Understanding Trans Experience

(duration 1 hour)

This activity is designed to work in more generic settings where young people have not necessarily openly sought support in questioning their gender identity or sexual orientation. You may be unaware of how young people are making sense of many aspects of their developing identities. Be mindful of supporting how the group approaches this activity. Only undertake the activity if it feels safe for the group as a whole to undertake.

The purpose of the activity is to create a safe space where young people can discuss the issues involved, understand others’ experiences and develop awareness and empathy.

Look at, Read, Listen to

1. You will need a large space for this activity. Place a sheet of paper that says AGREE at one end of the room and another that says DISAGREE at the other end of the room. Tell the group to imagine a line that runs between the two sheets of paper. Explain that the purpose of the activity is to stimulate discussion – sharing thoughts, opinions and understanding about trans experience in response to Ellyott’s and Colin’s work and the oral histories.

2. Ask the group to stand up. Read out the first statement. One by one, young people respond to the statement by standing somewhere on the imaginary line depending on how much they agree or disagree with the statement.  As each person moves to their chosen position on the line ask them to say why they made that choice.  Repeat for each statement.


  • To identify as trans gender means that you identify with a different gender than the one you were assigned at birth.
  • To identify as transgender is about identifying your sexual orientation.
  • It is often hard for parents to accept that their children are trans or gender questioning.
  • Students at school have lessons about what it is to identify as trans as part of their PSHE lessons.
  • Everyone who is gay is trans gender too.
  • It is a mental disorder to be trans gender and people should be counselled out of feeling this way.
  • People only realise they are trans gender from the age of 18 onwards.
  • People transition from male to female AND female to male.
  • Everyone who identifies as trans has or wants to have surgery.
  • Transphobia is about respecting people who are trans.

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