Theme: Society & Culture

Gender 201: Understanding & Coping With Gender Role Strain

by Brooke Wells

In this interactive workshop, participants will learn about the complexity of gender by examining terminology and the impact of gender roles and gender role conflict/strain on health and well-being, including sexual decision-making. Participants will engage in a writing exercise designed to facilitate insight into the ways in which gender roles have impacted their lives. The workshop will end with a discussion of the ways in which participants could cope with gender role socialization and strain, including ways to expand gender roles in their communities.


By the end of this lesson, participants will be able to:

  • Define the meaning of ‘gender role socialization’ and ‘gender role strain’.
  • Explain at least one way gender socialization and role strain can exact an emotional toll on Black gay men.
  • Describe three coping strategies they would be willing to use in their lives or recommend to others when confronted with gender role strain or in response to trauma related to gender and sexuality.

Included in this Lesson

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Group Size

This lesson is written for groups of 10–15 with the support of two co-facilitators. However, it can be adapted for smaller groups. For groups of five or less participants, all activities can be completed as a full group with a single facilitator.


140 minutes


Computer and projector
Printer paper
Whiteboard (or flip chart paper and tape)
Sticky notes
Writing utensils
Printed handouts