Published on August 2, 2007
Allies Pre-Training Module: Allies Pre-Training Module for the Friday, April 6th Safe Zone Program Training 11 AM-1 PM Student Wellness Center, Room 205 Introduction: Introduction Welcome to the Allies Pre-Training Module! The purpose of this module is to help provide a basic understanding of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) terminology, as well as helping you to gain a greater appreciation for the challenges experienced by LGBT youth and the importance of your role as allies in the university community. Introduction cont.: Introduction cont. After each section of the module, there are questions to answer that will help ensure your understanding of the material. Please bring the answers to these questions with you to the training. Here we go! Section 1 – Being an Ally: Section 1 – Being an Ally What is an ally? An ally is 'a person who is a member of the dominant or majority group who works to end oppression in his or her personal and professional life through support of, and as an advocate for, the oppressed population,' namely, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals. An ALLY for LGBT persons is most often a heterosexual person who works as an advocate for LGBT people and LGBT issues in their personal an professional life. Being an Ally: Being an Ally What does an ally do? Commits him or herself to personal growth in the area of LGBT awareness in spite of discomfort Is willing to confront his or her own prejudices, stereotypes and misunderstandings Believes that all persons regardless of age, sex, race, gender, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation should be treated with dignity and respect Engages in and is committed to developing a climate (e.g., on campus, at home, at work) that is free of hate and oppression toward LGBT individuals, and free from homophobia and heterosexism Recognizes the legal, political, and financial power andamp; privilege that heterosexual persons have that LGBT persons are denied Being an Ally: Being an Ally An ally also: Supports the Ally program at his or her university or place of work Practices acceptance, support and inclusiveness of LGBT persons Is willing to be an advocate for LGBT persons and LGBT issues Is willing to avoid making a point of being heterosexual Is aware of andamp; comfortable with his or her own sexual orientation andamp; the development of that orientation Understands the coming out process Understands the concepts of internalized homophobia and oppression Understands that there is great diversity within the LGBT community as with any other group Being an Ally: Being an Ally Levels in becoming an ally (1) Awareness: This involves becoming aware of who you are, and how you are different from and similar to LGBT persons. This is accomplished through self-examination, talking with LGBT persons, attending LGBT related events, reading material that is inclusive of LGBT lifestyles, etc. (2) Knowledge/ Education: Understanding and knowledge regarding the experiences of LGBT persons in your community, state and nation. Understanding the laws and policies that affect LGBT persons, and the history of those laws and policies. Educating yourself about the LGBT community in your area and around the country. Contacting and being aware of LGBT groups, organizations and other resources in your community. Being an Ally: Being an Ally Levels in becoming an ally cont. (3) Skills: This involves developing skills you need to communicate your awareness and knowledge as an advocate. You can gain these skills through attending workshops andamp; other ALLY training events, practicing awareness-raising in safe settings (e.g., with supportive friends andamp; colleagues). (4) Action: The most important, andamp; scariest level. This step involves taking what you know, and what you have learned andamp; feel strongly about concerning LGBT issues and helping to cause change in our society. Ally Review Questions: Ally Review Questions What do you think is the most important aspect of being an ally? How do you think you could be an advocate for the LGBT community in your workplace? What fears do you have about taking action as an advocate for the LGBT community at Tech? Section 2 - LGBT Terminology: Section 2 - LGBT Terminology LGBTQ: refers to individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, or queer Homosexual: A person who is emotionally, physically and/or sexually attracted to a person of the same sex. Gay: A common and acceptable term for male homosexuals, but also used when referring to both men and women. Lesbian: A common and acceptable term for female homosexuals. Bisexual: A person who is emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to both men and women. Transgender: An umbrella term for individuals who blur the lines of traditional gender expression. It sometimes refers to crossdressers and transsexuals. It also reflects recent scholarship which suggests gender to be socially constructed. Transgendered individuals recognize the social construction of their genders and thus do not fit neatly within societally-prescribed gender roles determined by biological sex. Terminology: Terminology Transsexual: An individual