Monthly Archives: February 2012

And My Best Friend is Gay – by Christina Antonick

In the classroom, we use Energizers as activities for groups of youth to practice skill building related to the Respectful Relationships program as well as have the opportunity to move around and be in their bodies during our sessions. In a recent circle we played “The Wind Blows For” which is an activity where one youth stands in the middle and shares something that is true for him/her and then if anyone in the outer circle agrees or shares the statement in common, they move and find a new chair. It’s playful and engaging – an activity that youth enjoy.

Recently, a youth spoke the following, “The wind blows for anyone who has a best friend who is gay.” More than a handful of youth moved to different seats. As an educator doing youth violence prevention work for almost two decades, I always hold tight to these magical moments. I am certain that in many other BC communities, many youth would not feel safe to make such a statement – when I was in high school, this would not have happened. It is a great thing to realize that youth are grappling with homophobia and attempting to make conscious efforts to get real with themselves and others about the importance of diversity and respect and to feel comfortable to speak about friendship and community as it relates to sexual orientation.

Christina Antonick, Adult Facilitator, Respectful Relationships Program

Stereotypes Create Lives Lived in Boxes — by Christina Antonick

Today in the Respectful Relationships Program, we worked with Grade 8 youth to explore stereotypes and how they relate to violence. My co-facilitator Kevin and I do a role play and act out our two scenarios of two youth in conversation. The first scene is a young man going to his friend to tell him that a girl he likes came to him to ask him out and that he was confused and ‘weirded out’ because “why is a girl asking a guy out?” and “is she desperate or something?” for taking the initiative. In the other scenario, a 13 year-old young man admits to his friend that instead of trying out for the boys basketball team, he has started doing yoga and taking a dance class – the scenario develops into a conflict between the two when his friends decides to Facebook gossip about her discomfort with her friend as a guy doing yoga and dance rather than playing basketball.

The scenarios generate interesting discussion among Grade 8 youth who admit that stereotypes do affect their lives in multiple ways. They openly admit that if they hear racist, sexist or homophobic jokes, the majority of them will not speak up because they fear they will be ‘gossiped about’ for asking someone to stop. Honest conversations such as these leave me feeling a very clear need to continue to develop curriculum in the areas of systemic oppression, specifically as it relates to racism, homophobia and sexism. Youth are still so deeply influenced by media messages that are less than respectful.

Christina Antonick, Adult Facilitator, Respectful Relationships Program

Lets talk about Respect, Relationships and Sex

Dialogue Circles
February 14 or 16,
7-9pm

(Registration required)

A collaborative evening of dialogue for parents and youth of the Gulf Islands

These evening talking circles are an opportunity for open, honest and safe dialogue between youth and parents about the realities of healthy relationships, intimacy, and sex.  In our society although we hear about sexuality all the time in music, TV programs, and movies; we rarely have open, healthy discussions about the subject.

SWOVA’s Respectful Relationships program (R+R) has been delivered to students in School District #64 for 12 years.  We are now pleased to facilitate a community opportunity for intergenerational dialogue around self-esteem, boundaries, assertive communication, influence of the media, and healthy relationships with ourselves and others. We will be doing separate gender talking circles.  The event is trans and questioning positive.

Space is limited to 12 youth and 12 adults per workshop each evening.  Registration is required so sign up for either the 14 or 16 February workshops.

Call 250-537-1336 or e-mail info@swova.org

Workshops will take place on Salt Spring Island, B.C. CANADA

Thanks to our funders: Victoria Foundation & Salt Spring Island Foundation