The technique “Word Memory” was developed as part of a three-part workshop series for the 2nd grade (age 12 to 14 years) to convey missing knowledge about terms related to LGBTQIA+ topics in a playful way and to remember new terms more effectively. It is inspired by conventional Memory games and the job counselling Memory game of the City of Vienna1.
It is crucial for the application of the technique that the participants already have a general idea of gender diversity apart from the binary system, but they do not know too much about it yet. Depending on the level of knowledge and interests of the group, the exercise can also serve as a starting point for a discussion focusing on certain areas (the legal situation, historical developments, etc.).
Amnesty International. LGBTQI Glossary, 2015, https://www.amnestyusa.org/pdfs/AIUSA_Pride2015Glossary.pdf. ↩︎
Čechová, Helena, and Lada Hajdíková. Duhová Příručka pro Vyučující. PROUD: Platforma pro Rovnoprávnost, Uznání a Diverzitu z.s., 2016. ↩︎
Ideally, the activity is carried out in several small groups. It is suitable for a maximum of five small groups of five people each, i.e. a total of 25 participants. If five or fewer people take part, everyone can work for themselves at first. In this case, particular care must be taken to ensure that people do not experience anything negative due to their lack of knowledge as the group is not protected here.
In the beginning, it should be explained to the participants that knowledge of the content and the terms on the subject of “Diverse Gender Identities” are important in order to be able to deal with it adequately and respectfully. It also makes sense to build awareness of the power of language.
The introduction to the activity, depending on the participants’ age group, could be for example:
Which one of you knows the game Memory?
How does it work?
Can someone explain how it works: what do you have to do?
Then the process is described in more detail, for example:
“Today we are playing a variation of Memory. It’s not about finding the same cards because there are cards with terms and cards with explanations. And there is an explanation for each term. The aim is to find the corresponding cards. We will do this in small groups.”
Next, depending on the total group size, small groups of two to five people each are formed. Each group receives a set of Memory cards. If necessary, only a part of the terms — e.g. seven to ten – can be used. The pairs that match (a specific term and the appropriate explanation) should be found within the small groups. Afterwards, everyone comes together in the whole group; the game is resolved; the terms are explained in detail again and (open) questions are answered.
Unlike conventional memory games, this exercise focuses on conveying knowledge – it is not about finding the most correct pairs or winning. The focus is rather on the thematic exchange in the small groups and the plenary. It is therefore important that the workshop leader explains one term after another in a dialogue with volunteers instead of having the groups present their results individually. Working in small groups also prevents individuals from feeling embarrassed or laughed at because of their lack of knowledge. If this happens anyway, it should be addressed immediately.
The explanation of the terms usually generates several questions from the participants which serve as the starting point for a subsequent discussion or, in the case of a multi-part workshop series, can come into focus that needs to be further pursued.
Unfortunately, sexist, homophobic, trans-, and intersex-hostile statements must always be expected. It is important to be prepared for this and to take enough time to talk about it and to make clear that certain statements are absolutely unacceptable and why it is so.