How long have you been volunteering with us?
What are some of your most profound moments in workshops?
The most profound moments I regularly experience in the workshops is definitely when young men realise that the way they have been raised and the way that they want to be as men are not necessarily the same thing. You can often see the guys make a connection between a lot of things they have experienced in the past and how they are as people today, and they recognise that they have the power to change their trajectory and become the men that they truly want to be. It's a super powerful experience for them and for me.
What are some funny workshop anecdotes?
I love it when someone is late for the workshop and walk in on their team mates merrily hugging each other and telling each other about things they like about their bodies. The look of bewilderment on their faces is always priceless!
What is the most important thing you think others should know about us?
I think the most important thing for others to know is that we don't try to turn men into being some emasculated faux-feminist ideal of a person, but, rather, we seek to empower men to be able to take charge of their lives and extend that into generating positive experiences for those around them. Masculinity today isn't necessarily bad as such, but it comes with a range of unfortunate side effects which can be detrimental to men and those around them. We try to help men figure out which sides of their masculinity are worth promoting and reinforcing, and which sides are worth reconsidering and perhaps diminishing.
How has volunteering with us changed you?
Volunteering with Beyond Equality has changed the way I interact with people around me every day. I have started focusing a lot more on how I make every situation positive for those involved, and on how much impact I can have in other people's lives. After less than half a year of volunteering, I already feel much more well-equipped to handle myself in situations where I want to speak up for what I believe in. I have started noticing more of the negative consequences of masculinity around me, and been able to interfere in much more constructive ways than before, supporting friends who struggle with mental health or sexual harassment much more effectively. Facilitating the sessions can be exhausting, both physically and emotionally, but seeing young men feeling empowered in a positive way is incredibly rewarding and makes it all worth it