Toolkit Curriculum

I LIVE FOR MEDIA LITERACY

OBJECTIVES:

  • To deconstruct portrayal of trans folks in the media.
  • To examine positive uses of media by trans folks.
  • To explore the impact of media portrayals on trans folks.

SUPPLIES:

  • over-sized sticky notes
  • markers
  • equipment to watch documentary

Warm-Up

Go around in the circle and give your name, pronoun and answer the question: when did you first see a trans person on TV/ in the media?

Group Brainstorm

  • Write “trans people in pop culture” at the top of the butcher paper.
  • Ask the group to brainstorm trans folks that people have seen in various forms of  media, including fiction, news, documentaries and movies until the room seems to be out of ideas.
  • Discuss:
    • Which of these images are positive and why? Which of these images are negative and why?
    • What assumptions do we see reflected in the role trans people and characters have in the media?
    • Can you think of any good news you associate with trans people?
    • What stereotypes do we see represented about trans people?
    • How are the ways that trans people are represented similar to the way that other marginalized people are represented?
    • What kind of characters are trans characters?
    • How do you feel about the trans people you see represented on television?

Video

IFrameSee DVD or transoralhistory.com website

Discussion

  • What themes about representation came out in the video?
  • Some people say all visibility is good visibility. What do you think of that attitude?
  • How did the perspectives of older people in the video differ from those of young people?
  • How has the media changed according to the video?
  • What kind of ideas and identities do you think the media represents as positive/admirable/good?
  • How do trans people and people of color not fit into those ideas?
  • How does the way television represents trans folks impact people in real life?
  • What would an ideal media portrayal of a trans people be like?

Into Our Own Hands

Brainstorm: What are tools that we have to combat harmful media stereotypes and misrepresentations?

Possible Answers:

  • Sharing resources and media we do find that represents trans people well.
  • Ask trans folks and other marginalized people how they want to be represented when they are being covered in the news, whether it’s a school newspaper, a press conference or a group presentation.
  • Make our own media, and be inclusive of trans folks in the media we make about LGBTQ community whether it’s a flyer, music video, or poem.
  • ANY time a news station genders somebody incorrectly, we can email or call that station and ask them to correct themselves. A lot of local news producers lack the understanding and/or time to investigate if someone is being gendered incorrectly.  However, you can always call the news desk or email in and say:
  • “Hi, my name is _____ and I am a viewer of your show, _______________.  I noticed that in the story on _____________(topic/person) on __________ (date) you misgendered ____________.  It is really important to report accurately about transgender people.  GLAAD has a really good guide for journalists that you can find here: http://www.glaad.org/reference/transgender.”
  • Distribute the GLAAD guide for media makers about dealing with gender.                http://www.glaad.org/reference/transgender

I LIVE FOR HEALTHCARE

OBJECTIVES:

  • Raise awareness about the structural barriers to accessing adequate and respectful health care.
  • Show what affirming, trans-inclusive healthcare looks like

SUPPLIES:

  • A small stuffed animal
  • Transition in Progress Prompt Cards
  • equipment to watch documentary

Warm Up

Stand in a circle. Toss the animal to someone across from you in the circle. When you catch the animal, you must say your name, pronoun, and answer the question: What does going to the doctor make you think of?

Video

IFrameSee DVD or transoralhistory.com website

Discussion

  • What are some of the barriers people faced in receiving transition-related care?
  • What strategies did trans patients use to navigate those barriers?
  • How did people’s being trans impact how they received health care unrelated to their transition?
  • How did health professionals individual attitudes and actions impact patients’ care?
  • What were some positive examples of how health care professionals can be helpful to trans patients?
  • Some people talked about health care in prison. What about that conversation surprised you? Why do you think it’s important to talk about health care in prison?

Transition in Progress

  • Overview: Three transgender patients are trying to start on hormones to aid in their gender transition. Participants will act out different roles that illustrate three different experiences of trying to transition (corresponding to the three different patients). Each patient will interact with at least one information source, one therapist, and one doctor en route to getting hormones. Some will see more. Each card will contain a script for the interaction, and the next step in the gender process will always  be stated at the bottom of each card. See Transition in Progress Prompt Cards.
  • Choose four volunteers. One will be a patient, one a doctor, one a therapist, and one an information source.
  • Four volunteers go to the front of the room. Each one brings a chair with them. The doctor and therapist sit in a chair with an empty chair across from them (as if in an office). The patient and the information source stand to the side.
  • The facilitator explains to the group, “While some transgender people decide not to take medical steps towards transitioning, many transgender people do. There is no nationally standardized pathway to gender transition, and this exercise is meant to show examples of some of the possible paths. During this exercise, each transgender patient will have the same goal–to start hormones. Each patient will navigate through the system, trying to get accurate information, go to a therapist, and then see a doctor who can prescribe them hormones. If you are not actively involved in this exercise, please watch and pay attention to the complexities trans people face in accessing hormones as well the ways that people in the system can make a difference.”
  • The facilitator chooses Patient Card 1, and gives it to the patient. The patient will remain constant until the end of the round.  The facilitator gives the doctor, therapist, and information source all of the cards that correspond to their role. They will be told which card to read from by the preceding character. Some will be helpful and some will not be.
  • The patient looks at the card and introduces who they are to the group.
  • Patient navigates to the next step as directed until an outcome is reached.
  • After Patient 1 gets a hormone prescription, start over again with a new set of volunteers.
  • Repeat steps as stated on the cards. (Hint: This one ends differently)
  • After Patient 2 gets hormones, start over again with a new set of volunteers.
  • When all patients have gotten hormones, the discussion begins.

