THE JASMIN ROY SOPHIE DESMARAIS FOUNDATION LAUNCHES THE WORLD PREMIERE OF “IN THE SHOES OF AN LGBT PERSON”, A VIRTUAL REALITY WORKSHOP
A unifying and educational virtual reality project that allows people to witness,
first-hand, microaggressions experienced by members of the LGBT community
Virtual reality (VR) is at the heart of this activity which allows the participant to become a first-hand witness of situations where people are victims of microaggressions and inappropriate behaviour. These interactive workshops were developed by the Jasmin Roy Sophie Desmarais Foundation, in cooperation with the City of Montreal, UNLTD and Fondation Émergence.
Through its ability to generate empathy and present social interactions in a realistic manner, as well as the resulting emotions and feelings, and because of its advantages in terms of design, action-taking and applicability, virtual reality is a technological vehicle that can be very naturally integrated into a universal prevention program that serves to warn and raise awareness, among participants and those around them, of the problems experienced by people from LGBT communities. Moreover, research findings suggest that VR is an effective tool for fostering learning about positive and open relationships that are difference-inclusive, as well as generating behavioural changes that promote healthy emotional and relational habits. Furthermore, virtual reality could also avoid the pitfalls related to more passive approaches, as described in works studying the diminished effectiveness of interventions aiming to prevent discrimination.
VR is the medium through which to share everyday experiences as they are lived by people of sexual and gender diversity, their loved ones, as well as the public. The In the shoes of an LGBT person experience will then be followed up and discussed during a solutions-focused intervention hosted by a session leader.
This workshop project is consistent with the optimal programming approach proposed by authors who have documented best practices in social and emotional learning. This approach highlights the importance of promoting active, explicit, skill-building learning within coordinated sequences of activities. This type of programming is linked to a significant increase in the effectiveness of intervention programs that target the development of emotional and relational skills.
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