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What’s the big deal about gender? In this conversation we will explore biological sex, gender identity, and gender expression to better understand how these concepts impact your life and the lives of others. We will use the following definitions:
- Biological Sex- refers to the biological anatomy of an individual’s reproductive system, and secondary sex
characteristics (male, female, intersex, etc.)
- Gender Identity- an individual’s concept/identity of themself (man, woman, trans, gender non conforming,
- Gender Expression- how individuals present themselves (masculine, feminine, androgynous, etc.)
Let's Get Started!
Why We're Here (~10 min)
Share your name, where you live, what drew you here, and if this is your first conversation.
How We'll Engage (~5 min)
These will set the tone of our conversation; participants may volunteer to take turns reading them aloud. (Click here for the full conversation agreements.)
- Be curious and listen to understand.
- Show respect and suspend judgment.
- Note any common ground as well as any differences.
- Be authentic and welcome that from others.
- Be purposeful and to the point.
- Own and guide the conversation.
What We’ll Talk About
Optional: a participant can keep track of time and gently let people know when their time has elapsed.
Getting to Know Each Other (~10 min)
Each participant can take 1-2 minutes to answer one of these questions:
- What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?
- What would your best friend say about who you are and what inspires you?
- What are your hopes and concerns for your community and/or the country?
Gender (~40 min)
One participant can volunteer to read the paragraph at the top of the web page.
Take ~2 minutes each to answer a question below without interruption or crosstalk. The group may choose to have everyone answer: A) whichever question speaks to them individually or B) the same question with an option to pass. Once everyone has answered, the group may take a few minutes for any clarifying or follow up questions/responses. Continue exploring with other topic or related questions as time allows.
- What roles have you learned about gender from parents, school, peers, media, faith? Which do you hold true? And which do you break?
- What do gender and biological sex mean to you? Are they interchangeable, do they conflict with each other?
- What do masculinity and femininity mean to you? How do you express masculinity and femininity?
- What is something you would do if you could break the rules or roles of gender for a day?
Reflecting on the Conversation (~15 min)
Take 2 minutes to answer one of the following questions:
- In one sentence, share what was most meaningful or valuable to you in the experience of this Living Room Conversation?
- What new understanding or common ground did you find within this topic?
- Has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?
- Name one important thing that was accomplished here.
- Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?