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ACNBA Pride

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

Holding the Space

November 30th, 2016 at 7:56 am

Holding the Space

Aaron Brown

 

Blogging is relatively new to me. I’ve tried to start my own several times with little success, and while I am required to once a month for work, it’s something I’ve yet to find a real passion for. That’s likely why, when I expressed interest in writing for this blog, I waited until the last possible moment to submit anything.

 

That, and writing specifically within an LGBTQA perspective feels foreign to me. I spent a lot of time trying to separate my sexuality from my identity because I simply don’t want to be marginalized. No one does. But I can’t, and no one can. And writing from an LGBTQA perspective isn’t foreign to me because everything I say, everything I write, everything I do—it’s all informed in some form by who I am, and being a gay man is a big part of that.

 

There was also a lot of fear that I am somehow going to misrepresent the community as a whole; while I told myself that no one could possibly see my perspective as being representative of all gay men, I do recognize that some folks can and will do so. I mean, every time someone who identifies as a feminist says something even remotely un-feminist, they’re pounced on and folks will denounce feminism entirely as a result of one person’s one statement. It’s ludicrous, but it happens. So what if I mess it all up?

 

Well, that’s the risk that we marginalized folks need to take (or so I believe). So often, our voices aren’t heard. We are routinely silenced and our experiences are invalidated. Look at Pride—there is still such a large push back and a chorus of folks whining about how there’s no “straight Pride.” …Except straight folks don’t need Pride because they’re not routinely told their identity as a heterosexual person makes them less worthy or less human.

 

As such, whenever we can, I feel like we need to speak up—to add our voices to the room and take a seat at the table regardless of whether it was offered to us. In coordinating this blog, the ACNBA is holding the space for our voices to be heard and is offering us a seat at the table. Maybe the statements I make in these blog posts won’t reflect all gay men or others in the LGBTQA community, but when we are routinely denied these opportunities, I can’t pass this one up.

 

So, here’s to the beginning of a new blogging adventure. I hope you enjoy going along for the ride with me, and I hope together we can engage in some neat conversations about the LGBTQA experience.

Thanksgiving with Ghosts and Goblins and Gays!

October 11th, 2016 at 9:05 am

“The busy and exciting month of October has finally come back around. The leaves are changing, school is back in full swing and there’s literally nowhere to hide from the obnoxiously delicious scent of pumpkin spice.

For most of us this means Halloween is just around the corner. People of all ages who were raised with the spooky tradition rooted in Catholicism are getting ready to enjoy themselves at the end of the month. Whether you fancy yourself an old-fashioned sugar coma or you’re dying to show off the fabulous costume you’ve been putting together from Value Village since last Halloween ended – there’s something for everyone on the Day of the Dead.

… But in October, for a few folks, there’s a different form of tradition to take part in. This tradition has the potential to be even more terrifyingthan ghouls and masked serial killers. And no, I’m not talking about another Thanksgiving across the table from your least favourite aunt in-law on the planet. Not everyone celebrates it – in fact, some might not consider it a celebration at all. For those who do take part though; it can be a truly rewarding and empowering experience. The day in particular that I’m referring to, of course,  would be: National Coming Out Day.

For those unaware: National Coming Out Day, or NCOD for short, was founded on October 11th, 1988. Homosexual Psychologist Robert Eichberg, and an openly lesbian political leader named Jean O’Leary were the masterminds behind it all. The date was selected to commemorate the anniversary of the 1987 National March on Washington for Gay and Lesbian Rights. The basis of this occasion was a belief that homophobia essentially thrives in silence – so in order to fight back against oppression, supporters are called upon to voluntary self-disclose their sexual orientation and/or gender. As Eichberg once said, “most people think they don’t know anyone gay or lesbian, and in fact everybody does. It is imperative that we come out and let people know who we are and disabuse them of their fears and stereotypes.”

