EMPOWER
YOUTH, ARTS AND ACTIVISM
An HIV/AIDS Arts Activism Manual for Youth by Youth
PARTNERS
Youth Action Network (YAN) is dedicated to helping youth become more
informed and actively involved in order to m...
INTRODUCTION
                            04   Empower: Youth, Arts and Activism: An Introduction


                       ...
EMPO      :
         WEDRCTIVISM
            A
         H, ARTS AN
    YOUT
    This manual, designed for youth by youth, ...
ING E                                                    DITOR
                              RAH SW ITZER, MANAG
         ...
ACT-UP was responsible for the iconic          Greyson and Balser also created placards
         protest graphic and sloga...
The profiled initiatives in this manual not   Fluid Exchanges: Artists and Critics     Power to the People. McCaskell, Tim...
UNPACKING THE ISSUES
                   If you’re looking for the basics or a quick refresher,
                       here...
At Risk                                             Power
                                                 Particular comm...
As I did more presentations, I was shocked to
                                                                            ...
things like that... there are more important
must be sensitive and non-judgmental of the        The “Abstinence First” pol...
HIV AIDS EDUCATION
       PREVENTION RISK REDUCTION MODEL (HEP)



                                                       ...
Going Viral with

Prise Positive
But how do we put theory into action? The following pages map out innovative
projects tha...
Photo: Alex Felipe
 FASHION CHANGE
 WITH YOUTHCARE
     Interview with Nadia Alam
     Nadia was one of the first women I ...
Fashioning Change: A Youth-Inspired Fashion Show
                     As part of the presentation at the International AID...
The shirts were showcased by the group        Why do you do this work?                        Sudan. It’s surprising how a...
Photo: Jonathan Ponce
                                                                                                    ...
Photo: Patrick Struys




18
LOVE,
                                    featuring Jay and Romeo




BUTTON-MAKING WITH
sprOUT/Compass
Interview with Rom...
Photo: Patrick Struys




                        CREATIVITY,
                        featuring Rainbow




              ...
POWER, featuring Romeo
Photo: Patrick Struys




                        OUR COMPASS
                        Griffin Centr...
Empower: Youth, Arts and Activism
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An HIV/AIDS Manual for Youth by Youth

The manual, Empower: Youth, Arts, and Activism, is designed for youth by youth, and features a diverse range of projects put forward by passionate, inspiring and fired-up individuals committed to social change. Each individual, group and project is committed to challenging social and structural issues around HIV and AIDS. From HIV positive youth fighting stigma to peer education projects and safer sex parties, this manual honours the work of communities creating spaces to talk about the issues that matter most. And, each project is accomplished with the use of art!

This youth, queer, and sex positive manual features work, interviews and hot tips from the following youth activists and programs:

* Prise Positive Take, Montréal
* Fashioning Change, YouthCARE, Toronto
* sprOUT/Compass, Griffin Centre, North Toronto
* PhotoVoice and the Francophone Project, GAAP, Toronto
* The Sense Project: Head & Hands, Montréal
* No Pants No Problem! Safer Sex Party Organizing, from Montréal to Toronto
* Native Youth Sexual Health Network, Turtle Island
* Innovative HIV Prevention by Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention (Black CAP), Toronto
* Playing it Safe Project, YouthCO AIDS Society, Vancouver
* Visual Artist, Jenn Yee.

Partners of Empower: Youth, Arts, and Activism – An HIV/AIDS Arts Activism Manual for
Youth by Youth:
Youth Action Network (YAN)
Gendering Adolescent AIDS Prevention (GAAP)
Centre for Urban Health Initiatives (CUHI)

Printing of the manual has been generously supported by CATIE. To order a FREE copy of the manual please visit the CATIE Ordering Centre at www.catie.ca after the launch. CATIE Centre Catalogue Number ATI-26158. Copies also available for download.

For more information about Empower, please visit www.empoweryouth.ca or contact Sarah Switzer, managing editor at sarah@empoweryouth.info.

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Empower: Youth, Arts and Activism

