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Essay Humanities Nonfiction Reference/Guide/Manual Social Sciences

Experiencing Misgendered Pronouns: A Classroom Activity to Encourage Empathy

By Jessica MacNamara, Sarah Glann, and Paul Durlak, 2017

How can teachers help students understand the importance of gender pronouns for transgender and gender-nonconforming people? This article presents a gender pronoun reversal activity that simulates the experience of being verbally misgendered. Students followed up on the activity by posting reflections on an online class discussion board. The activity promoted empathy among cisgender students for transgender people and reflexivity regarding the social boundaries of gender identity. Empathy and reflexivity were common responses among students enrolled in Sociology of Diversity and Sociology of Gender at a large research university in the northeast. We present the activity, including preparation and follow-up along with an analysis of student responses. Keywords : gender pronouns, transgender, active learning, class activities, empathy

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