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Keywords:

  • lesbian;
  • gay;
  • bisexual;
  • awareness training;
  • diversity training;
  • questions;
  • answers;
  • sexuality;
  • intergroup relations;
  • group processes

Abstract

This paper focuses on the questions which heterosexual trainees ask about lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) experience within diversity training about LGB issues. Drawing on a data corpus of 162 questions asked by trainees in 13 tape-recorded training sessions, questions were coded into six categories: (1) general ‘understanding’ questions; (2) questions about the trainer's life, experience and practices; (3) professional practice questions; (4) questions about lesbian and gay related legislation, policies and procedures; (5) questions about specific people and projects and (6) questions about the meanings, derivations and correct use of terms and symbols. ‘Real’ questions are compared with the decontexualized questions (and answers to them) that are provided in training manuals and it is demonstrated that these questions differ markedly from how questions actually get asked and how they actually get answered. Recommendations are provided for improving training and the argument made for turning towards analyses of the real world in action, especially when considering intergroup relations. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.