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Editorial Reviews. Review. Praise for Ben Greenman “Just when you think Greenman has thoroughly excavated all available humor, he surprises with a snipe.
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These two people exchange seats and the original "conversationalist becomes an observer.


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Encourage people to come forward to express their own opinions, but also to express other opinions, which are not necessarily their own. In this way points of view that are controversial, "politically incorrect", or unthinkable can be aired and the topic thoroughly discussed from many different perspectives.

Lets Go Round Again - Life Hacks for Drawing Circles

Offensive or hurtful comments, which are directed at individuals in the group, are not allowed. Ask a volunteer to pick up a question from the hat and start discussing it. Let the discussion run until people have exhausted the topic and points are being repeated. Then ask for three volunteers to discuss another question and start another round of conversations under the same rules as before.

The Golden Compass

Discuss as many questions as adequate in function of the time you have and the interest of the group. Before you finally go on to the debriefing and evaluation, take a short break to allow time for people to come out of the "fish-bowl". This is especially important if the discussion has been heated and controversial.

Debriefing and evaluation Start with a brief review of how people felt being both inside and outside the "fish-bowl".

Compass basics

Then go on to talk about the different views that were expressed, and finally discuss what people learnt from the activity: Was anyone shocked or surprised by some points of view expressed? Which ones? In your community, how open-minded are people generally about sexuality? Are some groups more open than others? What forces mould how our sexuality develops? Where do people get their values about sexuality from? Do participants' attitudes about sexuality differ from those of their parents and grandparents? If so, in what ways do they differ?

How can such conflicts be resolved? Tips for facilitators Be aware of the social context in which you are working and adapt the activity accordingly. The aim of this activity is to allow participants to reflect on their own sexuality and the norms of their society and to encourage them to have the self-confidence to express their own point of view while being tolerant of people who hold different views.

The aim is not to convince people of one point of view or another, nor to come to a consensus decision. Before running the activity it is recommended that you prepare yourselves by reading the background information on gender and on discrimination and xenophobia.

Think over what topics may come up. Some frequently asked questions and issues include: What is homosexuality? What are the differences between heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual people? Is homosexuality an illness? How do people become gay or lesbian? What about the risk of AIDS? In some countries homosexuality is accepted and gay people can get married in others it is punishable by death. How do homosexuals make love? It is also important for you as facilitators to reflect on your own values and beliefs about what is right for yourselves, your families and for others and to remember that these values will be reflected in everything you do and say, and what you don't do or say.

It is crucial that you acknowledge your own values and prejudice and understand the origins of those values in order that the participants may also develop insights into the origins of their own values. The aim of the brainstorm of famous people who have been outspoken about their sexuality is to encourage the participants themselves to be open about discussing sexuality.

It is also an opportunity to clarify terms such as gay and lesbian, homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual and transsexual. See the background information. Your role in the activity is crucial in setting the general tone. It is a good idea to start off with two facilitators as conversationalists. For example, one of you may start by saying, "Have you heard, Peter has announced that he is gay?

In this way you imply that the conversation is about a mutual friend and therefore at a "local" level and not a theoretical debate.

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It also helps open up a discussion about what people know about homosexuality and their attitudes to it. Hopefully one of the observers will quickly replace you, thus enabling you to leave the discussion to the participants. However, you should continue to participate as an observer so that you maintain the possibility of taking another turn as a conversationalist.

This leaves open the possibility for you to discretely manipulate the discussion either to open up different avenues of debate or to tactfully remove a participant who is not keeping to the rules. If you wish to, you can introduce a rule that any particular point of view can only be raised once.


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  • This prevents the discussion focusing on only a few aspects of the topic and helps to discourage repetition of popular prejudices. You'll not find this ebook anywhere online.

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