  1. 1. EMPOWER YOUTH, ARTS AND ACTIVISM An HIV/AIDS Arts Activism Manual for Youth by Youth
  2. 2. PARTNERS Youth Action Network (YAN) is dedicated to helping youth become more informed and actively involved in order to move towards a just and sustainable society. We strongly believe in the ability of youth to affect change in the world. We understand the need for a stronger voice and for greater participation in our local and global communities. The main functions of YAN are to provide information and promote action. YAN is a national non-profit youth organization based in Toronto. Gendering Adolescent AIDS Prevention (GAAP) brings together youth, community based service providers, policy makers, students and researchers in Canada and South Africa on projects that use participatory approaches to working with young people in relation to sexuality, HIV prevention and AIDS awareness. Our overall goal is the creation of innovative, gender-sensitive HIV education programs that work for youth. GAAP is located at New College, University of Toronto. For more more info, check out www.utgaap.org. Centre for Urban Health Initiatives (CUHI) Through research and partnership building, the Centre for Urban Health Initiatives (CUHI) is helping to create a better understanding of the impact of physical and social environments on the health of urban residents. Located at the University of Toronto, CUHI fosters research development, collaboration and knowledge exchange between individuals committed to urban health, including academic and community researchers, community service providers, policy makers, and health practitioners. Founded in 2004, and funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Institute of Population and Public Health, CUHI supports scholarship in relevant and emerging areas of urban health, focusing to date on neighbourhoods, food security & urban agriculture, physical environments, youth sexual health, chronic disease prevention & management, environmental health justice and policy pathways for improved & equitable health & health care. The Centre brings together researchers from different disciplines, provides training and mentoring for research in urban health relationships, creates opportunities for knowledge exchange, and builds partnerships between researchers, policy-makers and communities. Need more HIV and/or Hep C information and resources? Contact CATIE toll free at 1-800-263-1638 or online at www.catie.ca. This publication has been printed with assistance from CATIE, 2009. To order a free copy, contact CATIE (CATIE Ordering Centre Catalogue Number ATI-26158). To find out how to get involved with Empower visit us at www.empoweryouth.info or email info@empoweryouth.info.
  3. 3. INTRODUCTION 04 Empower: Youth, Arts and Activism: An Introduction 08 Unpacking the Issues Managing Editor, Sarah Switzer 09 Glossary: AIDS 101 Collected and written by Sara Young 10 “Let’s Talk” An article by Ciann Wilson 12 Risk and HIV/AIDS: Individual and Structural Risks A Chart By Women’s Health in Women’s Hands 13 Going Viral with Prise Positive Written by Project Coordinator, Kim Simard EMPOWER FEATURES YOUTH, ARTS Youth In Action: HIV/AIDS Activists, Educators and Change-Shifters AND ACTIVISM 14 Fashioning Change Interview with Nadia Alam, YouthCARE An HIV/AIDS Arts Activism Manual for Youth by Youth 18 Button Making with SprOUT/Compass Interview with Romeo and Jay, Griffin Centre a project by 26 Through our Eyes: PhotoVoice with GAAP Interview with Nidhi Punyarthi Youth Action Network Gendering Adolescent 32 World AIDS Day Tomfoolery: Cabarets for Change Interview with Christina Foisy, The Sense Project: Head & Hands AIDS Prevention The Centre for Urban 36 AIDS and the Politics of Funding Interview with Jennifer Yee Health Initiatives 38 No Pants…No Problem!: Safer Sex Party Organizing Interview with Jessica Whitbread 44 Our Communities, Our Rights: Taking Action on First Nations Issues Interview with Jessica Yee, Native Youth Sexual Health Network Black Youth Leading Together: 48 Innovative HIV Prevention by Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention (Black CAP) Interview with Mary Yehdego, Shani Robertson, and David Lewis-Peart The Person I Want To Be: 53 Collaborative Video Making with the Playing it Safe Project Interview with Lulu Gurney and Aaron Chan, YouthCO AIDS Society FOR YOUR READING PLEASURE 59 HIV/AIDS Resources Collected by Sara Young 63 Credits
  4. 4. EMPO : WEDRCTIVISM A H, ARTS AN YOUT This manual, designed for youth by youth, global and local issues, throwing parties There’s already a wealth of information features a diverse range of projects to raise money and awareness, and out there on HIV/AIDS so we’ve decided put forward by passionate, inspiring creating spaces within communities to to put our efforts elsewhere by featuring and fired-up individuals committed to talk about the issues. And each project inspiring projects and activists. You’ll social change. Each individual, group is accomplished with the help of art! This notice that the focus of each feature and project is committed to working ain’t your stuck-in-a-stuffy-museum art contains an interview with a short through challenges associated with HIV, project either. Youth across the country introduction from yours truly (me!). Each from positive prevention to debunking are using art to challenge, educate, and participant was sent interview questions myths. This includes challenging stigma, question the presence of HIV in their local with simple instructions: informing the public about the ties and global communities: button making, between funding and disease, educating fashion, visual art, collage, web design, “Use this as your soap box! The other youth on the connection between graphic design... the list goes on! questions are purposely broad so that you may have the freedom to answer or challenge them, as you see fit.” Some participants even changed the questions asked! Unlike traditional ASONS RAH’S TOP TEN RE interviews where the interviewer asks SA TS all the questions and waits patiently FOR USING THE AR for a response, I wanted this process to be as open and equitable as possible. 1 When created at a community level, art may be I hoped that by providing space and an accessible way of getting the message out! time, it might counteract the challenges that some youth may face by having to people to access write responses. Added to each of the Different art forms will enable different 2 and engage with your message in a variety of ways. interviews are definitions, fact boxes, and in some cases, more resources. Art can be participatory. 3 Making buttons, creating posters, or engaging in street theatre are all ways that you can spread a message with people instead of to people. Dialogue. Art opens up spaces for conversation. Once you’ve organized, produced 4 and performed your work, sit back and let the power of your work take over. Creations live on after their production. After engaging a community in 5 a creative process, the pieces created can later be used as resources, curriculum materials, or awareness posters. powerful. 6 Storytelling is Sick of the same old? Art can help you to 7 think ‘outside the box’ try something new. to and challenge yourself 8 Media Coverage. Because the arts are often visual or performed, arts activism can be a great way of getting your message out to local media – especially independent media. 4 9 social experience, Making art can be a cheaper than a night out on the town. materials, 10 Uh, art is fun? and depending on
