What does the concept of identity mean? How we understand ourselves and how others understand us. You can give a wider explanation of what includes our identity – our roles in life (son, daughter, student); parts of identity, which can be chosen – clothing style, listening to certain music, being a member of a political party; parts of identity that we did not choose – place of birth and residence, gender, gender orientation, age, religion, belonging to a certain minority.
Then the moderator invites the participants to draw an identity pie with larger and smaller sections, which refer to our identity traits – some of them are very important to us and others – not so much.
Think, what aspects of your identity would you like to highlight and write them down. You will not have to show your ‘pie’ to others.
When everyone is done ‘baking’, the peer educator explains further rules.
I will list various categories. When I read a category, everyone stands up and those, who have a feature, related to these aspects/categories, remain standing. Several seconds later everyone sits down and the moderator reads another category. Do not rush.
✔ Personal traits
✔ Free time/hobby
✔ Character traits
✔ Ethnicity/race/skin colour
✔ Place of residence
✔ Clothing style, self-expression
✔ Disability (empowerment)
✔ Sexual orientation
Questions for discussion:
● What aspects of self-identity were easier to recognize?
● What aspects of self-identity do you accept as natural and do not think too much about them?
● What surprised you about yourself?
● What surprised you most about others in the group?
Note: “Sexual orientation” does not necessarily mean that a person is homosexual – a man/woman can define themselves as a heterosexual person. Standing up with the categories of religion or politics could also mean that the person is an atheist or is completely uninterested in politics, etc.
The facilitator continues:
● What identity aspects were most common and what – particularly rare?
● How did you feel standing alone? Or sitting down alone (or being in the minority)?
● Where there any aspects of identity that you found uncomfortable sharing?
● What aspects of identity would you find uncomfortable sharing?
Why do you think it’s like that?
People in the society are grouped into social categories in terms of their race, ethnicity, economic situation, gender or gender orientation, and some of them end up excluded or stigmatized.
Further suggestions, additional material
You can continue the discussion by introducing A and not-A categories, its description is included into the ‘Labels and Social Inequality’ method.
Other ways of using the material by peer educators
In certain groups participants might find it important to share their insights on choosing certain identity aspects.
After this method you can start the topics on information literacy, or you can continue the topic with the “Labels and Social Inequality” method.