whose gender identity is in conflict with their physical sex. The body the person was born with does not match his or her own inner conviction and mental image of who they are or want to be. These individuals may use varying degrees of cross-dressing, hormone treatment, or surgery in order to live in a body that more closely matches their gender identity. Intersexed: An umbrella term used for several conditions that result in an individual having partially or fully developed sex organs of both genders. While not a dangerous physical condition, it is often treated as a medical emergency, and physicians generally assign a gender to an infant, using surgery and recommending hormonal therapy throughout a lifetime. Typically, intersexuals are not told of their birth status, their surgery, or the cause of resulting medical problems. Transvestites: Individuals who engage in cross-dressing mainly for the purposes of erotic stimulation. Cross-dressing may be limited to undergarments only but may require full attire and make-up for erotic effect. The vast majority of transvestites are heterosexual males, and many are in heterosexual relationships. The goal for transvestites is typically not to appear feminine or pass as female, and transvestism is virtually non-existent in women. Terminology: Terminology Drag Queens/Kings: Individuals who cross-dress, often very elaborately and mostly for entertainment purposes, to imitate the opposite sex as closely as possible. The vast majority are gay men whose relationships are typically with more masculine gay or bisexual men. Although some may be transsexuals, most identify with their biological sex. In contrast, male or female impersonators cross-dress for entertainment purposes only and are mostly heterosexual individuals who identify with their biological sex. She-Males: Males who receive breast augmentation surgery and occasionally other feminizing cosmetic surgery (but typically not hormone treatment) but retain their male genitalia. These men are typically aroused by the discrepancy present in their physical appearance. Many are employed in the adult film industry and typically cross-dress full-time but retain a masculine or androgynous gender identity. Queer: In the past, this term was a derogatory word for gay men and lesbians. It has been reclaimed by more radical LGBT activists during the 1980s and used in the slogans of ACT UP and Queer Nation (We're here, we're queer, get used to it!). Considered a more inclusive term than gay, queer also sometimes refers to a more radical type of activism. Heterosexual: A person who is emotionally, physically and/or sexually attracted to members of the opposite sex. Terminology: Terminology Homophobia: The irrational fear of homosexuals, homosexuality or any behavior, belief or attitude of self or others which does not conform to rigid sex and gender-role stereotypes. The extreme behavior of homophobia is violence against gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender persons. Heterosexism: Evidenced by the assumption that everyone is heterosexual. The systematic oppression of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons that is directly linked to sexism. Internalized Oppression: The process by which a member of an oppressed group comes to accept and live out the inaccurate myths and stereotypes applied to the group. Ally: Any non-lesbian, non-gay, non-bisexual or non-transgendered person whose attitudes and behavior are both anti-homophobic and anti-heterosexist and who works toward combating homophobia and heterosexism on a personal and professional level. In the Closet: To hide one's homosexuality in order to maintain one's job, housing situation, friends, family or in some other way to survive life in a heterosexist culture. Many LGBT persons are out in some circumstances, but closeted in others. Terminology: Terminology Coming Out: To publicly declare and affirm one's homosexuality to oneself or to others. Rainbow Flag: The flag was originally designed by San Francisco artist, Gilbert Baker, in 1978 and was intended to be a symbol of gay and lesbian pride. It was inspired by the Flag of the Races which had five stripes, each one representing the colors of human kind. The six colors of the flag — red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple — represent the diversity and unity within the LGBT movement. The widespread use of the flag is due less to any official recognition of it as a symbol and more to its adoption by members of the LGBT community. Pink Triangle: An inverted pink triangle was a Nazi symbol used to identify homosexuals during the Holocaust. The symbol was adopted by gays and lesbian activists to remember those who were tortured and killed in Nazi concentration camps. Lambda: This Greek letter was adopted by the Gay Activist Alliance in 1970 as a symbol of the gay movement. An ancient Greek regiment of warriors who carried a flag emblazoned with the lambda marched into battle with their male lovers. The groups was noted for their fierceness and willingness to fight until death. Terminology: Terminology Freedom Rings: These six colored aluminum rings are linked together and reminiscent of the Rainbow Flag. Wearing