Licensed to Kill – Study Guide

The revised third edition of the Licensed to Kill study and discussion guide is now available. With updated resources and listings, the 35-page manual is designed for use in a variety of settings, such as: community organizing, diversity training, courses in gender studies, sociology, criminal law, psychology, urban studies, and gay and lesbian studies.

Since 1997, Licensed to Kill has been an essential component of educational curriculums, from high schools to prison programs, including those at: Stanford University, the FBI, the Los Angeles Police Department, Andover Newton Theological School, Berkshire County Jail, New York University, Community United Against Violence, Georgetown University Law Center, the Santa Clara Department of Social Services, and hundreds of others.

The film was also a key resource in the development of dramatic productions that address anti-gay violence, including plays produced for high schools students at the New Conservatory Theater Center in San Francisco and the Academy Award® winning film, Boys Don’t Cry.

The Licensed To Kill study guide was written by filmmaker Arthur Dong, with contributions from a panel of noted scholars that included Gregory M. Herek, Ph.D. (Department of Psychology – University of California, Davis CA), Peter M. Nardi, Ph.D. (Professor of Sociology – Pitzer College/The Claremont Colleges CA), and AnnJannette Rosga, Ph.D. (Assistant Professor of Sociology and Anthropology – University of Colorado, Boulder).

The study and discussion guide accompanies all university, educational, library, and institutional purchases of the Licensed to Kill DVD/video as well as the DVD box-set, Stories from the War on Homosexuality. (Home-use only DVDs come with 8-page condensed pamphlets.)

The user-friendly, comprehensive booklet is divided into these main parts:

Themes: Ten sections draw attention to particular themes from the film and offer stimulating discussion topics and related research projects. The themes covered include: Education, Religion, Stereotypes, Heterosexism, Youth, Hate Crimes, The Police, and Society & Politics. Scenes from the film and the DVD supplements are used as starting points to illuminate specific subject matters and to prompt focused discussions.

Profiles: Each of the seven men featured in Licensed to Kill are profiled in this section. Suggestions for discussing each case are offered, along with references to selected “Themes” when applicable. Also, profiles of three additional men that are in the bonus features section of the DVD version are included.

Bibliography: Reference books, journals, and other publications are grouped topically in twelve subsections, including: AIDS Stigma, Childhood Sexual Abuse, Gay Cruising Areas, Hate Crimes (Gay/Lesbian), Hate Crimes (General), Heterosexism/Homophobia & Sexism, Media, The Military, Society & Politics, Religion, Youth & Education, and Workshops for Tolerance & Diversity Training.

Organizations: A compilation of national and local agencies that addresses the issues put forward in Licensed to Kill.

Anti-Violence Programs: A list of agencies nationwide that focuses specifically on issues of violence that affect the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community.

Glossary: A list of terms related to the LGBT community, including potentially problematic terms and phrases.

Essay: An essay on anti-gay violence by Chris Bull, Washington Correspondence for The Advocate.

The Licensed to Kill study guide was partially funded by the Hugh M. Hefner Foundation and the Monette/Horowitz Trust.