– AIDS Committee of North Bay & Area - To assist and support all persons infected or affected by HIV/AIDS and/or Hepatitis C and to limit the spread of the viruses through eduction, awareness and outreach strategies.


Why feel like a minority when you could be number one?

March 2nd, 2017 at 11:43 am

I’ve found over the years that it was sometimes hard to fit in.  I was raised up north, but I wasn’t into hunting or fishing, and team sports like hockey weren’t my best fit past times either.  I had a lot of friends come and go, but being a top student, crossdresser, and still competitive, I really tried to bloom myself instead of fitting in or crowd following.

In our society, we’ve grown so much towards understanding the words, numbers, and language of how we “can” know each other, but really there still remains the challenge of “being” a singularly great person as well.

The reality of knowing that you are in a minority group, is different from thinking the best of your own self, the one individual that can access so much more than titles.  One example is that I can say I fit into the minority of trans-gendered people, a very small number of us in most communities, or I can say I’m a pool player, or I can say I’ve volunteered, or a consumer of the mental health ministry, but really, what do I have to say “for myself”?

So can we draw the reasoning and self-confidence to say more of our selves and sound like less of a label, and more as a free thinking individual?   I guess it starts with something to say.  Without a message from within, than maybe a fitting-in label would work for you, however, in my times I’ve tried to express hope and freedom, individuality.

To have hope is really the feeling that the future is worthwhile, and when one plans a future for themselves, then they stay active, and the feeling of hope is real on the way to the accomplishment.

On the topic of freedom, one has to really be able to back living free.  That might mean being a character instead of a number or desk title.  Again this reflects back to being an individual with talents, or compassion, or as simple as a good natured personality, and these are characteristics we can grow ourselves, out from under the label crusade.  Sure, we can answer surveys and be into the demographics game, but day to day and face to face is still the realistic way we interact.  Living as an example to others without lining up under a tradition, we can really be free in our minds and hearts, and this is where freedom comes home to the ground level.  More than the definition, more than a great income, but in our minds, and proving it day to day to others, that freedom comes first.  This is strength, and comes from the heart.  With both planning and achieving, which provides hope, and freedom of expression towards freedom itself, we can put the categories to the test, and really be a pride to our neighbourhoods.  Being strong from within and nurturing ones character, good nature and good health, is the one ground root of our face to face, day to day, selves.  The planning of projects that may help ourselves and others, underscore the feeling of hope, and with both, we can stand out as an individual with more than labeling and numbering.   This is every ones freedom, to plan, hope and achieve.  At least mine anyways!!

Thanx for reading,   Shay Milroy Ducharme

I can catch a dick whenever I want.

February 27th, 2017 at 10:15 am

“We often see (and are hopefully aware of and actively trying to counter) how society has this sort of dualistic, impossible view of women—the one where women are expected to be virginal (or else they’re “sluts”), yet sexual objects with infinite sexual prowess for our desire and wet dreams; anything in between is shameful or inadequate. I could dig into all my opinions and views on this topic (as I have many), but the reason I bring up this societal issue is because of an almost antithetical ideology I’ve found in the gay community.

I remember the first man I fell for, and how he said I was “too new” and he couldn’t be my first. That happened the first time I fell in love with a man, too. When I was looking to explore my sexuality and date, I was repeatedly shut down and turned away because I had no experience with guys. Sort of like when you’re applying for a job and you’re told you have to have so many years of experience, yet you can’t have any years of experience because no one will give you any experience. Like, what the hell, guys. It seems if you’re a virgin in the gay community, you are not to be touched.

Conversely, and what really bothers me, is the hookup shaming that exists within the gay community. While it seems one shouldn’t be a virgin, a gay man who engages in sex with multiple partners is awful and to be avoided. Not always, but I see the shaming more and more it seems, as pictured:


There are already a lot of problems to be had with hookup shaming, but I find it particularly offensive in the gay community. And I think the reason for that is because the sex lives of gay men have already been ostracized by society (and while it’s changing, it’s still taboo in many social circles).

For some folks, engaging in hookups is the only way to explore their sexuality and identity. I would be willing to say that it wasn’t until I started having sex with men that I really started navigating my identity, and it also wasn’t until I started having sex with men that I really even got to engage with the experiences of other gay men (unless reading stories online).

There’s always the stereotype that men are hyper-promiscuous, and perhaps it holds true. Sex can’t be disassociated from our identity and our culture when the whole reason that we are alienated is based on sex. So while the stereotype exists, I don’t think it should be perceived (or utilized) as a criticism. There shouldn’t be shame.

I feel as though, as gay men, we have to be progressive in our sexual attitudes because our sex is and always will be politicized. So to have folks within our own community—because any gay man, whether he chooses to be or not, is a part of the gay community—shame us for our sex is unacceptable. We can do better, and we have to in order to support those who share our identity.”

Aaron Brown

Shay’s Blog

February 22nd, 2017 at 9:47 am

“In my time as a transgendered woman and mild drug user, I’ve found that the freedom of expression took me some time to get used to, I was a chicken, but it reminded me of why our freedoms have mattered over the years.

