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What's Your Pleasure This Valentine's Day?

We're reclaiming Valentines Day to celebrate our relationship with ourselves, our communities, our friends and our movements. Created by the Consent Comes First Team, Ryerson's Office of Sexual Violence Support and Education

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Valentines day is too often is dominated by heterosexual love stories, leaving out many members of our community. For the second year we are partnering with illustrator Karen Campos Castillo to create pop culture inspired Valentines. Karen shares "I think showing different narratives of love is so important especially for BIPOC communities that continue to experience so much trauma—we have to honour the other ways we care for each other. This is why I wanted to be part of this project". We were inspired by Vivek Shraya and Karen’s past Queer Valentine collaborations.

Our pleasure principle at Ryerson is to learn more about our bodies, understand our desires and have choice over our health, sexuality and gender. We want our community to get informed and determine what feels good for you. To learn more check out our Pleasure Principle resource page.

1. Let’s get platonic together

Love, intimacy and affection isn’t reserved for our romantic relationships.That’s right, there is nothing wrong with being in the friend zone. Today and everyday, let the people around you know you care about them, tell them something you love about them and if you are both into it (consent comes first!) give them a hug. Intimacy is a part of all relationships. Let’s build each other up and take care of each other! #TakeCareRU

2. Consent in the sheets, dissent in the streets!

What a revolutionary combination! This Valentines Day let’s continue to create a culture of consent AND challenge our systems to take better care of us - especially our most marginalized community members.

It’s time to foster consent culture and challenge rape culture. No more normalizing rape and violence or blaming people and communities for their own experiences of violence. Consent culture prioritizes giving and asking for permission as well as emotional and physical safety inside, and outside of the bedroom! From respecting pronouns, to asking before giving a hug to checking in throughout sexual activity, consent is mandatory.

Disent is also a must. Give love to your community this Valentine's day by pick an issue that you feel passionate about, and commit to at least one way that you can actively engage with that issue. Whether it be learning more about it,, calling/ writing a email to your city councillor or MPP, or showing up to a rally or march, make your voice heard. Better yet, do it with a loved one. What a romantic idea!

3. Anita Hill, Tarana Burke & Terry Crews - Let’s start a movement together.

Via ryerson.ca

With this Valentine we wanted to celebrate Black history month through honouring he Black people who have been leading conversations about sexual violence, consent and intersectionality. Anita Hill, Tarana Burke and Terry Crews contributions often get overlooked or excluded from mainstream conversations. Our hope is to give these three powerhouses love.

Anita Hill received vicious hostility as a result of her testifying about the sexual harassment she experienced from Clarence Thomas, a Supreme Court nominee at the time. Feminist groups continue to credit Hill's appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee with vastly increasing the public's awareness of sexual harassment and making it much less tolerated in the workplace.

Tarana Burke, last October the world became aware MeToo movement started by Burke to address sexual violence, which morphed into a movement based on the hashtag #MeToo. MeToo movement has brought awareness to sexual harassment in the workplace and sexual violence within all spheres of society. Did we mention that Tarana was also named one of Time Magazine’s Persons of the Year? She is a true silence breaker.

Last but never least we have Terry Crews , who was one of the first cis-men to speak out in light of #MeToo conversation to share his experiences of sexual violence. Crews, a former NFL Football Player, received backlash rooted in anti-Black racism and toxic masculinity when he shared his story about being groped by a well known Hollywood agent. In an NPR article he shared that “This is about accountability... I don't want revenge, that's not what I'm looking for...Because they tried to throw the shame on me, and I have to keep reminding myself — I will not be shamed. I did nothing wrong.”

In the wise words of Biggie Smalls The Notorious B.I.G., “ If you don’t know, now you know!” We salute the movement makers and shakers!

4. You are pan-tastic! Will you be my Valentine?

Folks who identify as pansexual sometimes are met with questions about whether or not they are confused about what they want, confused bi-sexuals or if they like pans (no really it happens!). The truth is folks that identify as pansexual have a physical/emotional/spiritual attraction to someone regardless of their gender or sex. This doesn’t mean that they like everyone, people have different preferences! Sexuality is fluid, so respect folks choices and identities.Remember to stay PANTASTIC!

5. Cardi B - What’s poppin’?

Need we say more? “What’s poppin” or rather “WASHPOPPIN”is a signature line by our beloved Cardi B. We love Belcalis Almanzar aka Cardi B, not only because she has kept us dancing with Bodak Yellow but her unapologetic claim over her sexuality and promotion of body positivity.Cardi B has been open about her experiences around being a survivor of intimate partner violence and her healing process.“No one around me noticed I was getting beat, everyone was just hustling’ to survive”, Cardi B links experiences of class, race and violence, reminding us that intersectional analysis is fundamental to addressing intimate partner violence. Her social media posts, mostly instagram stories keep us laughing are a gentle reminder that survivors are not broken but rather resilient.