Discussion

To the patients–

  • ”How did it feel to go through that process? Did any of your experiences surprise you? How do you think the process of gender transition plays out in real life for trans folks?”

To everyone–

  • ”What were the major differences between the helpful and unhelpful practitioner? What were some of the reasons that the unhelpful practitioners were unhelpful (i.e. some didn’t have enough training, some had bad attitudes about gender variance, some didn’t see the value of patient choice)? What factors influenced and changed the process from patient to patient? How did identities and circumstances outside of someone’s gender identity play into their process for gender transition? What are some changes that could be made to the system to make the process of starting hormones easier for trans patients?”

I LIVE FOR EMPLOYMENT

OBJECTIVES:

  • To understand some barriers that transgender and gender-nonconforming people face in finding and maintaining employment.
  • To help young people brainstorm and practice being allies in a workplace setting.

SUPPLIES:

  • over-sized sticky notes
  • markers
  • index cards with skit prompts on them
  • documentary

Warm Up

  • Pair students (facilitator may join if there’s an uneven number of students) and ask them to think back to when they were 10 years old. What did they want to be when they grew up, and do they think now that they could do that?
  • Tell participants that they will have 2 minutes to talk to their partner. You will call switch when 2 minutes are up, and their partner will have 2 minutes to talk. Emphasize that the silent partner should be actively listening and can ask questions.
  • Warn participants when there is only 30 seconds left that they need to wrap up and prepare to switch.
  • When both partners in each pair have had a chance to speak, ask for volunteers to share their conversation with the group. Highlight how many transgender people have similar goals but face many barriers to achieving those goals, and guide a discussion about those barriers.

Video: Employment Mini Documentary

IFrameSee DVD or Website

Discussion

  • Choose questions below that feel most relevant or interesting to the group.
  • What are some different perspective presented in the mini documentary about being out as trans while on the job?
  • Notice that Alexis was the boss at her small business. How did that impact her ability to be out?
  • Melvin referred to himself as privileged because he works in academia. What do you think he meant by that?
  • What are some other factors that you think could impact trans people’s comfort being out on the job?
  • What is ENDA?
  • One of the first things mentioned was how the Human Rights Campaign excluded the transgender community from ENDA in 2007. Do you think that was the right thing to do? Why or why not?
  • There is still no Federal ENDA. Why do you passing ENDA has been unsuccessful?
  • Does it seem like working conditions are changing for trans people? Why or why not?
  • Alexis says things have not changed since she came out 50 years ago, but Katie talks about how things are changing with the corporate equality index. Why do you think they have such different perspectives?
  • Salem says she doesn’t believe changes in laws will change employers’ perspective. What do you think about that?
  • Other than laws, what are steps that can be taken to change employment conditions for trans people?

 Barrier Break out groups

  • Split class into two groups and have them each stand on opposite side of the room
  • Give each breakout group a piece of butcher paper or large sticky note. One will say “finding a job” at the top and the other will say ”on the job.”
  • Ask the two groups to brainstorm: What are some difficulties a person who is transgender or gender variant might face while looking for a job (during interviews, when writing a resume, etc.) or at work when they have a job (interacting with customers and co-workers, etc.)?
  • Give everyone 5 minutes to brainstorm on their own (see appendix V for some suggested questions or themes to bring up if youth are struggling.)
  • Ask groups to report back to one another, inviting youth from the other group to make additions to each list at the end.

What happens next?

  • Split into groups of 3 and perform skits (see What Happens Next Skit Prompts for details)
  • Distribute index cards to each group with printed and mounted prompts.
  • Some groups can have the same prompt
  • Reflect as a group when they are all done.
    • Did these seem realistic?
    • Why is it important for someone who is not the target of an attack or insult to do something?
    • Which kinds of responses or scenes were resolved well? Why do you think that is?
    • Which responses didn’t go as well?
    • How would what you have learned here change how you would act in real life?
    • How could you be a better ally in the workplace?

What Happens Next Skit Prompts

Group 1: Two baristas are at a small coffee shop. One barista is gender non-conforming, she was born female but dresses as male. A customer comes in and begins asking her uncomfortable questions. Act it out.

Group 2: Two people are working at a sandwich shop. The bathrooms need to be cleaned. One co-worker is trans and is unsure about which bathroom they should clean. Act it out.

