Archive for January, 2010

SEXUAL ORIENTATION GLOSSARY

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Sexual orientation: Some people say “sexuality” when they mean “sexual orientation,” as in, “What’s your sexuality?” What they may mean is “Who are you attracted to?” and that can be a very complicated question. Generally, the person asking the question expects one of four answers: that you’re straight, gay, lesbian or bisexual. But there are lots of answers, and while some are a little less common, none are wrong.

Straight or Heterosexual: These mean the same thing – a sexual and romantic attraction to people of the “opposite” or different gender from yourself (example: a woman attracted to men). Hetero- is a prefix meaning “other,” “different.” Straight is slang for heterosexual. But gender is much more complex than just “man” vs. “woman.” 

Homosexual or Queer*: Homo- is a prefix meaning “same,” and so homosexual means a sexual and romantic attraction to people of the same gender as yourself (example: a boy who likes boys). The word queer was originally used to insult homosexual people, but now many people call themselves queer as a way of reclaiming the word from its negative meaning. It’s a symbol of pride or power instead of shame. Queer is also used to describe folks who are attracted to a wide variety of people, and not necessarily based on gender. Some people are more comfortable using the word queer (instead of lesbian, for example) because it doesn’t restrict gender.

Lesbian or Dyke*: Historically, “lesbian” meant a woman who is attracted to/has relationships with other women. The word dyke, like queer, used to be an insult but is now used in a positive way, mostly by younger homosexual women. Boudicca (pronounced boo-dyke-ah) was a Celtic queen who organized a revolt against the Roman Empire in 67 A.D. Since Boudicca was a powerful woman, many lesbians feel empowered by the label dyke.

Gay or Fag*: The word gay is sometimes used as a label for all homosexual people, but more specifically it means a man who is attracted to/has relationships with other men. Like queer and dyke, fag was originally an insult but has recently been reclaimed. These days, many younger gay men call themselves fags in a completely positive way.

Bisexual: Being bisexual is a sexual orientation all on its own. It means a sexual and romantic attraction to people of both genders. Sometimes bisexuals use the word queer to describe themselves. Heterosexual and homosexual people often harass bisexual people because they don’t fit into one box or the other. Some people are uncomfortable with the idea that there are other options besides being born straight or gay.

Some myths about bisexuals: 1) They just can’t make up their minds! 2) They’re obsessed with sex and want to have sex with everyone all the time! Neither is true. It’s possible to be attracted to both women and men, maybe at different times in one’s lifetime, or maybe all the time. And it certainly isn’t wrong!

Pansexual: This word means something very similar to bisexual, but without dividing people into two sexes or genders. The prefix bi- means two, but the prefix pan- means all – pansexuals are attracted to/seek out relationships with folks of all genders.

PSST… An important note about saying “queer”, “dyke” or “fag”: these labels are still offensive and hurtful to many people, so it’s REALLY important not to use them unless you’re CERTAIN that the person you’re referring to is okay with you using the label in that particular situation. Many people aren’t cool with these labels at all and others are only comfortable with them in certain situations. It’s simple respect to avoid unwanted or offensive labels.

All this information and more can be found in our awesome Peer Education Manual.

upcoming: formation des pairs aidant!!

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Inscrivez-vous! La date limite est vendredi le 12 février. Contactez Jos à (514) 481-0277 ou healthed@headandhands.ca si vous êtes intéréssez!

Une formation pour les ados au sujet de la sexe et la sexualité.
l'éducation à la sexualité: oui ça m'intéresse!

Debout en clair-obscur: Réflexions sur l’engagement dans la communauté VIH/sida

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Thursday, January 28th, 2010
1455 de Maisonneuve W. H-110 6 PM

Quebec PLWA author Laurette Lévy (Debout en clair-obscur, 2007; Zig Zag, 2002) and HIV/AIDS activist (speaking in French) will address her personal trajectory as a woman and as a writer through the quarter century since her infection, raising issues around the involvement of people living with HIV/AIDS in volunteering and activism.

This event is FREE and open to the general public.

SPOTlight: Bash this, BOZO!