6. We Love Your Gender at Any Age.

I love your gender at any age!

On Valentines we often celebrate new loves, new relationships. We want to make sure that we remember than being trans is not a new idea, and that there is no “too old” or “too young” to be trans or to transition. We love your gender at any age!

Miss Major Griffin-Gracy is shining star of a trans elder. She participated in the Stonewall Riots, she was pals with Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnston, and her activism has focussed on prison justice, HIV/AIDS supports, police brutality, criminalization, sex work, and trans people. She is currently the executive director of the Trans Gender Variant Intersex Justice Project leading efforts to support incarcerated trans women, particularly trans women of colour.

RJ Jones is nakawē nêhiyaw (Saulteaux–Cree), originally from Saskatchewan and is currently living on Algonquin Territory in Ottawa, ON. They are a Two Spirit, Non-Binary and Queer multimedia artist, storyteller, facilitator and educator in the topics of decolonizing our approach to Gender and Sexuality. RJ wants to indigenize the way we see sexuality, gender and sexual & reproductive health while also decolonizing stigma.

Stella Skinner is a 9 yr old transgirl from Acton Ontario, who has been an active trans advocate for more than two years, loves spicy food and Harry Potter. She’s spoken out against conversion therapy for trans children, going to Queen’s Park to speak out about laws that will protect trans people. Stella recently spoke at the Women’s March in Toronto in January 2018 about being assaulted by a bully and what it means to be an ally to trans kids. “Be a friend, a actual friend. Sometimes we lose our whole families when we stand up for our hearts”.

7. No Border is Bigger Than Our Love

Right now there is a tremendous conversation about borders, refugees and immigrants. Borders separate our communities and harm our families. We wanted to send love to anyone who has a border coming between them and those they love. For anyone who has had to cross borders and oceans to be safe. For anyone who is threatened with deportation. For anyone who has colonial and imperial borders imposed on their land. For anyone forced to cross borders to find work. This valentine is for anyone dreaming of a world where people are safe and free to move as they need.

Want more information

We want our community to get informed and determine what feels good for you - our Pleasure Principle page www.ryerson.ca/pleasureprinciple. Pleasure Principle is a project by Consent Comes First and SHARP Health Promotion. Have questions or want to know more? Email osvse@ryerson.ca We are here to listen.

General Sexual Health Websites and Support Lines

Action Canada Access Line For information about sexual and reproductive health, including pregnancy options, and for referrals to clinics and hospitals that provide reproductive health services anywhere in Canada use the Access line a 24-hour Canada wide toll free number that provides information on reproductive and sexual health and referrals on pregnancy options.

1-888-642-2725 or access@actioncanadaSHR.org

AIDS and Sexual Health Infoline

Toll Free: 1-800-668-2437

Local: 416-392-2437

Call to speak with a live counsellor from anywhere in Ontario. It’s anonymous and free. ​Information resource providing information on all aspects of sexual health including HIV/AIDS. Services offered in many languages.

Toll-free: 1-800-668-2437

Local: 416-392-2437

Monday – Friday: 10 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.

Saturday & Sunday: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Statutory holidays: closed

LGBTQ Youth Line offers confidential and non-judgemental peer support through our telephone, text and chat services.4:00-9:30 PM Sunday-Friday. Toll-Free: 1-800-268-9688 Text: 647-694-4275. TTY: 416-962-0777 E-mail:askus@youthline.ca

Scarleteen is an independent, grassroots sexuality and relationships education and support organization and website. Founded in 1998, Scarleteen.com is visited by around five million diverse people each year -- around 5,000 of whom we typically speak with directly through our direct services and in-person outreach -- most between the ages of 15 and 25.

Sexual Health Ontario provides information you need to know and finds it fast from sexually transmitted infections to contraception and fertility. You can chat with Sexual Health Ontario live, Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. ET for answers to your sexual health questions, information and assistance.

Teen Health Source for youth in in Toronto area between the ages of 13 to 19 to learn and ask questions about health. You can chat with a volunteer about a question or concern you have about your sexual health or get on general health questions. They have trained teen volunteers waiting to speak with you live 5 days a week! Most services are anonymous and all are confidential.Text: 647-933-5399. Phone: 416-961-3200. Email:teenhealthsource@ppt.on.ca. Peer Health Educators are available Monday – Thursday from 4pm-9pm, and Saturdays from 12pm-5pm

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