The idea for the LGBT+ game first came about in September 2019, when I (Tommy Silvester), and my brother Karl Silvester co-hosted an event with Sandwell Council’s Quality Team. This event was for local providers in Sandwell and aimed to create awareness of the LGBT+ community within the care sector.
From this event, it was evident that the level of awareness of the LGBT+ community was ‘None’. it gave me that push to want to create more; something that would develop an understanding and help to create an inclusive workforce within all sectors, so those who identify within the LGBT+ community would be able to work free from any kind of discrimination.
The LGBT+ game
I approached Focus Games, a game company that make educational games for the health and social care sector. We worked together for months to come up with the game we have today. The 40 questions are written by me, with help from others within the LGBT+ community. I had lots of support from the Wolverhampton LGBT+ alliance where I work as a volunteer, counselling and listening to those that want to talk about their lives in confidence and without fear of judgment.
The LGBT+ game is big, bright and ‘out’ https://www.thelgbtgame.com/. As an educator myself in my normal day to day job, I wanted to create something that was fun for all to play. The LGBT+ game promotes discussion in a safe environment. Learners will gain the knowledge they need to be able to have an understanding of the LGBT+ community, through looking at history, discrimination and case studies. I didn’t want the game to be difficult. Our questions are basic. But there is definitely a need for this basic level of awareness. When we hosted the event that sparked the idea for the game, in September 2019, many professionals who attended did not even know what the term ‘LGBT’ stood for.
Before the COVID-19 outbreak I attended talks and demonstrations of the game at a number of events such as the West Midlands Care Association provider/managers meeting, and an event on sharing from best practice in LGBT health event. Both events were a big success with lots of people showing a keen interest to see the game work and to look at the questions that have been put together.
Covid-19 need not get in the way of using the game, however. There is no need for an external face-to-face facilitator. The game works ‘out of the box’ for teams to run for themselves. So all you need to run an LGBT+ awareness session is 2 – 12 people, a table, 30 – 60 minutes, and, of course, the game.
The game has been trialled with a number of learners, at different levels of prior knowledge, and the response has been positive. In one group, where there was a mixture of cultures, there was at first hesitation to play the game, however, once play started, a learner shared that he believed the game should be sent to his home country, because there was a belief there that being LGBT+ was ‘wrong’. This is an example of education being vital to ensure we are all living, working and being educated in an inclusive way.
The vision for the game is for it to be used in all sectors, providing a fun and creative way to develop knowledge in teams. Ideally, we would like to see the game being added to the induction programmes for new staff and to future training programmes for any existing staff.
Tommy Silvester is an adult education tutor and IQA with Birmingham adult education service. He also works as a freelance health and social care assessor, and is currently working with skills-first on the development of the first UK LGBT+ qualification. Tommy is a counsellor for the LGBT+ Wolverhampton Alliance.