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How would you define the term ‘identity’? It’s a word we hear, often when someone is describing themselves or others, but what exactly are they describing?
Take five minutes to come up with your own definition for the term identity and then share these definitions as a class.
As a class, consider the following questions:
Does everyone have an identity? Why do you think that?
Are our identities set from the day we are born or do they form as we grow?
Once a person forms their identity, does it remain the same or change throughout their life?
In what ways might a community or society value identity groups?
What would existing without a sense of identity look like? What would it feel like?
How do we know what our identity is?
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the term identity refers to “the set of qualities and beliefs that make one person or group different from others.” While certain qualities are with us from birth, such as our sex, the colour of our skin and the functioning of our bodies; our beliefs, on the other hand, are typically formed with age as a result of our environment and experiences. This suggests that our identities are a combination of both our biology and our environment that develop over time.
Watch the following video where Nevo Zisin interviews More Than This creators Olivia Deeble and Luka Gracie to discuss identity.
“It’s normal to come out as different things.” - Luka
Do you agree with Luka’s comments about identity? Why/why not?
Throughout history we have seen certain human qualities and beliefs lifted up in society, while others have been discriminated against. The following infographic developed by Australian charity, Intertwine, depicts how in Western society today, certain human qualities and beliefs receive more acceptance (i.e. privilege), while others face higher levels of discrimination (i.e. oppression/resistance).
Dicuss any terms you are not farmiliar with in this infographic. Explore and develop a glossary of these terms.
Can you name the systems that produce these power differentials? For example, racism and sexism. Make a list of these as a class and discuss how they influence different sections of the infographic.
What might happen when these systems intersect or overlap?
Write definitions for the terms 'privilege' and 'oppression'.
Why do you think the word 'resistance' is used in addition to the word 'oppression'?
Working in small groups, pick one of the characters from the show More Than This and consider how their identity may lead to different forms of privilege and/or oppression based on the above infographic. Think outside the square and consider which parts of the character’s identity may exist beyond what was featured in the show.
Working in the same groups, try to imagine what your character’s life might look like in ten years’ time and consider the following questions:
Which aspects of their identity do you think might have changed, if any?
Which aspects of their identity do you think would be the same?
What new forms of privilege might that character experience?
What new forms of oppression/resistance do you think they might experience?
How might this compare to some of the other characters from the show?
Task 2 / The power of belonging
To feel a sense of belonging is to feel a sense of connection to other people and/or environments around us. Draw a table in your workbook like the one below and write a list of words in each column to describe how it feels to belong versus how it feels to be the odd one out:
HOW IT FEELS TO BELONG
HOW IT FEELS TO BE THE ODD ONE OUT
Consider the following questions in relation to the character Jamie:
Which words from your table do you think Jamie might have been feeling at the start of episode one?
Based on the words you chose, do you think Jamie felt a sense of belonging?
Which words from your table do you think Jamie might have felt by the end of episode one?
If there was a change, what do you think caused this?
According to Kids Helpline, a lack of connection to others can lead to a sense of loneliness, which over time can have serious impacts on a person’s mental health. Consider the following information:
Our brains are wired for connection with other people. When we start to feel distant from important people in our lives loneliness can begin to creep in.
Everybody is different and loneliness can affect people in many ways.
You feel isolated from others
You feel upset and worry it’s never going to end
You feel that nobody cares for you
It’s confusing and you’re not sure why you feel this way
You want to escape the feeling
You remember painful past experiences of feeling abandoned
It’s hard to shake the feeling of loneliness sometimes, especially if you’ve been feeling this way for a while. Here’s some things that might help you cope and move past it:
Get out and about in public
Spend time with animals
Find an online group you can connect with
Volunteer or join a community group
Try a new or different activity
Have a conversation with someone you haven’t spoken with before
Take it day by day and focus on the present instead of the past or future
Express how you feel - try sports, journaling, or art
Talk to somebody you trust about how you’re feeling
Take your mind off it for a while by doing something fun
Keep doing the things you enjoy instead of withdrawing
Rather than trying to escape the feeling, accept that it’s there
In the video you watched in Task 1 where Nevo Zisin interviews More Than This creators Olivia Deeble and Luka Gracie to discuss belonging, Luka says:
“One of the best things you can do at a young age is try and find your tribe and try and find people that are like you.” - Luka
As a class, explore the following questions:
Aside from the tips provided by Kids Helpline, what are some other ways that someone might go about “finding their tribe”, as mentioned by Luka in the video?
What are some signs that might suggest someone we know is feeling lonely or disconnected?
In the show, Luka’s character, Jamie, was invited by Zali to join her friendship group. Do you think we have a responsibility to help others find a sense of belonging?
What are some ways we could help others feel less lonely and more connected?
Task 3 / Our impact on those around us
Our words and actions can have a direct impact on those around us, for better or worse. One way we might positively impact another individual or group through our actions is by showing allyship.
Working in small groups, reflect on the following questions:
What does the term ‘allyship’ mean?
Is allyship only relevant to members of minority groups?
What are some examples of different forms of allyship?
What forms of allyship did you notice in the show More Than This?
Allyship is about actively working towards the inclusion of an individual or group that may face marginalisation in our society on the basis of their identity. Think back to the infographic of privilege vs oppression/resistance referred to earlier in this lesson and then as a class, brainstorm some forms of allyship that the characters listed below might benefit from. This allyship could come from friends, family members, school peers, teachers, school policies, the law.
In groups, fill in the following table asking yourselves. What forms of allyship could the following characters benefit from as a means to feel supported and more connected?
The creation of a student LGBTIQA+ support group at school
Once you have created your lists, consider as a class who in the characters’ lives might be able to show them each example of allyship, or how it might be achieved.
Think to yourself about someone you know who may be feeling disconnected or oppressed and consider the following question:
What’s something realistic and achievable that you could do to help that person feel a greater sense of belonging / more connected to those around them?
While keeping the person you thought of completely anonymous (i.e. without sharing their name or any identifying information), share with the class what you came up with.
Extension Task / Finding support
Select one character from the show and based on that character’s identity / experience, do some research to find the following:
A learning resource that could help that character’s friends, family and peers become even better supporters / allies.
A support/social group (online or in person) that could help the character feel more connected.
A piece of content (i.e. TV show, film, podcast, article, social media account etc.) that the character could engage with to feel a sense of representation and visibility.
Share your findings with the class.
If any of the content in More Than This or this learning resource raises any issues for you, Kids Helpline’s qualified counsellors are available via WebChat, phone or email anytime and for any reason.
Kids Helpline is Australia’s only free (even from a mobile), confidential 24/7 online and phone counselling service for young people aged 5 to 25. Visit kidshelpline.com.au or call 1800 55 1800.