HIV is primarily found in the blood, semen, or vaginal fluid of an infected person. HIV is transmitted in 3 main ways: Having sex (anal, vaginal, or oral) with someone infected with HIV Sharing needles and syringes with someone infected with HIV Being exposed (fetus or infant) to HIV before or during birth or through breast feeding HIV also can be transmitted through blood infected with HIV. However, since 1985, all donated blood in the United States has been tested for HIV. Therefore, the risk for HIV infection through the transfusion of blood or blood products is extremely low. The U.S. blood supply is considered among the safest in the world.
q q q
RISK FACTORS FOR HIV TRANSMISSION
You may be at increased risk for infection if you have
Injected drugs or steroids, during which equipment (such as needles, syringes, cotton, water) and blood were shared with other. Had unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex (that is, sex without using condoms) with men who have sex with men, multiple partners, or anonymous partners. Been given a diagnosis of, or been treated for, hepatitis, tuberculosis (TB), or a sexually transmitted disease (STD) such as syphilis. Received a blood transfusion or clotting factor during 1978–1985. Had unprotected sex with someone who has any of the risk factors listed above.
HIV TESTING IS CRITICAL HIV-positive individuals can only access advances in care and treatment if it’s known that they are in fact positive. And, early intervention appears to benefit individuals. Unfortunately, not everyone gets tested. Some fears may include Ignorance is bliss – sometimes it’s just easier not to know Distrust of the medical establishment – sometimes this is deep-rooted and based on a history of oppression; other times, it’s just plain fear of the doctor • Fears around confidentiality – some HIV tests are anonymous, others are confidential. However, this does not always assure individuals. Especially if she or he knows staff at the clinic! Since HIV-positive individuals are discriminated against, this is a real concern. • Lack of coping skills – some individuals simply feel they are not in a position to find out their results. Some people are emotionally unprepared to receive an HIV test result. Others may not have insurance or money to pay for treatment if they receive a positive result.
SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES
Some things to think and talk about HIV/AIDS may have shifted the focus of safer sex and sexual health messaging away from other STDs, leaving people without information. However, other STDs are still out there. All STDs can be preventable when people practice safer sex! By safer sex, we mean more than simply wearing a condom or using a dental dam – we’re also talking about negotiation and communicating with your partner(s). It’s also important to know your body! Be aware of any changes or symptoms your body may be exhibiting and get regular checkups by a doctor or at a clinic. Your local health department can provide you with information. STD infections make people more vulnerable to HIV infection! If you’re infected with another STD, you may have sores or lesions, making it easier for HIV to get into your body. In addition, many STDs weaken the immune system, leaving you more susceptible to other infections, like HIV. Finally, many people (if not most) do not know that they are infected with an STD when they actually are. You often cannot be sure that you or anyone else is “healthy” simply by looking at them. Learn to talk openly with your partner(s). Stay healthy…you’re worth it!
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.