Our 2nd SAFE meeting for our adult group was last night. I want to thank everyone for the great conversation Ash, Sara and I welcome all the questions and the sharing.
One of the topics last night was on consent. This is very important and we talk often on consent in our GSA.
Consent taught at an early age is important.
As adults we have to teach our youth how important a consistent NO is.
Consent is a YES. It is clear, it is given without coercion or manipulation, consent is coherent.
They can say no to hugs from family at gatherings, they can say no to hugs from parents and siblings.
If you find your youth uncomfortable at family gatherings as grandparents and relatives are hugging en masse, help be that barrier for your youth. Don’t force them to shuffle from embrace to embrace because it was expected of you as a child. Talk to relatives about how physical contact has changed.
Consent is asking questions. Ask your kiddo permission before you share a photo on social media. Ask about all of the past photos you’ve shared before your kiddo came out. Are they okay with the photos, stories, memories, on your social media pages? Ask yourself the same question. Would you be okay with photos, funny stories, candid shots of yourself on your kids social media pages for their friends to see and comment on?
Have a talk with your kids about photos that have been given as gifts. Did your youth have a school photo taken? Was it framed and handed out to family members? Ask if they are okay with seeing those old photos of themselves. (schools are failing our gender diverse youth with this archaic practice)
Some of our transgender, non binary, and gender diverse, youth and adults like to look back on old photos and see the changes. To others it is very hurtful and causes painful memories.
Please have these conversations with the youth and adults in your life. Don’t suddenly start making changes without consulting them first. The most important thing is to have a conversation.
Another very important thing to remember. You are not responsible for another’s hurt feelings.
•If you or your youth says NO to a hug and a family member is upset, you and your kiddo are not responsible for the feelings of the family member.
•If your youth asks you not to post a photo or story on social media. Your youth is not responsible because you are sad your friends can’t see them in a funny situation.
•If you ask a family member to switch out a photo of a kiddo with a art piece they made instead, you are not responsible if they are upset. (but seriously great excuse because ART IS AWESOME!)
•When someone says no, that is the answer. No.
No cannot be changed to a yes through guilt, bribery, threats, or manipulation.
Please also remember that consent can be withdrawn.
*This is the smallest sample on the very broad and important topic of consent. I highly recommend speaking with Angel at Alberta Sex Positive Education & Community Centre, they teach classes on consent and can go into so much greater detail than I am able to!
Thank you for taking the time to have these conversations with your family and friends!
***Important edit ***
Last night in our adult meeting we had a VERY important discussion on consent regarding social media and personal photos. Please realize. IF your parents or caregivers have posted on social media accounts it is because they love you and they are proud of you, it was never done with ill intent.