The Impact of Silence

Learning Objectives–At the end of this exercise, you will be able to:

  1. demonstrate increased understanding of the issues around coming out and how they might affect LGBTQ youth.
  2. recognize that coming out is not about sexual behaviour, but about statements of identity and relationships, both of which are critical to emotional and social development in youth.
  3. be able to articulate the potential consequences of social and emotional isolation on sexual and gender minority clients.

Here is a talk by Morgana Bailey speaking on the danger of hiding who you are:


The purpose of this exercise is to increase participants understanding, empathy and knowledge regarding the unique stressors often experienced by sexual and gender minority youth, foster parents and families (AKA LGBTQ2S youth).

This  exercise is a group activity. It is recommended that you use this an icebreaker exercise at a team or organization meeting.

Please watch these two videos clip to see the exercise in action.


Here is the discussion after the exercise:

Here is the Impact of Silence exercise that you can download.


Bailey, M. (2015, January 23). The danger of hiding who you are. Retrieved February 19, 2015, from

Elze, D., & McHaelen, R. (2009).Moving the margins: Training curriculum for child welfare services with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth in out-of-home care : Train the trainer manual. Washington, DC: National Association of Social Workers.

Shelton, J. (2013, November 20). LGBTQ Youth and Homelessness. LGBTQ Youth and Homelessness Town Hall. Lecture conducted from National Learning Community on Youth Homelessness, Toronto.


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