  5. 5. ING E DITOR RAH SW ITZER, MANAG BY SA bou t resources? t concerned a over a nd shaker, bu While this is Want to be a m ck of organizat ional support? ge, and es? La test, cutting-ed ? Li mited Resourc me of the grea Limited money gnize that so d kitchen r concern, reco ussions aroun understanda bly a cause fo ugh late night disc ur achieved thro izing it. Pool yo gw ork has been rich networ k without real change-makin cess to a really y come. obably have ac r you’ve alread tables. You pr u’ll be su rprised how fa ur skills and yo ted, check ou t the efforts, and yo p getting star refresher, or hel n you th activism. If you need a great guides o e 59) for some resources section (pag HOW TO USE THIS GUIDE Fired up but don’t know what to do? can be learned by dancing the epidemic? institutionalized discrimination restricted Have inspiration but no means of action? By exploring youth stories through the government efforts from providing lens of a camera? Or getting down and support and resources to the communities This guide is designed for individuals dirty with scissors, magazines and glue? affected. Instead, government inaction who are interested in activating their As Deedee Halleck, film maker and media and passivity meant that public efforts knowledge, passion and skills and want to activist says, art is about “imagining were limited to preventing the virus from fuel these ideas into positive action. More impossible possibilities.” So, take the spreading to the “general population.” specifically, the following pages focus on jump and try something new! As a result, communities most affected using the arts as a catalyst or medium for were forced to organize themselves and HIV/AIDS youth activism. By focusing on A BRIEF HISTORY use their own resources to support and a broad range of arts-based education and In the early 1980s, the HIV epidemic care for the dying, launch early prevention activist efforts organized by committed broke out across gay communities in campaigns using safer sex messaging, and youth, this guide aims to inspire action, major North American cities. At first no protest against government inaction and provoke bursts of insight and dialogue one knew the cause of the mysterious homophobia on providing health services between and among HIV/AIDS youth illness and even after the identification to people living with HIV and research activists across Canada. There are already of HIV in 1984, there was ongoing funding for treatment options. an abundance of general resources controversy over the role of the HIV for youth activism circulating in local virus. Even though the epidemic was Since the beginning of the HIV/AIDS libraries, schools, community centres disproportionately affecting socially movement, activists have relied on the and youth organizations. This guide marginalized groups, such as gay men, arts to shake things up, raise awareness tries to specifically map out some of the and demand government accountability. successes and challenges encountered Much of this movement began in the late by young HIV/AIDS arts activists. Stop 1980s with the founding of The AIDS looking “out there” and start looking Coalition to Unleash Power in New York “in here”; there’s already a wealth of (ACT-UP NY) in 1987. Canadians soon knowledge in our communities. followed ACT- UP’s example, and in early 1988, AIDS Action NOW! (AAN!) formed BUT WHY ART? in Toronto. Drawing on the creativity of Good question! This question will come innovative artists, lessons learned from up again in feature interviews throughout the women’s health movement (who had the manual. Art isn’t like a formula. You already developed considerable advocacy can’t pop it in, and hope to end up with strategies challenging the politics of the same answer each time- but, that’s medicine and the health care system) and the fun of it! Experimenting with different lesbian and gay rights groups, ACT-UP NY SILENCE = DEATH, 1978 art forms can push you to think outside Avram Finklestein, Brian Howard, and AAN! developed a number of direct- the box, as you experience the world or an Oliver Johnston, Charles Kreloff, Chris action initiatives. Lione, and Jorge Soccaras. issue through a different medium. What 5
  6. 6. ACT-UP was responsible for the iconic Greyson and Balser also created placards protest graphic and slogan Silence=Death. and backdrops used at the rallies and This image draws parallels between the demonstrations of AIDS Action NOW! Nazi period and the AIDS crisis in the late 1980s. The inverted pink triangle, Artist Steven Andrews’ “Facsimile” originally intended as a badge of shame, portrait series took as its starting point was one of the Nazi badges used in photos featured in Xtra! Magazine’s Proud concentration camps to identify male Lives section which commemorated prisoners who were sent there because those who had died of AIDS in the past of their homosexuality. It has since been week. Robert Flack’s Public Access poster reclaimed as an international symbol of project “The Power Begins With You” sent gay pride and the gay rights movement. a message of healing and empowerment to both people living with HIV and those In the 1970s, just a decade before AIDS fighting to stay uninfected. began to take its toll, “out” gay art works AIDS Sculpture, General Idea, 1989. were, as pioneering Toronto gay artist In Canada early AAN! flyers and posters In an unforgettable coup, and perhaps Andy Fabo notes, “few and far between.” used slogans including “TOO DAMN most well known, they appropriated However, by the mid-1980s the arts SLOW! Our friends are dying while and transformed American artist Robert community in Canadian urban centres bureaucrats fiddle,” which featured a Indiana’s well-known “LOVE” image into began to be heavily affected by HIV and line drawing of a caveman figure holding an AIDS sculpture [see above]. This artists reacted by joining forces with AIDS a hammer, the “Silence=Death” slogan project became one of General Idea’s educators and activists to bring attention from ACT-UP, and the tagline “AIDS most ambitious and important media to the crisis. Action Now!” The AIDS Action Now! logo interventions in response to AIDS. The continues to use the pink triangle to draw sculpture travelled the world, and became Gay filmmakers such as John Greyson, parallels and critique social apathy and the now world-famous AIDS logo. Paul Wong, Richard Fung and Michael government inaction [see logo below]. Balser created early works which The pop art images of Joe Average, who educated on safer sex (as in Greyson’s The Canadian artist collective General was diagnosed with HIV at the age of 27 “The ADS Epidemic” and safer sex shorts), Idea (AA Bronson, Felix Partz, and Jorge in 1985, have captured the attention of criticized media representation of HIV (as Zontal), began an HIV publicity campaign art critics, celebrities and the public alike. in Balser’s “Treatments: Adventures in in the late 1980s. Over seven years they Average gave a face to AIDS in Canada by AIDS and Media”) and documented AIDS carried out more than 50 temporary public creating the first national AIDS awareness activism (as in Greyson’s “The World is art installations across North America poster in 1991, and the logo he created for Sick”, which captured the activist takeover and Europe engaging the public to reflect the XI International Conference on AIDS of the opening ceremonies of the 1989 on HIV. These collections included “One in Vancouver became Canada’s first AIDS Montreal International AIDS Conference). Year of AZT” and “One Day of AZT.” postage stamp in 1996. This early arts-based activism played a crucial role in awakening Canadians to what was happening. Contemporary Canadian arts-based AIDS activism continues to honour this rich history while continually pushing its limits to create new meanings and new actions. The World Is Sick, John Greyson, 1989, courtesy of Vtape. To view this and other titles, contact www.vtape.org to make an appointment in Vtape’s free media resource centre. AAN! logo design: David Vereschagin 6