them has come to symbolize independence and tolerance of others. The rings are often used in necklaces, bracelets, rings and key chains. Stonewall andamp; Pride Celebrations: On June 28, 1969, a routine raid on the Stonewall Bar on Christopher Street in New York City turned into a riot when patrons resisted. The patrons barricaded themselves inside the bar. The riot escalated until reinforcements arrived. The riots continued for several evenings. This rebellion, begun by drag queens and bar patrons, marked the beginning of the modern gay and lesbian movement. Each June, Pride marches, rallies and celebrations are held throughout the nation commemorating Stonewall. The Labrys: The double-bladed ax comes from the myth as the scepter of the goddess Demeter (Artemis). It may have originally been used in battle by female Scythian warriors. The labrys appears in ancient Cretan art and has become a symbol of lesbianism. Terminology Review Questions: Terminology Review Questions What is the difference between a transvestite and a transsexual? What is the difference between homophobia and heterosexism? What is the relationship between heterosexism and internalized oppression? Section 3 – Lesbian/Gay Identity Development: Section 3 – Lesbian/Gay Identity Development Stage 1 – Identity Confusion 'Could I be gay?' Denial and disownment. Possible responses: Avoids information about homosexuality; inhibits behavior; denies homosexuality ('experimenting', 'an accident', 'just a phase'). Men: keep emotional involvement separate from sexual contact; Women: keep relationships non-sexual, though strongly emotional. Lesbian/Gay Identity Development: Lesbian/Gay Identity Development Stage 2 – Identity Comparison 'Maybe this does apply to me.' Accepts possibility that he or she may be gay/lesbian/bisexual. Possible responses: Begin to grieve for losses, the things he or she will give up by accepting an LGB identity. Compartmentalizes own sexuality. Accepts 'homosexual' definition of behavior but maintains 'heterosexual' identity of self. Tells oneself: 'It's only temporary'; 'I'm just in love with this particular man/woman', etc. Lesbian/Gay Identity Development: Lesbian/Gay Identity Development Stage 3 – Identity Tolerance 'I'm not the only one.' Accepts probability of being homosexual and recognizes sexual, social, and emotional needs that go with being gay/lesbian/bisexual. Possible responses: Beginning to have language to talk and think about the issue. Recognition that being gay or lesbian does not preclude other options. Accentuates differences between self and heterosexuals. Seeks out lesbian, gay, bisexual community (positive contact leads to more positive sense of self; negative contact leads to devaluation of the culture). May try out variety of stereotypic roles. Lesbian/Gay Identity Development: Lesbian/Gay Identity Development Stage 4 – Identity Acceptance 'I will be OK.' Accepts, rather than tolerates, LGB self-image and there is continuing and increased contact with the LGB community. Possible responses: Accepts an LGB self-identification. May compartmentalize 'LGB life'. Maintains less and less contact with heterosexual community. Attempts to 'fit in' and 'not make waves' within the LGB community. Begins some selective disclosures of sexual identity. More social coming-out; more comfortable being seen with groups of men or women who are identified as LGB. More realistic evaluation of various situations (job, etc.). Lesbian/Gay Identity Development: Lesbian/Gay Identity Development Stage 5 – Identity Pride 'I've got to let people know who I am!' Immerses self in LGB community. Less and less involvement with heterosexual community. 'Us vs. Them' quality to political and social viewpoints. Possible responses: Splits world into LGB (good) and 'straight' (bad). Experiences disclosure crises with heterosexuals as she or he is less willing to 'blend in' or 'pass.' Identifies LGB community as sole source of support; all LGB friends, business connections, social connections. Lesbian/Gay Identity Development: Lesbian/Gay Identity Development Stage 6 – Identity Synthesis Develops holistic view of self. Defines self in more complete fashion, not just in terms of sexual orientation. Possible responses: Continue to be angry at heterosexism, but with decreased intensity. Allows trust of others to increase and build. GLB identity is integrated with all aspects of 'self'. Feels alright to move out into the community and not simply define space according to sexual orientation. Identity Development Review Questions: Identity Development Review Questions What is the difference between the identity comparison and identity tolerance stages of lesbian/gay identity development? At which stage do you think it would be most critical for someone questioning their sexual orientation to have someone safe to talk to? At which stage of identity development is a lesbian/gay youth most likely to start deliberately seeking out other members of the lesbian/gay community? Congratulations: Congratulations You have completed the online training! Please bring the answers to the review questions to the training on Friday, April 6th from 11-1 in the Student Wellness Center, Room 205 See you then!