Break the norm!

Methods for studying and working with norms in general and the heteronorm in particular. 2009. RFSL UNgdom & The Living History Forum/Forum för levande historia.

Norms are the notions, ideas and unwritten rules that form us humans. They are present in all areas of life and make up the limits that define acceptable behavior. Some norms are positive and guide how we act towards others. They may for example discourage us from spitting in another person’s face or from plowing into people on the street. Without thinking much of it, we adapt to most norms. For example, most people know to shake hands with their right hand and do so without thinking twice. It is not until someone breaks the norm that norms become visible.

The first exercises in this material examine norms and how we categorize people. The next exercises deal with the societal norms of today. Here we hope to spark discussions about how we all maintain and reinforce them. The last exercises will help you make practical use of what you have learned.

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