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

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