Group 3: Two people are working at a retail clothing store in the dressing rooms. A woman comes to the desk and turns to your transgender co-worker and asks,”what is he doing here?” Act it out

I LIVE FOR CREATING ACCEPTANCE

OBJECTIVES:

  • Highlight pressures trans people face both within and outside of the community
  • Show how different people navigate social pressures associated with trans identity
  • Consider how to create affirming & liberatory spaces

SUPPLIES:

  • Large, open room or outdoor space
  • equipment to watch documentary

Warm Up

Split students into groups of 3 with people they know the least well. Ask them to go around and state their names, pronouns, and share a time when someone else created a space that felt affirming and welcoming for you.

Video

IFrameSee DVD or transoralhistory.com website

Discussion

  • What are some of the pressures that trans people face from those outside of the community? Where do those come from?
  • How do those outside pressures play out within the community?
  • How do the pressures and dynamics of the larger world impact the pressures and dynamics within communities you are a part of (LGBTQ, cultural communities, etc.)?
  • How do those outside pressures play out within individuals in the documentary?
  • Melvin and Sandi both talk about how their experiences of blackness impact their experiences of trans space. How are they similar or different?
  • How does recognizing our own assumptions, expectations, and the rules we make for one another relate to the topic of creating acceptance?
  • How did the individuals in the documentary create acceptance?

Privilege Walk

  • Have participants form a straight line across the room about an arm’s length apart leaving space in front and behind.
  • Facilitator opens, “Listen to the following statements, and follow the instructions given. For example, when I read ‘If you are a white male, take one step forward,’ only white males will move and everyone else will stand still. Each step should be a average length step. No one is going to check up on you, so if you feel you qualify to take a step then do so, if not then you may stay where you are. You are the judge of what you should do.”
  • Read the statements one at a time allowing time for participants to take a step forward or backwards as following the direction of the prompt. (see next page for Privilege Walk Prompts).

Privilege Walk Prompts:

  • Step forward if you can use gendered restrooms without fear of being interrogated about your gender.
  • Step back if you have ever been told you are not man enough or woman enough to belong in a social setting or group.
  • Step forward if people you look up to are from the same racial or cultural background as you are
  • Step forward if your family understands how to support you emotionally
  • Step forward if you can reliably predict how people will respond to your gender presentation in new situations and circumstances
  • Step forward if you feel like you do not need to change your body to feel comfortable with yourself
  • Step forward if people you identify with typically accept you as one of them
  • Step forward if others who came before you helped create an environment where people are aware of the difficulties you face
  • Step back if the people you are interested in dating respond to you by being offended or insecure about their own sexuality.
  • Step forward if you believe others in your day-to-day life will listen to you when you advocate for yourself

Discuss

  • What is your gut reaction to where you find yourself?
  • Did any of the prompts make you think about something you hadn’t considered before?
  • What was that like? How does it feel to be in front? In the middle? In back?
  • Did you come to any new realizations throughout the exercise?
  • If we were all starting a race and these were our starting points, who would be the most likely to finish first?
  • This exercise is about recognizing the ways we are privileged and ways we are oppressed. When the rules of a system give you benefits, you are privileged. When the rules of a system are stacked against you, you are oppressed. How do the idea of privilege and oppression relate to creating acceptance?
  • How can people who don’t experience a problem or concern help those who do?

I LIVE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS

OBJECTIVES:

  • To help inform youth on current legal rights for queer and trans people.
  • To encourage youth to think critically about how legal rights impact different parts of the LGBT community.

SUPPLIES:

  • 3 US map handouts (Appendix I, II, III)
  • ball or plush animal
  • 2 different colored pencils

Warm Up

  • Ask participants to stand in a circle
  • Choose a soft, small item for them to throw (a ball or plush animal)
  • Ask participants to throw the item to each other and whoever catches it says “I am [your name]. I go by [he, she, they, etc.] pronouns, and if I could have anything I wanted…”
  • Make sure everyone gets to introduce themselves at least once, twice if there are few enough people.

Fifty Nifty United States:

  • Ask participants if they understand what employment non-discrimination means. If no one else can, then you explain using examples (i.e. you can’t be fired for being black or gay or trans). Clarify that protection on the basis of gender identity (being transgender) is different than protection on the basis of sexual orientation. Make sure everyone is on the same page before moving on.
  • Divide participants into groups of 3-5.
  • Distribute a blank copy of the US map, along with a light and darker colored pencil to each group.
  • Ask participants to use the darker color to draw lines through the states where gay marriage is legal and to use the lighter color to color in states where gender identity is protected by law.
  • Let participants work together in small groups for 5 minutes, encouraging groups to talk it out before coloring.
  • If a group seems stuck, approach them individually and help them brainstorm, “Have you heard about any states in the news? Which places do you think are more gay-friendly?”
  • Share the Employment Non-Discrimination and Gay Marriage maps with the group (See following pages)

Discussion:

  • How were your answers different than the reality the maps show?
  • Does the reality shift or alter your expectations?
  • Why do you think laws are different in different places?
  • Did you know more about one issue than the other? If so, why do you think that it is?
  • Do you think one is more important than the other? Which one? Why?
  • How can you be a part of changing people’s awareness around you?
  • How does your state rank?
  • Is there anything you want to do about it?