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Bash this, Bozo! is a blog that’s all about supplying important stuff about bashings and homophobia to the community. Of course, this also means that the community needs to participate so as to keep the content fresh. After all, the idea is to have an online space where information on bashings is collected and updated regularly so that these types of incidents don’t occur in silence and secrecy. It’s a way of keeping track of things – of seeing if whether or not certain bashings are the result of random acts or of more organized efforts.

The blog offers a Gallery of Stories, a Gallery of Resistance and a Gallery of Links. In the Gallery of Stories, you will find a variety of stories and comments pertaining to bashings and homophobia. It’s a safe space where creative ways of opposing violence can comfortably co-exist. And, I can attest to the fact that everything that has been posted so far is worth a read. On the other hand, the Gallery of Resistance is a space for everyone to suggest different ways of approaching the bashing/homophobia issue. And, the Gallery of Links is where you will find articles pertaining to bashings.

The bottom line is that this blog is simple and easy to use which means that people can gain access to helpful and empowering info and stories seamlessly. That being said, it’s still relatively new which means that there isn’t a lot of content…yet. Yup, that’s right; blogs like this rely on people being comfortable enough to post their stories/suggestions/links online. And, if you want to stay anonymous, you can always e-mail bashthisbozo@gmail.com and they will post your stuff for you.

So, check out and contribute to Bash this, Bozo!

We’re hiring an event coordinator!

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Check out this job posting for an event coordinator for the Sense Project! This person will be in charge of organizing our annual bar-and-restaurant volleyball tournament fundraiser, SERVE. Usually it’s fun in the sun, last year it was more wet ‘n wild, but it’s always a good time for a good cause. Up for the challenge? Read on….

SERVE Volleyball Tournament Coordinator
Head & Hands, a non-profit community organization dedicated to youth empowerment, is looking for an Event Coordinator for a full time 6 month contract. This person will be the coordinator of a large scale fundraising volleyball tournament to benefit the Sense Project. Skills required: organization, strong communication and networking skills, bilingualism, comfort working autonomously, fundraising and event planning experience. Familiarity with Montreal business sector and Head & Hands’ mission and approach are assets. Candidate MUST qualify for Emploi Quebec subvention salariale. Email CV to info@headandhands.ca or by fax to 514-481-2336 by Monday, February 8th at 5pm (Attn: SERVE Coordinator Hiring Committee). Members of traditionally disadvantaged groups are encouraged to apply.

Responsable du tournoi bénéfice SERVE
À deux mains, un organisme communautaire à but non lucratif dédié à l’autonomie des jeunes, est à la recherche d’un(e) Responsable du tournoi bénéfice SERVE pour un contrat de 6 mois à temps plein. Le poste est chargé d’organiser un tournoi de volley-ball bénéfice au profit du Projet sens. Le candidat idéal aura les compétences suivantes: sens d’organisation, fortes compétences en communication et réseautage, bilinguisme, capacité du travail autonome, expériences en levée de fonds et de l’évènementiel. Des fortes connaissances de la culture d’entreprise montréalaise et de la mission et l’approche de A deux mains sont des atouts. Le candidat DOIT être éligible pour une subvention salariale d’Emploi Québec. Les candidats intéressés doivent envoyer leur CV par courriel à info@headandhands.ca ou par télécopieur au 514-481-2336, à l’attention du Comité de sélection pour le coordinateur du tournoi SERVE. Date limite : lundi le 8 février, 17h. Nous encourageons les candidatures de membres des groupes traditionnellement désavantagés.

FaGAGAty Ass Fridays: Lady Gaga tribute!

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Just dance!

Just dance, ok? Poster by Xavier Tolentino

Hey party animals, it’s time for FaGAGAty Ass Fridays!

More Gaga than you can shake a disco stick at. Faggity Ass Fridays promises to deliver the ultimate Gaga tribute video: real life edition. Bring your wigs, your bodysuits, and well, whatever crazy thing you want to append to your body down to the Playhouse for a night of just dancin’ and bad romancin’.

As always, money raised from this monthly event goes directly to the Sense Project!

