Module 1
facilitated by Ashley Heidebrecht, LMSW

Module 1 of LGBTQ+ Allyship and You will unpack the relationship between history, institutional frameworks, anti-LGBTQ+ narratives, and how those things come together to construct the social norms, stereotypes, and bias which inform our perception and behavior.
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Silence isn't helping. 

The LGBTQ+ community has been the topic of Being non-racist is not the same thing as being anti-racist. Being non-racist means that you do not engage in overt racism (slurs, intentional discrimination, telling racist jokes, avoiding other races, etc.), but you also do not call out others when they do engage in those behaviors. Anti-racism means that you are actively against racism. It is the practice of opposing racism through focused and sustained actions, movements, and policies adopted or developed to oppose racism. Being anti-racist means that when you hear a family member tell a racist joke, you address it.  Being anti-racist means that if you observe someone being harassed or targeted in public because of their race that you intervene. To be an ally to people of color, you must be anti-racist.

This training is designed to provide education and awareness surrounding topics such as institutional racism and white privilege, and to promote constructive dialogue.  These topics are difficult and may bring up feelings of defensiveness, guilt, and even anger. These feelings are a normal response, and they mean that you are processing and changing, and that is a great thing.

Why Become an LGBTQ+ Ally?

Terms to Know

The goal of Module 1 is to give you a historical context, and make the connection between history, and our present day belief systems and bias. It is important that you understand some of the terms we will be using. This PDF guide of important terms will help you as you move though this training. You can save it, print it, and review it as you need to. These terms may be completely new to you, or you may already be familiar with them. Even if you are already familiar with these terms, this guide can be a useful tool when discussing these topics with others. You're going to be hearing many of them often throughout this training, so it is important to familiarize yourself with them. A few terms are highlighted on this page, as they are crucial to Module 1.

Module 1 Terms

AGENDER- A person who is without gender or who has a neutral gender identity.

ASEXUAL- A person who has no sexual orientation and/or has a lack of interest in sex. Intimate romantic/affectional relationships may be desired.

BIAS- The often-unconscious preference for one thing over another, especially an unfair one.

It is a predisposition or a preconceived opinion that prevents a person from impartially evaluating facts.

BISEXUAL- A person who is sexually and/or romantically attracted to men and women.

CISGENDER- Someone who is comfortable with the gender they were assigned at birth. The state of not being transgender. “Cis” means “the same as”

CISSEXISM- The systems of advantages bestowed on people who are cisgender. It can also be the assumption that all people are, or should be, cisgender.


GAY- While most often associated with men, in its broadest meaning, this is a person who is sexually and/or romantically attracted to people of the same sex.

GENDER- A set of social, psychological, and emotional traits, often influenced by societal expectations, that classify an individual as feminine, masculine, androgynous, or other.

GENDER BINARY- the concept that everyone must be one of two genders: man or woman.

Gender Expansive- A person whose gender expression and/or identity broadens or overflows our binary cultural and societal expectations for men and women. Some people prefer this term to “gender non-conforming.”

GENDER EXPRESSION- The outward manifestation of internal gender identity, shown through clothing, hairstyle, mannerisms, and other characteristics.

GENDER IDENTITY- The inner sense of being a man, a woman, both, or neither. Gender identity sometimes aligns with a person’s sex, but sometimes does not. 

GENDER QUEER- a term used by some people who may or may not identify as transgender, but who identify their gender as somewhere on the continuum beyond the binary male/female gender system.


HETERONORMATIVITY- A term that describes the marginalization of non- heterosexual relationships and reinforces the binary system of viewing gender.

HETEROSEXISM- The systems of advantages bestowed on people who are heterosexual. It can also be the assumption that all people are, or should be, heterosexual and gender-conforming.

HOMOSEXUAL- An outdated clinical term used to describe someone who is gay or lesbian. Many people dislike the term since it was used to denote a mental illness.


HOMOPHOBIA- Negative feelings, attitudes, actions, or behaviors against LGBTQ+ people or people perceived to be LGBTQ+. It may also be a fear of one's own same-sex attractions.