  7. 7. The profiled initiatives in this manual not Fluid Exchanges: Artists and Critics Power to the People. McCaskell, Tim. only reflect the changing context of HIV in in the AIDS Crisis. Miller, James, ed. The Positive Side. Spring-Summer 2006. Canada, but also represent histories in the Toronto: University of Toronto Press, www.positiveside.ca making. We hope that this manual inspires 1992. new creative approaches, building on the Not Your Average Joe Pop icon and artist foundations of HIV activism as we move A Leap in the Dark: AIDS, Art & Joe Average on his most challenging forward in solidarity with past and present Contemporary Cultures. Edited by masterpiece — his health. movements. Read on and be inspired to Allan Klusacek and Ken Morrison, The Positive Side. Spring-Summer, 2005. act-up! Vehicule Press, Montreal, 1991. www.positiveside.ca Sources: 25 Years - through Stories | The Encyclopedia of AIDS: A Social, Political, AIDS Activist: Michael Lynch and the Artistic Response to AIDS. Cultural, and Scientific Record of the HIV Politics of Community. Silversides, Ann. AIDS Committee of Toronto Epidemic. Edited by Raymond A. Smith, Between the Lines, Toronto, Canada 2003. www.actoronto.org/home.nsf/ Penguin, New York, 2001. pages/25yearsstories03arts Action! While there is no solid recipe for Get Critical Things to Consider... social change, or creating activist • Remember, just because art, here is one way of moving you’re using an alternative - Think Outside the Box through a project. These steps can medium (art), be approached in any order and it doesn’t mean that your may be returned to throughout the message will automatically - Go with What You Know process. be transformative. • Keep checking in with Get Inspired yourself and your project - Be an Ally - Create Allies • What issue fires you up? aims to ensure you’re continually challenging yourself, the message, and - Be Flexible Get Informed - Learn the Issues others. • Expand your HIV & AIDS - Unlearn Knowledge Get Moving • What do you already know? • Choose a project idea. HIV/AIDS is connected to Establish a work plan with Preconceptions - Draw on Other a vast number of diverse clear goals and objectives. • Be flexible. Implement Forms issues. You may know more than you think! your plan, and revisit it frequently to make of Activism Get Personal changes. • How is HIV/AIDS connected • Use your personal network - Maintain an Anti-Oppressive to your community? What is to help roll out project your connection? ideas. Framework Get Connected Fast Forward • Know your resources, • How will you determine if - Think Forward: contacts, and networks. your project is successful? Envision Project Sustainability Who can you rely on for • How will you ensure information, resources, project sustainability? and support? What are the next steps? 7
  8. 8. UNPACKING THE ISSUES If you’re looking for the basics or a quick refresher, here’s some information to get you started… Why Youth? The 2007 UN Epidemiology Report categorizes contracting HIV. This may also indicate social We need equitable sex education which HIV prevalence rates in two categories: adult risks, such as access to sexual health clinics, speaks to all youth—not by homogenizing sex and child. They define children as 15 years and the ability to negotiate condom use in ed, but by recognizing that different people and under. Does this mean adults count as and communities have different needs. anyone who is aged 16 years and up?! This ain’t math class where there’s only What about youth? While the definition one formula, or one correct answer. for youth varies, in a Canadian context, By silencing honest, open discussion youth are generally regarded as being about HIV/AIDS, we do ourselves and between the ages of 16–24, however our communities a giant injustice. I this range can begin as low as 12 and hope that this manual may provide a range to 29. When discussing sexual platform for youth to speak to important and reproductive health and HIV/AIDS, issues not only within the confines of youth face particular challenges that are these pages, but outside of these pages in different from the challenges experienced by classrooms, cafeterias, on the streets and in “adults”. This extends beyond sexuality and bedrooms across the city. connects to larger issues such as housing, schooling and employment. Youth need Just think about what we could spaces and platforms to speak to accomplish! According to the UN World important issues affecting their sexual Youth Report (2003), young people and reproductive health. This is on make up almost a fifth of the world’s account of age, but is linked with other population. As youth, it’s important social markers such as gender, race, that we speak out and talk to our class, sexual orientation, dis/ability, Artwork from Positive Youth Outreach Zine, February 2008 friends and family members about geographical location (i.e rural youth the importance of HIV & AIDS, not vs. urban youth), place of birth, and citizenship relationships. Furthermore, the Canadian AIDS just as something which happens “over there” status. When we talk about “youth” and HIV/ Society states that “Because young people but something which happens here, in our very AIDS, we must recognize that “youth” make up with HIV progress to AIDS much more slowly own backyards. an incredibly diverse community. than older persons, AIDS statistics are bound to disproportionately under-represent youth”3. 1 Public Health Agency of Canada. (2007). HIV/ These challenges equate to real numbers. And education is lagging far behind! The AIDS EPI Update. Toronto Teen Survey4, facilitated by Gendering www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/aids-sida/publication/epi/ While reported HIV rates among youth are Adolescent AIDS Prevention (GAAP) and pdf/epi2007_e.pdf low, they are quickly rising, particularly among Planned Parenthood Toronto, has discovered 2 Public Health Agency of Canada. (2007). HIV/ young women. For example, in Canada (2006), that only 62% of Toronto youth are receiving AIDS EPI Update. females accounted for 40.9% of positive HIV sexual health education in schools. Other www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/aids-sida/publication/epi/ test reports among youth aged 15 to 29 years.1 youth report receiving sexual health education pdf/epi2007_e.pdf in youth or religious groups. But 10% of all 3 Cited from Larkin, J & Mitchell, M. (2004). There has also been a recent increase in youth surveyed reported that they have never Gendering HIV/AIDS Prevention: Situating sexually transmitted infection (STI) rates received any sexual health education! Whoa! Canadian Youth in a Transitional World. Women’s among youth.2 But what does this have to do Health and Urban Life 3(2), p.34-44. with HIV?! An increase in undetected STIs 4 Check out www.ppt.on.ca/research_teensurvey. increases an individual’s biological risk of asp for more info! 8
  9. 9. At Risk Power Particular communities are said to be “at- Dictionaries often define power with reference GLOSSARY risk” of contracting HIV. This means that in comparison with the general population, to the following: first, the ability for someone to do or not do something, such as use a condom AIDS 101 they are more likely to display certain characteristics that increase the likelihood of becoming infected. While it may be true when engaging in intercourse; second, the ability for someone to control or influence another, such as forcing someone to have Glossary terms have been that certain groups are at increased risk, and unprotected sex; and third, when a group has compiled by Sara Young should be targeted with special HIV prevention political authority or control over others, such programming, we also need to acknowledge as how a government has the power to make how labeling certain groups as “at-risk” can homosexuality illegal. increase stigma and discrimination of such groups, increasing their exclusion from society. Positive Prevention Empowering HIV positive individuals to Epidemic protect their own health and reduce the An outbreak of a disease that attacks many possibility of new HIV infections among people at about the same time and may the larger community. Positive Prevention spread through one or several communities. respects the rights of people living with and An epidemic is localized (e.g., the epidemic in affected by HIV/AIDS. This includes sexual Canada, or in Aboriginal communities). and reproductive rights, such as the right to enjoy intimate relationships in order to live a Marginalized Communities full and healthy life. You may also see the term Groups that are socially excluded from the Poz Prevention. larger, dominant community. Their needs HIV are not given attention and they are often HIV stands for human immunodeficiency Sex at a heightened risk of contracting HIV. A virus. The term immunodeficiency means a Refers to the activities meant to sexually marginalized community’s place in the societal weakened immune system. People who have stimulate the body. There are many different