So this year for Sparkles we decided to change things up a little bit. Instead of having it the day after Queerbash, as we usually do, we decided we’d have it on Saturday 28th March, the weekend before the Easter holidays.
The first workshop of the day was given to us by the ever wonderful Billie from GOSHH. Firstly, she got the room to give a list of all of the homophobic slurs we had ever been called. We then split up into groups with sheets of paper labelled ‘lesbian’, ‘gay’, ‘bisexual’ and ‘trans*’ and were told to write down any instances in our lives where we had heard these words being used, and the way in which people used these words. We then discussed what we’d written on our sheets, and what kind of an impact it had on how we saw ourselves. Then to finish off on a happier note, we turned to the person on our left and told them something we admired about them.
This workshop was also given to us by the fab Billie. This one started a bit differently, as Billie went around and asked each of us what turned us on. As expected the answers ranged from neck kissing to BDSM, and everything in between. Then a couple of brave souls spoke about what their first orgasm was like, going into detail about how it happened and what it felt like throughout. Finally, Billie asked each of us to make a promise to ourselves, something we would do to ensure our next sexual experience was a positive one. Again, these answers ranged from promising to work on our self-confidence, to being more in the moment rather than in our own heads, to pleasuring our partner more.
Marriage equality workshop
This workshop was given to us by Ken Curtin from YesEquality Cork. Ken gave us a list of statistics to prove just how important canvassing and campaigning will be in getting a yes vote in the marriage equality referendum. We then went through the general ‘dos’ and don’ts’ of door-to-door canvassing. He gave us advice on how to deal with all kinds of voters from ‘hard no’s’ to ‘soft yeses’, and what to do when you just can’t reason with someone.
Maintaining Mental Wellness for the LGBTQ community
Our final workshop of the day was from our very own Kate Stewart. Kate went through various, rather shocking figures which showed how susceptible members of the LGBTQ community are to mental health issues. We then looked at the various supports systems that are in place around UL and Limerick that any of us could go to if we were having problems. Kate talked us through various forms of self-care that we could bring into our daily lives. We then rounded off this workshop by doing a few deep-breathing exercises.
All-in-all Sparkles 2015 turned out to be one of our most informative, educational and interesting Sparkles so far. Hopefully we’ll see you all at next years! 🙂