NCOD has been celebrated across North America ever since, and has inspired thousands of people to come out of the closet along with their cashmere scarves every fall. It’s said that some countries in the United Kingdom and even Switzerland have taken part. Celebrities have also been observed emerging during this time through the years.

Real talk for a minute though, okay? Amidst all the fun we’ll all be having this October – somewhere out there – someone might be struggling with their sexual orientation or identity. Please remember it’s important to take it seriously if a family member, friend, or even a complete stranger should choose to self-disclose to you. Self-disclosing in any context can take a lot of courage! So if your nephew decides to wear his sister’s tiara to the dinner table this Thanksgiving: raise a glass to him and show him you care by accepting the choice that he’s made and demonstrate some good old validation! Support the abolishment of oppression! You go, gays! (And lesbians, and transgendered, and transsexual, and every other gender/sexually fluid person out there!) This one is for you!”

Tanner Brazier

Keeping up with Kat is moving over….

October 11th, 2016 at 8:27 am

Keeping up with Kat will be moving over to make room for ACNBA Pride’s new blog.  ACNBA Pride is an online presence that provides a safe, informative and supportive space for LGBTQ and allies in Northeastern Ontario.  Find us on facebook and on our blog.

ACNBA Pride is actively looking for volunteer bloggers to provide content for our blog site and our facebook page. Please contact Kathleen at jodouink@gmail.com for more information.

This month our first submission is from Tanner Brazier former student and now volunteer blogger with ACNBA.

 

 

March 8th, 2016 at 8:11 am

A Message from the Women and HIV/AIDS Initiative (WHAI) for International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day – March 8th, 2016

International Women’s Week – March 6th – March 12th, 2016

Since 1911, the global community has celebrated International Women’s Day (IWD). March 8th marks a day where we collectively commemorate the economic, political, and social achievements of women. IWD also serves as a poignant reminder of the inequities that cis and trans women continue to face. In 2016, the global theme of IWD is a Pledge for Parity which highlights the need for purposeful action that will help achieve gender parity.

This year, the Women and HIV/AIDS Initiative (WHAI) asks that we pause to acknowledge and remember the women we have lost to HIV-related causes, the approximately 8,000 women living with HIV in Ontario, the women who have fought, and continue to fight, for better care, treatment, and supports for their community, and the women living with heightened vulnerability for HIV. As a way of doing this, we ask that you have conversations and bring awareness to the many intersecting challenges that impact these women.

The lives of women living with and at heightened vulnerability for HIV are too often directly impacted by social and economic factors including poverty, violence, and immigration among others, as well as the lasting and continued impact of systemic discrimination rooted in sexism, racism, colonialism, and transphobia. By bringing awareness to these issues, we can reduce stigma, empower communities to take action, and create space for women to make their voices heard. By talking about HIV, we make it easier for others to do the same at every level.

You can participate in this call to action on social media, via blog posts, and through your personal networks. We have created some sample messages which we encourage you to use on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and on any other platform that you use. These messages highlight just some of the issues facing women in the context of HIV. They are reflective of the history of a movement that is far from over. Join us – we are stronger together.

If you have any questions about the WHAI, IWD, or how to get involved, you can contact your local WHAI coordinator at: jodouink@gmail.com

 

Suggested Messaging:

In Ontario, 1 out of every 5 people diagnosed with HIV is a woman (2014) #IWD2016

HIV is not a crime. Criminalization hurts women’s health #IWD2016

We pledge to centre the voices of positive women in our work #IWD2016

Trans women in Ontario are often at heightened vulnerability to HIV. Learn more here: http://bit.ly/1p2XIAP #IWD2016

HIV service providers need to recognize and respond to the needs of survivors of domestic violence #IWD2016

Women aged 30-34 had the highest proportion of new HIV diagnoses (21%) among women in Ont. (2014) #IWD2016 #HIVCan

Women living with HIV have reported that HIV-related stigma is a barrier to accessing medical care and support services. #IWD2016

Let’s ensure continued training for service providers on sexual and reproductive health, rights & options of positive women #IWD2016 #HIVCan