social structure makes them more likely to be been infected with HIV are called HIV-positive interpretations of what ‘counts’ as sex. Does denied access to social services and to adopt (sometimes written HIV+). HIV is a virus oral sex ‘count’ as sex or is vaginal/anal behaviours that increase HIV risk. that weakens your immune system, which is penetration required to ‘qualify’ as sex? Think about how you define sex and the ways that the internal system that defends your body Oppression against disease. Your immune system is different definitions may work against the When power is used to elevate one social supposed to protect you from infections, but prevention of HIV. For example, if it is believed group over another, denying the disadvantaged HIV can sneak past it and then attack your that unprotected sex is a main transmission group a voice through which to assert their body from the inside. If your immune system route for HIV, but someone does not believe needs. Oppression goes hand in hand with becomes weak enough, you can become sick oral sex counts as sex, they may not take the marginalization. People can be oppressed from other infections. proper steps to protect themselves. If someone based on race, sexual orientation, gender, faith, has cuts or lesions in their mouth or throat, ability, age, class, HIV status, etc. Because an AIDS individual’s identity is composed of many sexual fluids may enter and transmit the virus. AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency They may feel they are not at risk because to different labels, people face oppression from syndrome. If HIV is not treated with anti- them they are not engaging in sex. a different constellation of forces. The labels HIV drugs, your immune system generally people identify with intersect to shape the becomes weaker over time. Eventually, you can Social Justice types and ways they are oppressed and to become sick with a life-threatening infection, Ensuring that all groups in society have what extent. You may also see “oppression” at which point you are said to have AIDS. With equitable rights and access to services. Social used alongside “anti” (e.g. anti-oppression, or proper treatment with anti-HIV drugs, most justice movements often attempt to address anti-oppressive). This term is used frequently people with HIV can avoid getting AIDS and inequality in society on the basis of social in activist work and the non-profit or social stay healthy for a long time. identities such as social class, gender, sexual service sector. The term points to a framework orientation, race or ethnicity. or a way of thinking which actively counters Pandemic oppression, as described above. When an epidemic spreads throughout the world (e.g., the global HIV/AIDS pandemic). 9
  10. 10. As I did more presentations, I was shocked to learn that many of my peers were unaware of the impact of HIV/AIDS in Canada. For example, Aboriginal people, who compose 3.8% of Canada’s population, constitute roughly 7.5% LE T’S TALK of the country’s HIV cases. Aboriginal people also face severe discrimination and are more likely to be incarcerated or homeless. Notably, by Ciann Wilson similar patterns between social exclusion and HIV exist for marginalized groups in other countries.4 I wanted to illustrate the seriousness of this problem. “Alright folks, this is Jane,” I said as I drew a stick figure woman on the white board. “Jane Hi, my name is Ciann is homeless. What sort of problems is she Wilson and I am an faced with?” A young man in the back of the classroom who had remained silent for much undergraduate student at of the presentation replied: “food, clothing, the University of Toronto. shelter… the basics.” I asked the young man where safe sex would be on his list. The boy’s eyes opened in amazement as he digested the Today I will be doing a presentation information. “She wouldn’t be concerned with on sexual health and HIV/AIDS. things like that... there are more important things to think about, like getting a job” he said. “Correct, now what if I told you that I stared at the students in front of me. I had Over 50% of grade nine students in Canada Jane was a part of the working poor or lost track of the number of presentations I had incorrectly think there is a cure for HIV/AIDS.3 that she was black, Aboriginal, or Hispanic? given, any nervousness was now just a figment Clearly, there is a disjunction between the What additional challenges do these factors of my imagination. I stood in front of other facts about HIV/AIDS and what young people present for her? What if I told you that these youth once again. We were strangers to each know. overbearing concerns drove Jane to engage in other and yet connected by our vulnerability unprotected sex, from which she contracted to HIV & AIDS. At the age of 22, learning about the impact HIV? To fully grasp the role of the SDOH, one of this disease on young people like me “Now, if you are 13 to 24 years old, raise your changed my life narrative, its direction and hands.” I raised my own hand in sequence my view of the world. It began a year ago, with every person in the small, cluttered class when I had the fortune of taking a university room. “Ladies and gentlemen, we a.k.a. ‘youth’ course on HIV/AIDS taught by an inspirational are amongst the highest risk groups for HIV/ instructor who instilled in me his passion for AIDS in the world. In fact, there are over 10 HIV activism. When I learned that under- and million youth living with HIV/AIDS world- mis-information were parts of the reason this wide and roughly 6,000 youth are infected disease affects youth, I took it upon myself to per day.”1 There was disquiet among the class provide my peers with the information I was as students gasped, whispered and looked privileged to receive as a university student. at each other in shock of what I had just told I worked for The City of Toronto’s Parks, them. The first and most difficult stage of my Forestry and Recreation Department and presentation was accomplished: I had the volunteered in high school classrooms for the students’ attention and hopefully their trust. Toronto District School Board, so accessing youth was easy. I began my advocacy by Roughly 40 million people have been diagnosed putting together a power point presentation and with HIV/AIDS world-wide. In Canada, there organizing games and activities that made the are 60,000 people living with HIV; 32,037 information I sought to disseminate more reside in Ontario and 16,458 live in Toronto.2 engaging for my audience. Queer Asian Youth Zine Approximately one quarter of people living Summer 2005 with HIV in Canada are unaware that they have HIV. 10
  11. 11. things like that... there are more important must be sensitive and non-judgmental of the The “Abstinence First” policies, which my “HIV/AIDS does we were no more. In no that misconceptions I once shared with are peers. Strangersnot discriminate. There isthe things to think about, which an a job” he circumstances throughlike getting individual peers did not materialize from thin schools, ‘they.’ We it all taken me to deliver my implemented in some North Americanair. They short hourare hadvulnerable to this disease. said. “Correct, contracts HIV.” now what if I told you that were informed by the media. Thirty-three That being said, HIV/AIDS can be defeated. are ineffective in fighting this epidemic because presentation, we had initiated a dialogue that Jane was a part of the working poor or percent of youth receive sexually saturated We long to be the we are sexual beings in a their sexual health was needoverdue. active agents of change that she was determinants also function These social black, Aboriginal, or Hispanic? information from the mask the reality of society. These imagesmedia which focuses we want to see in the world. Rather than What global level, which do these when on a additional challenges is evidentfactors a lot of attention on AIDS in Africa. America the HIV/AIDS epidemic in North 7 Images discriminate or stigmatize others, we need to present for the What if told you that these consideringher? fact thatI Africa, the poorest that focus on African AIDS mask the and unite, get active and get involved.” I concluded, thereby creating a false sense of security fact 1. Flicker, Sarah. University of Toronto lecture, January overbearing concerns houses one tenth of the continent in the world,drove Jane to engage in that in North America, home to producing detachment from the epidemic.8 In1.4 million reciting my personal mantra. I looked at the 17, 2008. unprotected sex, from yet, she contracted world’s population andwhichroughly 70% of persons living these images don’t relay diverse faces of my peers. Strangers we social othering, with HIV in 2006, youth 2. Ontario Advisory Committee on HIV/AIDS were HIV? To fully grasp the role fact, SDOH, the the global HIV infections. Inof the 95% of one engage in unprotected sex, which youth the HIV/AIDS information Canadian greatly no(OACHA). the short hour it hadStrategyme to more. In “A Proposed HIV/AIDS taken for must be sensitive and 2005 occurred of the daily HIV infections in non-judgmental in low puts them at risk desperately need.for transmission of HIV and deliver my presentation, we had initiated a Ontario to 2008.” circumstances through which an a disease or middle income countries. HIV is individual other STIs. These images mask the reality 3. Germaise, David. “National School Survey Reveals dialogue that was long overdue. contracts HIV.” of inequality, upon which stigma operates. of the HIV/AIDS HIV prevention strategies, a When discussing epidemic in North America Gaps in Knowledge of HIV/AIDS” Canadian HIV/ Stigma is defined as any physical attribute or thereby creating a false sense of security and “one size fits all” model does not work because AIDS Policy and Law review, 8(3), 32-33. 2003 These social determinants an function characteristic that demarcatesalso individual detachment from the same. Different youth 1. Flicker, youth are not all the epidemic.8 In producing 4. Ibid. Sarah. University of Toronto lecture, January on a global level, the status evident what as socially inferior to which is quo.5 Butwhen social othering, these images make relay face different circumstances that don’t them 5. Travers, Robb. University of Toronto lecture, 17, 2008. considering have to that Africa, the poorest does stigma the factdo with HIV/AIDS? the HIV/AIDS information Canadian youth vulnerable to HIV. They need information 2. September 2007 Committee on HIV/AIDS Ontario Advisory continent in the world, houses one tenth of the desperately need. from a source they can trust and with whom 6. Ibid. (OACHA). “A Proposed HIV/AIDS Strategy for world’s population and yet, roughly causes Stigma justifies social ‘othering’ which70% of they can identify. Furthermore, HIV/AIDS 7. Flicker, Sarah. “HIV and Youth: Contemporary Ontario to 2008.” the global to separate themselves from those individualsHIV infections. In fact, 95% of the When discussing prevention programs must information and HIV prevention strategies, a 3. Issues.” January 17, 2008. School Survey Reveals Germaise, David. “National daily HIV infections in 2005 occurred in low they perceive to be “at risk” for HIV. However, “one size fits all” model does not the because also be innovative in response toworkchanging 8. Travers, Knowledge of HIV/AIDS” Canadian HIV/ Gaps in Robb. Lectures for SOC309Y1 course. or middle income countries. risk. is a disease as sexual beings, we are all at HIV 6 One young youth are not all the by youth. These youth trends and issues faced same. Differentfactors AIDS Policy and Law review, 8(3), U of T. LM September 2007 – February 2008.32-33. 2003 of inequality, responded: stigma operates. woman boldly upon which “Honestly, before face different by all the projects make them are consideredcircumstances thatdiscussed in 4. 161 Ibid. Stigma is defined only ever thought of African this presentation Ias any physical attribute or vulnerable to HIV. like need information this manual. ProjectsThey the “Sense Project, 5. Travers, Robb. University of Toronto lecture, characteristic that demarcates an individual people when I thought of HIV/AIDS.” Another from source drag shows and cabaret into whicha infuses they can trust and with whom September 2007 as socially inferior to people, I quo.5 But what student shouted “gaythe status thought of gay they can identify. Furthermore, HIV/AIDS their outreach, or YouthCO, which integrates 6. Ibid. does stigma have to do with HIV/AIDS? people.” I had come to expect these responses information and and harm programs must digital storytellingprevention reduction are all 7. Flicker, Sarah. “HIV and Youth: Contemporary by my third presentation. In fact, prior to my also be innovative in response to the changing examples of innovative programming. From Issues.” January 17, 2008. Stigma justifies social ‘othering’ which causes own exposure to HIV/AIDS information, I too trends art and photography to fashion and visual and issues faced by youth. These factors 8. Travers, Robb. Lectures for SOC309Y1 course. individuals to views. had misconceptions shared these separate Ithemselves from those are considered these projects were produced seminars, all ofby all the projects discussed in September 2007 – February 2008. U of T. LM they perceive to HIV/AIDS, why they had it, about who had be “at risk” for HIV. However, this manual. Projects like the and a flexible through creativity, invention, “Sense Project, 161 as sexual beings, we person with 6 One AIDS and more-so, what aare all at risk.HIV oryoung which infuses drag shows strive to into openness to change. Theyand cabaretmake woman boldly responded: “Honestly, before looked like. ‘They’ were primarily African, their outreach, how youth which integrates a difference in or YouthCO, understand HIV/ this presentation under-nourishment, and skeletal due toI only ever thought of African digital storytelling a more socially acceptable AIDS, by making it and harm reduction are all people when I thought of HIV/AIDS.” Another helpless. “This, my friends, is social othering. examples of innovative programming. From and relevant topic to discuss. The projects aim student shouted “gay people, I thought of gay When we say ‘they’ have HIV/AIDS, who ever visual art the photography to fashion and to diminishand stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS people.” I had to you, the connotation is ‘they’ ‘they’ may be come to expect these responses seminars, youth in projects were produced and to aidall of theseempowering themselves by not me. presentation. In fact, prior to my aremy third In doing this, we detach ourselves through creativity, invention, and a youth- by talking about the virus through flexible own the epidemic. However, what makes from exposure to HIV/AIDS information, I too openness to change. They strive to make a friendly mediums and contexts. In such an shared these views. I had misconceptions us immune from contracting HIV?” A young difference in how youth understand HIV/AIDS, open, honest and flexible atmosphere that about the had of the classroom answered: man inwho back HIV/AIDS, why they had it, by making it a more be destroyed and misconceptions can socially acceptable and more-so, what a person with HIV or AIDS “Nothing. HIV/AIDS does not discriminate.” and relevant topic to discuss. The understanding can be established. Ciann is a fourth year looked like. ‘They’ were primarily African, projects aim to diminish the undergraduate student at the University skeletal due to under-nourishment, my The misconceptions I once shared with and stigma surrounding HIV/ “HIV/AIDS does not of Toronto where her prorams of study include helpless. not materialize from thin air. They peers did“This, my friends, is social othering. AIDS and to aid youth in discriminate. There is no Philosophy, Human Biology, and Sociology. Ciann hopes to When we say ‘they’ the HIV/AIDS, who ever were informed by have media. Thirty-three empowering ‘they.’ We are allthemselves vulnerable pursue further studies in the Health Sciences and Education where she can continue her HIV/AIDS advocacy and branch ‘they’ may youth receive their sexual ‘they’ percent of be to you, the connotation ishealth by talking about the virus to this disease. That being off into research. Raised in the racially diverse, inner-city are not me. from the media which focuses information In doing this, we detach ourselves through said, HIV/AIDS can be youth-friendly community of Parkdale, Ciann’s advocacy is also with low from the epidemic. However, what makes a lot of attention on AIDS in Africa.7 Images mediums and contexts. defeated. We need to be the income youth as she currently mentors youth at a Jane us immune from contracting mask the fact that focus on African AIDS HIV?” A young In such an open, honest active agents of change we and Finch community centre. Ciann currently lives with her family in Brampton, Ontario. man that in the back of the classroom 1.4 million North America, home to answered: and to see the world. Rather want flexiblein atmosphere that “Nothing. HIV/AIDS does not discriminate.” persons living with HIV in 2006, youth engage misconceptions can be destroyed than discriminate or stigmatize in unprotected sex, which greatly puts them and understanding can be established. others, we need to unite, get active and get at risk for transmission of HIV and other involved.” I concluded, reciting my personal STIs. These images don’t address the fact mantra. I looked at the diverse faces of my 11