INTERSECTIONALITY- The complex and cumulative way that the effects of different aspects of identity (such as race, sexual orientation, gender, and social class) combine, overlap, and intersect.

INTERSEX- A person whose biological anatomy and/or genes vary from the expected male or female anatomy and/or genetics. People with intersex conditions should not be assumed to be transgender.

LESBIAN- A woman who is sexually and/or romantically attracted to other women.

MARGINALIZED- Relegated to an unimportant or powerless position within a society or group.


NON BINARY- A person who does not identify as a man or a woman. They might identify as both, neither, somewhere between, a different gender or no gender at all. They may prefer other terms for themselves, like: genderqueer, gender- expansive, gender fluid, two-spirit, agender, etc.


PANSEXUAL- A person who is sexually and/or romantically attracted to people regardless of their gender identity, gender expression or biological sex. This term goes beyond a gender binary.

QUEER- A simple label to explain orientations, gender identities and/or gender expressions that do not conform to societal expectations. Some people view this as a term of empowerment and others strongly dislike this term.

QUESTIONING- A person who is unsure about their orientation and/or gender identity.

SEX- The identification of the biological/physical gender most often categorized as male or female.


SEXUAL ORIENTATION- The part of our identity related to whom we are sexually attracted.

SOCIAL CONSTRUCT- An idea within a particular culture or society which exists solely because people agree to behave as if it exists or agree to follow certain conventional rules.

STEREOTYPES- A widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person.

TRANSGENDER- In its broadest meaning, this umbrella term encompasses anyone whose self-identity, behavior or anatomy falls outside of societal gender norms and expectations.

TRANSPHOBIA- Negative feelings, attitudes, actions, or behaviors against transgender people or people perceived to be transgender. It may also be a fear of one's own gender non-conformity.

TRANSITIONING- Refers to a variety of activities that some trans people may pursue to affirm their gender identity. This may include changes to their name, sex designation, dress, use of specific pronouns, as well as medically supportive treatments like hormone therapy, sex reassignment surgery, or other procedures. There is no checklist or average time for a transition process, and no universal goal or endpoint. Each person decides what meets their needs. 

TWO-SPIRIT- A Native American term for LGBTQ+ individuals with dual or multiple genders. It can mean having both a masculine and a feminine spirit. For some two-spirit describes a societal and spiritual role that certain people play within traditional societies (mediator, transcending accepted roles of men and women, keeper of certain ceremonies, fulfilling an established middle gender). It has different meanings in different communities.

Who is the LGBTQ+ Community

Who is the LGBTQ+ Community? In this video we will answer that question and identify some important terms and basic information that will provide you a good foundation as you move through the training.
**Important- Please note that different regions within the country and around the world may have different terminology and social understandings of the LGBTQ+ community. Some terms and information discussed may vary slightly depending on where you live. Please consider the information in this video as LGBTQ+ basics, and a jumping off point for further learning**

A Brief History

Homosexuality, bisexuality, and gender nonconformity have always existed. Gender is as we know it, a social construct. A social construct is an idea within a particular culture or society which exists solely because people agree to behave as if it exists or agree to follow certain conventional rules. It is an idea that has been created and accepted by the people in a society. Constructing the idea of differences, rules, and expectations concerning gender and sex, paved the way for severe discrimination and abuse against those who did not conform.  
The following three videos are episodes of the PBS series Origins of Everything. These videos provide quick and simple breakdowns of some of the social and legal frameworks that have influenced our social views concerning the LGBTQ+ community. Think about it, society at large has been conditioned to associate the LGBTQ+ community with social unrest and unlawfulness.
In the following videos, you'll be exposed to some of the historical events in the United States which outline our history of discrimination and abuse against the LGBTQ+ community. As you watch these videos, begin to contemplate the following question:  Who has the right to tell you your extistence is invalid?
Please understand that the history and experiences shared below are only a small part of this history. Information for further study of LGBTQ+ history will be provided at the end of module 3. These videos may contain sensitive images and language. You may watch the videos in this cluster in any order.  

