Activities using Division 44's nonbinary and pronouns fact sheets

0 0 976

APA’s Division 44: Society for the Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity has created some excellent resources. For this blog post, I want to focus on two of this division’s documents: nonbinary fact sheet (large print) and pronouns fact sheet (large print).

If you do not currently cover gender identity, this activity would fit well in the development chapter as part of a larger discussion on identity. Explain that in western cultures, we have a history of sorting people into one of two boxes: man or woman. Ask students to draw on a piece of paper and label those two boxes. Explain that over time, psychological scientists have come to appreciate that things are just not that simple. Ask students to read the “What does nonbinary mean?” section of the nonbinary fact sheet. Starting with the two boxes students have drawn, ask students to add to their diagram the experiences of others who do not neatly fit in one those two boxes. After a few minutes of working on their diagrams, invite students to share their diagrams with others in a small group. Ask the groups to create a new diagram compiling the best contributions from each individual. This activity will help students think outside the boxes.

If you do the previous activity as part of a discussion on identity, it may make sense to continue the thread by talking about pronouns. Just as our name is an important part of who we are, the pronouns we use may also be important to us. Ask students to take a look at their diagrams again. What pronouns would they attach to each part of their diagram? Confusion will likely be the modal response. Point out that pronouns are an individual decision, and that even if we could look at someone and place them in the diagram (which we cannot), there is no way for us to know what pronouns a person uses. Give students a few minutes to read the pronoun fact sheet. Invite students to form small groups and using the suggestions in the “how do I ask about pronouns” section of the fact sheet, ask others in their group about the pronouns they use—if they are comfortable sharing.

If time allows, do a short role play to give students practice with what they learned in the “when and how should I correct others?” section of the fact sheet. Before class, ask a couple students with whom you have a good rapport if they’re okay with you asking them during class for the pronouns they use. And then ask them—for the purpose of a class activity—if they would be okay with you purposefully using different pronouns. With their permission in hand, let the class know that you are going to give them the opportunity to correct your pronoun errors. Ask your confederates for the pronouns they use. And then for one the students purposefully use the wrong the pronouns. For example, “I really appreciate that [wrong pronoun] shared their pronouns.” Pause to give the rest of the class an opportunity to formulate and share a correction. Thank the person who corrects you, and then apologize to the student whose pronoun you flubbed. “I apologize for using the wrong pronoun. I promise I’m working on getting it right.” And then move on with other chapter content. If another opportunity presents itself, intentionally flub the pronouns of your other confederate. Pause again to give the rest of your students another opportunity for a correction. Through this activity students will get practice at correcting someone who mistakenly uses the wrong pronouns while also normalizing errors and modeling recovering from those errors.



Conover, K. J., Matsuno, E., & Bettergarcia, J. (2021). Pronoun fact sheet [Fact sheet]. American Psychological Association, Division 44: The Society for the Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity.

Matsuno, E., Webb, A., Hashtpari, H., Budge, S., Krishnan, M., & Basam, K. (n.d.). Nonbinary fact sheet [Fact sheet]. American Psychological Association, Division 44: The Society for the Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity.





About the Author
Sue Frantz has taught psychology since 1992. She has served on several APA boards and committees, and was proud to serve the members of the Society for the Teaching of Psychology as their 2018 president. In 2013, she was the inaugural recipient of the APA award for Excellence in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning at a Two-Year College or Campus. She received in 2016 the highest award for the teaching of psychology--the Charles L. Brewer Distinguished Teaching of Psychology Award. She presents nationally and internationally on the topics of educational technology and the pedagogy of psychology. She is co-author with Doug Bernstein and Steve Chew of Teaching Psychology: A Step-by-Step Guide, 3rd ed. and is co-author with Charles Stangor on Introduction to Psychology, 4.0.