  12. 12. HIV AIDS EDUCATION PREVENTION RISK REDUCTION MODEL (HEP) Networks/ Outreach Inaccessible Linkages & Services Partnerships Building Lack of Education— HIV/AIDS Cultural & Literacy Levels Knowledge Religious Language Issues Ability Fear of HIV/AIDS Biological Testing Factors Development of Culturally Presence Drug Use of STIs/ Research Appropriate You? STDs Resource Poverty Unprotected Migration & Sex with an Power Immigration Infected Imbalance in Person Relationships Parental Transmission Stigma & Individual Factors Gender HIV/AIDS Discrimination Issues Educational Training & Skills Workshops, Development— Discussion Service Providers, Global/Societal Factors & Issues Groups & Peers & One-on-One Volunteers Sessions Strategies: How to deal with Individual & Societal Factors This helpful diagram, produced by Wangari Tharao, from Women’s Health in Women’s Hands, is useful for visualizing the different factors which impact an individual’s vulnerability to HIV. All of these factors may be experienced by youth. 12
  13. 13. Going Viral with Prise Positive But how do we put theory into action? The following pages map out innovative projects that deal with the structural determinants of HIV risk. For a teaser, check out the work of Prise Positive, a video-based project in Quebec, taking YouTube by storm. The following section, written by Kim Simard, project coordinator, Prise Positive, explores an innovative online video art project and what video means to her. Check it out! Video is one of the most powerful a means of personal creative tools I know. It can motivate, expression. This change, engage and inspire both the project gives youth spectator and the maker. It is an intuitive a chance to express medium that can capture reality, making themselves in a way that is fun and it easy to represent our lives and creative. dreams. As we know, videos used in mainstream media often misrepresent Youth living with HIV experience life the realities and lives of people living differently than HIV positive adults. with HIV. For this reason, it is important Those born with HIV, or who are for those living with HIV to take this tool diagnosed at a young age have a different and use it as a means of communication understanding of what role HIV plays in that will work towards dissolving the their lives. Coming to understand your myths and stigma perpetuated in the sexuality, finding a job, going to school general public. Can this change the way and parental pressure implies different mainstream media portrays HIV/AIDS? challenges for those age 16-30. Prise Probably not, but it can certainly give Positive aims to focus on some of those communities another point of reference. challenges and make them heard. This is a bilingual project; participants are Prise Positive is a program that engages both Francophone and Anglophone. youth living with HIV. The youth develop video projects using animation, narrative, This project is a partnership between documentary and video-art styles to the CATIE, Fréquence VIH and JASE. communicate with youth who are not Films will be posted starting this living with HIV of the issues HIV positive autumn on the CATIE youth website, youth face. As of fall 2009, we will have www.livepositive.ca, at Fréquence about 6-8 videos produced and uploaded VIH, www.frequencevih.ca, and on our to the web. Through the web we hope to YouTube site accompanied by forums inspire an online dialogue between HIV and blogs to get people’s impressions positive and negative youth concerning comments and questions about the some of the issues raised in the videos. videos. There will also be presentations We also hope that the participants will of the videos by participants in use the skills acquired through our Montreal and Toronto. Check the workshops to continue making video as websites cited above for updates about the viewing and distribution of the videos. 13
  14. 14. Photo: Alex Felipe FASHION CHANGE WITH YOUTHCARE Interview with Nadia Alam Nadia was one of the first women I interviewed for this manual. Nadia’s passion for HIV/AIDS activism was evident from the beginning of our conversation as she spoke about her desire to mix fashion with activism. What Nadia doesn’t tell you in this interview is that she was responsible for designing the T-shirts worn by participants in the fashion show, and has created an award-winning short film on her journey as a Muslim woman. Talk about wearing your heart (and politics) on your sleeve! Nadia has stuck with the project through two years of e-mails, phone chats and digital requests. She may not have known what she was getting into at the beginning, but having her featured in the manual was certainly worth it on our end! 14
  15. 15. Fashioning Change: A Youth-Inspired Fashion Show As part of the presentation at the International AIDS Conference in Toronto, YouthCARE organized and hosted a fashion show where youth had the chance to model their own designs, reflecting the fight against HIV/AIDS. During the Global Village festival, this fashion show encouraged Canadian youth participants to express their views and feelings about the AIDS pandemic in a creative fashion. An international collection of organizations displayed unique and original creations, ranging from "everyday practical" to "fashionably absurd," that reflect and inspire the fight against HIV/AIDS. Hosted by former MuchMusic celebrity Jennifer Hollett. Photo: Alex Felipe Interview name: Nadia Alam, Volunteer age: 18 location: Toronto project/ Fashioning Change, organization: YouthCARE thought it was my duty to do something Photo: Alex Felipe about it. This was a perfect place to begin! Following that, at my high school, Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute, everyone was called to go down to an assembly. This is where I met Jennifer Hollett and was introduced to her incredible journey through East Africa. Her message was about educating youth and letting them know that they could do something to help! By meeting Jennifer, I got a chance to personally let her know that I was really interested in the project, and that I would definitely do it. How did you get started? What led you Also, during this time, I received an e-mail In August of 2006 a group of girls and I to pursue HIV/AIDS activism? from Verve Girl Magazine’s mailing list got together and came up with an idea for that there was a fundraising event hosted Fashioning Change: A Youth Inspired Fashion At age 17 I had an interest in HIV/AIDS by YouthCARE’s Jennifer Hollett (former Show, that used a theme of Superheroes while doing a project for a World Issues MuchMusic VJ) that was for anyone who to Save People from HIV and AIDS. We class. This was the first moment in which had something to say about the HIV/ created the message “We can all be I fully understood that the current HIV/ AIDS pandemic. The event planned to heroes. Aid to end AIDS.” I designed three AIDS situation is all around the world, as use fashion to convey a message. This T-shirts inspired by three superheroes, opposed to just areas of Africa that are attracted my attention as I just recently Spider(wo)man, Bat(wo)man, and portrayed by the media. learned about the HIV epidemic and Super(wo)man. 15
