PRIDE MONTH OFFERING - Learning and Conversation
Are you seeking safe space to discover, discuss, and develop your personal perspective surrounding gender and faith? Feeling a little perplexed about pronouns? Are you looking for allies to support you when you have these conversations with friends and neighbors?
<facilitator name> will be leading conversation about transgender and nonbinary issues and how they connect to faith and spirituality. The discussions will be based on the free, self-directed, and bite-sized, on-line course from The Otherwise Academy.
We will come together over zoom throughout the month to reflect on the course and discuss our experiences as we journey through “Otherwise 101” and “Otherwise 102". All are welcome, so feel free to share this resource with neighbors and family!
Session 1: Is this the right course for me? Do I have the time for this? Is this really a safe space?
- Assignment: OtherWise 101 through "Exploring Stories about Gender" (but continue on if you want to and have time)
Session 2: Conversation about OtherWise 101
- Assignment: OtherWise 102 through "Gender Creative and Gender Expansive Kids" (but continue on if you want to and have time)
Session 3: Conversation about OtherWise 102
- Assignment: Reflect on what you've learned and heard in conversation
Session 4 (optional): Where do we go from here? What more (if anything) do you want to learn or do around these topics?
In many congregations, finding time to "do the work" is a major issue. With topics of gender, people may also have anxieties around the conversation itself. We recommend managing to those concerns without asking people to engage the full "Transfaith for Allies certificate"--or even the full OtherWise 101 and OtherWise 102 courses.
The introductory OtherWise Academy offerings are designed for self-study, so they lead participants through a variety of topics at their own pace. However, in a group setting, you need to adapt to different people with different levels of interest, time, and ability to process the content. So, we suggest that you ask them to begin both OtherWIse 101 and OtherWise 102, but not "assign" for them to finish. This means the time commitment is less likely to be an excuse to drop out entirely. Meanwhile, the self-study material will be there waiting for them when/if they become motivated to dig deeper into the content.
Facilitation should focus on feelings and personal experience using resources from your own tradition rather than emphasizing the mastery of definitions or knowledge. The benefit of a group process is that people can learn from one another's struggles, while being supported around any difficult feelings that might arise (e.g. overwhelm, fear, confusion).
- Preparation Questions: What does it mean to create a a "safer space" in your congregation? Are people typically allowed (or encouraged) to make mistakes?
You may have OtherWise-identified people in your congregation (whether you know it or not). This kind of beginning conversation may or may not be a comfortable place for them. Even if you think everyone in the group has some objectivity around these topics, it may be important to make space for people to step away if the conversation becomes too uncomfortable for them. Even "well-meaning" conversations can cause pain for those who are, themselves, being discussed.
- Preparation Questions: How do you handle "ouch" moments in your congregation? How do you help people learn without harming those who are already marginalized?
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