Activity for participants to reflect on their early lessons and impressions of trans* people and trans* identity.

Necessary supplies

Set up

  • Pass out participant sheets to all participants and ensure they have a pen/pencil

Goals & objectives

  • To explore participants’ first awareness of trans* identities
  • Help people realize how socialization has impacted their understanding and predispositions toward gender and trans* identity
  • To make salient where participants are coming from and where you came from and the evolution and changes in everyone’s understanding over the years

Framing

  • This activity is about exploring some of our early lessons and impressions about trans* people and trans* identity
  • It is a reflective activity so none of what you write here is going to be collected, it is just for your own reflection
  • We will take a little time after the activity to debrief some of our thoughts, but no one will be required to share

Step-by-Step Walk Through

  1. Ask participants to pull out their handout and instruct them to work through the questions writing down their thoughts for each question. If there is a question they don’t know how to answer that’s okay just encourage them to do what they can. If the questions inspire additional questions, ask them to write those additional questions down.
  2. Give participants ~5 minutes to answer.
  3. Move into the debrief questions, selecting the ones that feel right for you in the moment, before wrapping up the activity.

Debrief Questions

What was it like to do this activity?
Did anyone have any questions that came up while they were working through the worksheet?
Does anyone have any reflections on that third question that they would like to share with the group?
That last question can be very challenging because it asks us to be reflective about something we may be currently working out, did anyone have any reflections on that last question they’d be willing to share?
Why do you think we had you do this activity?

Wrap-up

Summarize a main learning during the activity
Share with participants why you felt it was important to do this activity. (Ex. “It is important for us to reflect on where we first learned a lot of our understandings and to recognize that our understanding often has changed over our lifespan and that learning and taking in new information is par for the course.”

Make it your own

There are a number of ways you can modify this activity. You may want to not do a large debrief with the group and instead just have folks partner up and talk with one other person about what came up for them.

Notes

This activity, while useful for folks to reflect on, for many groups will create more questions than answers. Depending on your audience the words transgender, genderqueer, and/or cisgender might be completely new and that would really hinder people answering the questions and having time to reflect on those thoughts because they will instead be focused on those new words. You could always remove the words genderqueer and cisgender if you want to introduce those words later in the workshop and think it will hinder your audience’s abilities to be reflective.

Participant Sheet

Answer the following questions to the best of your ability:

  • When’s the first time you can remember learning that not all people identified as cisgender and that some people identified as transgender or genderqueer?
  • Where did most of the influence of your initial impressions/understanding of transgender and genderqueer people come from? (e.g., family, friends, television, books, news, church)
  • How have your impressions/understanding of transgender and genderqueer people changed or evolved throughout your life?
  • What is something that you are still in the process of unlearning about in regards to transgender and genderqueer identity?