It was just last century that women won the rite to schooling, and the vote, and then this century, we’ve had all the language to open the door to sexuality, and so why did it take so long?

The Canadian charter of rights and freedoms is as old as Canada, but we’ve taken a long time towards equal rights across the board.

I’ve found that over the years there has been a lot of stigmatism broken down, from money classes, to status symbol style properties and jobs, to sexual orientation, and even down to the realizations that drug users also need equality too.

ACNBA supports users with healthy supplies, information and facilities for those who use drugs at home, and the users of ACNBA are met with a pool of talent and privacy here, that it can be said to top off the last of the prejudices, aka, at home drug use.

In knocking down prejudices, we can only hope that per individual we each realize the rights we share under the law, and the shared decency of all those we now know about.

Knowing the language of fair schooling, fair voting, fair sexual languages, and of course fair drug and health measures is the essentials of freedom from prejudice.

So before you judge someone who fits into a demographic you weren’t raised in, or don’t fall under, keep in mind there is much more to expanding one’s knowledge than to berating others.

Enriching oneself is essential to a happy life, and that begins with a fair heart, and a mind willing to explore what is on the other side of barriers.  These barriers are of the mind, not in reality, so it’s always recommended to study, accept or actively ask those different from you what their take is on they’re life.  mountains of information is a good start, but to know a transgendered, or an at home drug user, or even to get to know a police officer, or a government official, is to break open the barriers with a hand shake, and some talk, to really get the scoop on why you don’t need to hate people by category, but to accept them on a freedom level, a people level, and or at least to your own level of acceptance.

Remember, the world really is big enough for us all, and to treat others as you would like to be treated is definitely a way to inner peace and wellbeing.  Nobody wants prejudice, but it starts within each of us to square it away.  Good luck and I hope you take the challenge to know more of your neighbours, than their measurements. ”

Shay Ducharme

Welcome our newest Blogger, Shay Ducharme

February 7th, 2017 at 1:14 pm

“As a user and supporter of ACNBA services I’d like to write this letter to express my thanks.

I’ve always relied on ACNBA for their commitment to providing safe and healthy means to my personal, at home, habits. I feel deeply grateful, since I’ve been using the snorting kits and marijuana tubes, condoms and clothing, and have more confidence because of ACNBA.
I feel that because of safe and clean supplies are free and available, that I am not being dirty or disrespectful for my sexual health or drug use. Knowing that information, services and supplies are the point of ACNBA services, my at home habits are not shameful, but acknowledged and my safety realizable.
I go there for snorting kits, information, clothing and snacks, and I feel trust and joy, like a family that cares, instead of judges. Their friendly and confidential volunteers and staff take the shame out of at home habits, and are a treasure to me and my life style.
Thanks again ACBNA,
Shay MalRoy Ducharme”

Impending Doom Is Kind Of Draining

January 30th, 2017 at 9:40 am

January has been so emotionally exhausting. The world already felt like it was falling apart after November 8th, but January? It’s like Trump has drenched the world in gasoline and lit a match.


If you’re reading this and you’re thinking, “That’s not our problem” or “Well, there’s nothing we can do about it” or “Trump is great because he speaks his mind,” please give your head a shake. Then, give it another shake, and if your mind still isn’t seeing things clearly, well, maybe it’s time to do a bit more reading.


The chaos and evil brewing in the States? That exists here—hell, just take a look at Kellie Leitch’s approval of Trump’s ideologies. And let’s not pretend that what happens south of the border exerts no influence over Canada when our countries are literally attached at the hip. The bigotry that we’re laying witness to is present in Canada, even right here in North Bay.


Nothing we can do about it? Donate to Planned Parenthood. Offer shelter for the refugees that will no doubt be fleeing the country. READ. Seriously, just read. A lot and constantly, and practice your media literacy. Learn to see through the crap and along the way, you’ll hear about how you can support human rights in the States and here at home.


If you think Trump is great because he speaks his mind, then please consider what is valuable about what he has to say. Please also reach out to me so I can understand how you can both be interested in a blog about LGBTQ and the discriminatory hate that comes out of his mouth.


Do I sound harsh or angry? Probably, and I sort of hope so. Because if you don’t think what’s happening in the U.S. is life-or-death important, are not interested in finding ways to support everyone being affected, and celebrate or condone Trump’s actions and words, then you are part of a problem. You are part of a culture that says some folks in society are inherently better or more important than others and you enable it to exist, whether by your actions or your inaction.


I have people I considered friends that have vocalized their support for Trump. I do not consider these folks friends anymore. These folks are, through their support for him, telling me that my wellbeing and my worth is unimportant or negligible. His actions will have profound effects on the LGBTQ community (and obviously Mike Pence is a monster that terrifies us too), and we are living in fear now. It’s draining.


If you are here, I have to believe it’s because you want to be an ally to the LGBTQ community. Doing so means listening to what scares the hell out of us and listening to how we need support. It means not only supporting events for our community, but taking a stand for refugees and people of colour and women. You want to be an ally? Stand behind those who have been asked to sit their whole lives. We need it now more than ever. After all, if January has been this draining already, how can we make it through another four years?


Aaron Brown