  16. 16. The shirts were showcased by the group Why do you do this work? Sudan. It’s surprising how a simple visual of us girls as part of the AIDS Conference aid can attract attention and get people to 2006, at Yonge and Dundas Square and I do this work because, more than think about a topic and be curious enough the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. anything, I want to educate people about to find out what it’s about. something that’s not only happening in This was not the end for me. I felt so Eastern Africa, but right here in Canada. Do you have any suggestions or tips for motivated that I continued by volunteering This issue is occurring right at home and youth who are interested in pursuing my time over the summer with Fashion Cares, some people don’t even know it! HIV/AIDS arts activism models? a project of AIDS Committee of Toronto. I’m also working on trying to create a Why Art? Research, ask, get involved, and generate YouthCARE group at my campus, Ryerson discussion. The more it’s talked about, University. I personally am a visual learner. I’ve the more you will learn and teach others. always felt motivated by crafts, the A great website for staying informed is What about your project got you fired up? fashion industry, and visual art. I feel that www.care.ca. if you can grab someone’s attention with Mostly, I got fired up due to the fashion “THAT’S HOT” printed on your T-shirt, Anything else? aspect of it. I couldn’t believe that my you can grab someone’s attention with passion for AIDS activism and my passion a message about HIV or AIDS on your The experience I had with Fashioning Change for creating fashion were coming together T-shirt. was a pivotal moment in my life when for a great youth-led project. I realized, amongst other things, that Ryan Gosling attracted attention with his educating and learning about HIV/AIDS “Save Darfur” T-shirts when no one knew is something I was meant to do. I also about the genocide situation in Darfur, learned to be more aware of world issues and now watch BBC everyday! NAYANI THIYAGARAJAH Alex Felipe WANT TO GET INVOLVED BUT DON’T KNOW WHERE TO START? Photo: Nadia’s top 5 1 FIND YOUR PASSION. What do you love to do? Gift wrapping, making bracelets, creating short films? Use your interests as a way to spread the word about HIV/AIDS. 2 VOLUNTEER LIKE MAD. Find a local organization or AIDS Service Organization (ASO) to get involved. 3 DO SOME RESEARCH. It’s as simple as searching on Google! Ask around for trusted sources to double check information or statistics. 4 START A GROUP IN YOUR SCHOOL, UNIVERSITY, COLLEGE OR COMMUNITY. 5 DONATE. Donate if you are able. If not, you can start drives in your community or HIV/AIDS groups. 16
  17. 17. Photo: Jonathan Ponce Glossary “AID TO END AIDS” Aid in the form of money or supplies is often given from governments and non- governmental organizations to countries most affected by HIV/AIDS. While such aid is necessary and can be helpful in both the prevention and treatment in HIV/AIDS, this is not always the case. For example, aid can NADIA ALAM often be tied to certain ideologies and those who accept aid can be required to use it for purposes dictated to them by the donor or be forced to change policies to gain access Photo: Alex Felipe Glossary to the aid. Photo: Alex Felipe Bio Nadia Alam is 18 years old. Nadia attends Ryerson University for Hospitality and Tourism Management. She lives in East York, Ontario where she works at a community centre part-time as a Special Events and Volunteer Recruitment Coordinator. Her interests include film, photography, writing, sewing, and fashion! FOR MORE INFO ON CARE, PLEASE VISIT: www.care.ca Photos provided by Alex Felipe. For more information, please contact www.alexfelipe.com. Bio photo taken by Jonathan Ponce, Kapisanan Philippine Centre. 17
  18. 18. Photo: Patrick Struys 18
  19. 19. LOVE, featuring Jay and Romeo BUTTON-MAKING WITH sprOUT/Compass Interview with Romeo and Jay, Griffin Centre I first met Jay and Romeo at a sexual and reproductive health conference where they were facilitating a rockin’ theatre-based workshop on disability and sexuality. I had the pleasure of seeing them work again when they facilitated a Resistance Button-Making workshop on HIV/AIDS stigma and discrimination for the Gendering Adolescent AIDS Prevention project. Their perseverance and commitment continues to amaze me. Jay and Romeo are two youth co-facilitators for sprOUT, a Griffin Centre project. They also attend Compass, a weekly group founded by Jay. 19
  20. 20. Photo: Patrick Struys CREATIVITY, featuring Rainbow Organization and Project Descriptions Griffin Centre is a Toronto-based non-profit in groups, community outreach, art & skills sprOUT is all about connecting LGBTQ charitable mental health agency providing exchange, counselling, and consultation. We people labelled with intellectual disabilities flexible and accessible services to youth, offer safe spaces that reflect the diversity across Ontario. We hold fun events such adults and their families. Our mission is to of our queer and trans communities. For as dances, BBQs, movie nights, and parties. promote positive change for vulnerable youth more information about Griffin Centre’s Our workshops on sexual health, self and adults with mental health challenges ReachOUT program please contact Zack advocacy and how to create LGBTQ positive and/or developmental disabilities and their Marshall, Program Supervisor, at 416.222.1153 spaces are co-facilitated by LGBTQ people families. We are dedicated to delivering ext 152 or via e-mail at reachout@ labelled with intellectual disabilities. We innovative services and developing creative griffin-centre.org. You can also visit us at also offer consultation to individuals, their partnerships that enhance lives and www.griffin-centre.org/reachout. families and support workers. sprOUT is communities. For more information about funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Griffin Centre please check out our website Compass is a weekly group for youth under www.trilliumfoundation.org. at www.griffin-centre.org. 25 labelled with intellectual disabilities to explore sexual and/or gender identities— For more information about Compass or ReachOUT is a creative, inclusive and including youth who identify as LGBTQ. The Griffin Centre’s sprOUT project please accessible program for lesbian, gay, bisexual, group includes social activities, discussion, contact Tess Vo, Project Co-ordinator, at trans, and queer youth and adults in the movies, art making, outings, interactive 416.222.1153 ext 171 or via e-mail at Greater Toronto Area. Activities include drop- workshops, and sexual health information. compass@griffin-centre.org. 20
  21. 21. POWER, featuring Romeo Photo: Patrick Struys OUR COMPASS Griffin Centre’s sprOUT project is currently themes were represented in a series of self- Funded by: working in collaboration with Lesbian, Gay, portraits that aim to celebrate and express Ministry of Children and Youth Services, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning the uniqueness of each youth involved in the Children and Youth Mental Health Fund: (LGBTQ) youth labelled with intellectual project. Year 4-Innovations Fund disabilities to create a short documentary entitled Our Compass. Our Compass Our Compass The Ontario Trillium Foundation explores the stories of eight LGBTQ Director and Producer: Tess Vo youth who are told they have intellectual To learn more about Our Compass please disabilities, and their creative efforts to Assistant Director: Ruby Rowan contact Tess Vo at compass@griffin-centre.org come together as a rainbow family to resist or 416.222.1153 ext 171. labelling and express hope. Writers: Ryan Firestone, C.J. Fung, Rainbow Hunt, Wayne Koltchigin, Josh Palmer, Romeo As part of the documentary each youth Pierre, Ruby Rowan, Jay Siao, Tyson Purdy was supported in the process of selecting Smith and Tess Vo a specific theme connected to their sexual and gender identity/expression. These Portrait Photographer: Patrick Struys 21

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