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LGBTQIA2+ Learning & Affirming Challenge

Welcome to Day 1 of the LGBTQIA2+ Affirming Challenge.
We deserve to experience love fully, equally, without shame and without compromise. Elliot Page, actor (opens in a new tab)

Today, we begin a conversation about norms and language, and set a foundation for our work this week. There are opportunities for personal and public reflection, all of which are aimed at building LGBTQIA2+ affirming knowledge and action, for learners and educators alike. Consider how these resources and activities might work to enhance your learning environments, and how they can facilitate your understanding of self and those around you. Consider also how you might reuse or adapt some of the resources and activities for your own learning environments and needs. They can help you develop an awareness that encompasses diverse experiences of gender and sexuality and also be resourceful about how you learn, teach, and work in an educational setting.

Let's get started. To begin, watch the video below.

Let's reflect on the video above by pondering the following questions (adapted from GLSEN - link opens in a new tab): 

  • What were some examples of labels that you saw in this video?
  • What is the difference between someone labeling someone else versus a person choosing a label for themselves?
  • How do you feel when you see someone use a label on a person which that person doesn’t identify with or want to be called?
  • What is the difference between a self-identified label and a stereotype?

NOTE: This challenge originally took place April 4-8, 2022. Commenting is now closed, but please reflect on the questions in the board and scroll through participants' responses.

Made with Padlet

As you might have experienced, one of the characteristics of labels is that they are cultural constructs. Because of that, they are dynamic, changing, and varying. For example, here in Maine, we live on the land of the Wabanaki peoples, whose self-definition also includes indigenous gender knowledge and labels. Let's learn a little bit about this from Passamaquoddy Two-Spirit basketmaker, storyteller, and educator, Geo Neptune (Facebook page opens in new tab).


Keep in mind:

We sometimes avoid talking about sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression, because it can either feel like we are making a mistake in our use of language, or there is a feeling of taboo attached to these conversations. This is especially salient given that heteronormativity is the dominant norm in the U.S. This glossary from the Human Rights Campaign touches on some key terminology, which will ground our understanding of LGBTQIA2+ communities moving forward, as well as our discussions of an LGBTQIA2+ affirming curriculum. Review this glossary and refer back to it as needed. (Both links above open in a new tab.)

Additional resource:

Take time for a personal reflection:

  • Were there any emotions that you felt after exploring today's resources and activities (discomfort, joy, happiness, anger, sadness, no emotion)? If so, what were the sources of those feelings?
  • What was an important learning experience for you in today's challenge?

You have completed Day 1 of the LGBTQIA2+ Learning & Affirming Challenge! Tomorrow, we'll build on what we learned today to discuss and tackle assumptions about LGBTQ+ communities.

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