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All bodies are good bodies

Learning about the radical possibilities of pleasure

by Kashmala Fida

A pre-Valentine's / Pink Triangle day workshop sponsored by South House looked at love in all its many manifestations, giving it, receiving it, sharing it, feeling it for yourself, your community, your pals and/or partners! Photo Kashmala Fida
A pre-Valentine's / Pink Triangle day workshop sponsored by South House looked at love in all its many manifestations, giving it, receiving it, sharing it, feeling it for yourself, your community, your pals and/or partners! Photo Kashmala Fida

KJIPUKTUK, HALIFAX - “Talking about sex can be nice, but it can also be a space of trauma,” Carmella Farahbakhsh told the 30 or so attendants of the All Bodies Are Good Bodies, a lively workshop sponsored by the energetic folks at South House Sexual and Gender Resource Centre last Thursday.

“The model of sexual education used in schools is very oppressive. There is a lot of shame and micro-aggression used, which is not healthy. It disregards the different, very specific types of relationships people have and focuses on only one,” they said.

The timing of the workshop was not coincidental.

Valentine's day was just around the corner. And February 14 is also Pink Triangle Day, a day to think about the challenges queer people continue to face, and a day to take pride in the battles that have been won.

“This time of the year is tough for some,” says Farahbakhsh, “it promotes this normative love that has left us with pictures of white monogamous folks, not a love that promotes success.” The kind of love that goes beyond state-celebrated relationships. One, where people feel safe and comfortable, not oppressive and unable to be themselves. Where there is no secret, shame or violence.

The workshop featured discussions on the idea of self-love, self-image and consent in all its complexities.

To draw out the notion of self-love, people spent time writing or drawing their idea of the perfect way to spend time with themselves. To do something that would make them happy and at the same time get to know more about themselves.

It could be something simple like going for a walk in the park or a nice dinner by yourself, going dancing by yourself or something a little more intimate.

In order to accentuate how self-image too often is shaped by oppression, people wrote heart-shaped letters to any part of their body they felt they had a difficult relationship with, or a body part they had learned to love.

Consent was another topic that was discussed. Farabakhsh stressed that it’s OK to say no at any time, and that it is perfectly fine to change your mind and say no, even if you said yes earlier.

Farahbakhsh also explained how language can make people feel safer. “Be gentle with your language,” they remarked. Never assume what pronouns people go by, or the kind of language people are comfortable with.

The best way to find out is to simply ask, said Farahbakhsh.

The model of sexual education used in schools is very oppressive. It uses a lot of shame and micro-aggression, which is not healthy, they said. It disregards the different kinds of relationships people have and focuses on only one.

There shouldn’t be a dichotomy of heterosexual and queer sex, said Farahbakhsh. A cis person might be into some sexual acts that would be considered queer. It is important to keep that in mind at all times, they said.

The workshop took a decidedly practical turn when Farahbakhsh used their experience of working at Venus Envy to demonstarte how to properly clean sex toys. They mentioned the health risks of inappropriate cleaning and also explained how it will help improve the toys’ longevity.

Don't shame anyone based on their kinks, Farahbakhsh warned.

In many ways that was the theme of the workshop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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