Let's Dive A Little Deeper Into Gender

We have already identified that gender is a social construct, but how much impact do ideas surrounding gender expectations have when it comes to LGBTQ+ discrimination? It turns out, misogyny plays a big role. 

Optional Reflection

As you move to the next segment of this module, reflect on this question: Do you think these historical events, rules, and laws still impact our society today? What are your thoughts after viewing these videos? 
To share your thoughts on the training forum, click the button below. 
*Please note that everyone can read forum posts, however you can only create a post if you sign up. If you sign up to post, you will receive email notifications. If you do not wish to receive email notifications, you may click "Unsubscribe" at the bottom of any notification email.
Think about the history and discrimination discussed in the previous videos. How do these historical events impact the present? What social narratives were created as a result? 

History to Present Day Social Narratives 

Using Propaganda to Create Stereotypes and Bias

We've now discussed how history and legal frameworks worked to create narratives surrounding the LGBTQ+ community that still persist today. We still see discrimination and violence. The use of propaganda to drive a narrative of fear has played, and continues to play, a key role in maintaining anti-LGBTQ+ narratives, legislation, and social conflicts. The following video will outline some examples of this, including the AIDS crisis.
We've now discussed anti-LGBTQ narratives and propaganda. The following is a chilling example of the impact of those narratives and dehumanizing propaganda. The public and the nation's leaders laughed in the face of AIDS as it took thousands of lives. 
**The content of this video may be triggering or difficult to view **
After watching this video, how do you feel? What did you think while listening to homophobic jokes, laughter, and general disinterest exhibited by the press secretary, and the press themselves? Think about what that reality must have been like, as friends and family fall gravely ill and lose their lives, to be ignored, laughed at. Remember, there was largely no effort by the government to engage in research for treatment, and no official name given, until it began to impact heterosexual people.  Think about that.

Optional Reflection

Now that you have viewed all of the content for Module 1, how much do you believe our history informs people's beliefs and behavior today?  What information in this module stood out to you or impacted you the most? To share your thoughts on the training forum, click the button below.
*Please note that everyone can read forum posts, however you can only create a post if you sign up. If you sign up to post, you will receive email notifications. If you do not wish to receive email notifications, you may click "Unsubscribe" at the bottom of any notification email.
Optional Journal Entry
This journal entry is a chance for you to record your personal thoughts about Module 1. This is also an opportunity for you to ask questions or seek clarification from the facilitator on any of the content from Module 1. Your entry will only be visible to you and the training facilitator. 
You must complete the short quiz below before moving to Module 2

Works Cited

Nell Painter: The History of White People

Walter Mignolo Darker Side of Western Modernity

Matthew Frye Jacobson Whiteness of a Different Color: European Immigrants and the alchemy of race

Cheryl Harris “Whiteness as Property”

Emmanuel Chukwudi Eze On reason: rationality in a world of cultural conflict and racism

Fredrickson, G. M. 1987. The Black Image in the White Mind. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press.

Smedley, A. 1993 (1999). Race in North America: Origin and Evolution of a Worldview. Boulder: Westview Press.

Stepan, Nancy. 1982. The Idea of Race in Science. London: Macmillan.

"race, n.6". OED Online. January 2018. Oxford University Press. (accessed March 12, 2018)

How the U.S. Stole Thousands of Native American Children

Racist History of Illegal Immigration

Racism in American Housing

Disturbing history of American Medicine

100 Years Ago Mexicans saw Racial Terror

Ugly History Japanese Internment

Environmental Racism

Systemic Racism

Mass Incarceration

The New Jim Crow Museum

The Borderland Rainbow Center under sponsor number 7798 has been approved by the Texas State Board of Social Worker Examiners to offer continuing education contact hours to social workers. The approved status of The Borderland Rainbow Center, Continuing Education Service expires annually on July 31.  If you hold a license in another State or discipline, it is not guaranteed that our content will meet your requirements.  We recommend that you check with your licensing body for any requirements and allowances.
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