Lady Gaga tribute cabaret:
Miss Cookies
Johnny Forever
Daniel Dance
Kitty Van Dyke
nancyboy vicious
Stefan LeDude

Hosted by:
Douche La Douche

Commune and consume with RPM
http://rovingpartymachine.wordpress.com/

DJ Like the Wolf / DJ Fucks / OCDJ

Look at it on Facebook.

Friday, January 29th 2010
10pm-3am
The Playhouse (5656 Avenue du Parc)
$10 suggested donation; all money goes to the Sense Project

What can you do about homophobia?

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Lots of things! Yes, there are loads of ways that you can make a difference. And, while this list is not exhaustive, it’s a good start…

1. Don’t use slurs. Don’t use “queer” or “gay” to mean stupid, lame, etc… And, when other people use slurs, you can call them on it using a variety of comebacks.

For example, here’s a few things you could say if you heard something like “Mac computers are so gay”:

-You know, saying that is insulting to gay people.

-Right, because Mac computers are all attracted to other Mac computers.

-How would you feel if I used a characteristic of yours, like your race, gender or religion as an insult?

-I know a lot of people say that, but I find it offensive. Can you make an effort not to use that phrase?

    2. Don’t gossip. Rumours about who’s dating who and who’s sleeping with who can make people feel even more self-conscious about their dating choices (or their decision not to date).

    3. Watch your language. If you’re with a group of people, don’t assume everyone is straight. Using “partner” instead of girlfriend or boyfriend is a good way to be more inclusive. For example, “everyone’s invited to bring their partner to this party.” If someone asks what partner means, just explain. It’s a good way of introducing the topic of sexual diversity into the conversation.

    4. Speak up! This can mean a lot of things, from myth-busting to starting discussions on homophobia and sexual diversity in or out of class and/or workplace (e.g., create a “Coming Out” bulletin board featuring LGBTTI heroes and role models) to actually challenging someone directly. You’ll have to decide what your level of comfort is, but it can help to think of every homophobic comment as an opportunity to get people thinking and talking.

    Homosexuality IS “natural”!

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    Myth Bustin’ Question I

    Animals do not engage in homosexual behaviour; therefore, homosexuality is not natural.

    FALSE!

    First, what does “natural” even mean? If we’re talking about animals, scientists have known for a long time that many species engage in homosexual sex. Yeah, that’s right; we’re talking about dwarf chimpanzees, dolphins, killer whales, lions and many many others. Some animals form lifelong bonds with another animal of the same sex in the same way that other members of their species form lifelong bonds with a mate of the opposite sex.

    Here are some interesting links pertaining to homosexual sex in the animal kingdom:

    Homosexual Activity Among Animals Stirs Debate (National Geographic)

    Homosexual Behaviour Widespread in Animals According to New Study (Telegraph.co.uk)

    1500 Species Practice Homosexuality (The Medical News)

    Now, if we’re talking about human beings, we need to remember that many things/ behaviours/ beliefs that are considered “natural” today weren’t considered that way not so long ago. For a very long time, the Catholic Church, for instance, tried to prevent people from using contraception because it wasn’t considered “natural” and therefore, wrong.

    So, this means that the “natural” argument simply doesn’t fly!

    January E-BLITZ: On HOMOPHOBIA

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    Hi folks! Hope that the holiday season treated you to some mighty delicious food and fun times. For the next few weeks, the Sense Project’s “e-division” will be tackling the topic of homophobia.

     

    As stated in our lovely Peer Education Manual (which can be downloaded from www.senseproject.org), the literal definition of homophobia is the fear or dislike of people who form the LGBTTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, transgender and intersex) communities. But, like all things “Sense-y”, the literal definition is just too simplistic as it doesn’t take into consideration the many complicated and complex ways homophobic behaviours are experienced and/or dished-out. This is why it’s so important to talk about homophobia so as to debunk the many myths surrounding homosexuality and ultimately, raise awareness about this very important issue.

     

    So, please share your stories, your links, your images and any other artifacts pertaining to the topic of homophobia. We’ll be posting a variety of myth-busting questions and polls to keep you busy in the meantime.

     

    Cheers!