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Join the battle to Resist Stigma

by Drew Rowsome

Everyone has experienced - and has also probably practiced - racism, slut-shaming, classism, misogyny, transphobia, ageism, homophobia, HIV-shaming, etc, etc. Our cultural and societal upbringing has been conducive to bullying and stigmatizing for so long that it is deeply ingrained. Only by recognizing, within ourselves as well as others, that stigma is something that needs to be addressed and dealt with, can these destructive forms of interaction be evolved past.

Gay men are frequently subjected to stigma. The #weareALLclean campaign tackled HIV-stigma with humorous and sexy, sometimes even cheeky, style. There are numerous anti-bullying campaigns, the eternal struggle for LGBT basic rights, attempts to counteract body-shaming, etc, etc. And there is always hope that the next generation will inherit a world where #blacklivesmatter will be unnecessary.  And the next generation is also where much of that work will take place.

Resist Stigma is a national initiative by the Community-­‐Based Research Centre for Gay Men’s Health to engage young gay and bisexual men and health professionals in a co-ordinated effort to combat stigma. They plan to build knowledge, provide educational opportunities, and create messages that resist stigma. And they are forming a Youth Advisory Group.

The Youth Advisory Group will provide information, advice and recommendations from a youth perspective on the Resist Stigma project.  This includes recommendations on research activities, the development of learning opportunities, and the project’s social media strategies. After a call for anti-­‐stigma campaign proposals from youth groups across the country, the Youth Advisory Group will play a pivotal role in selecting the most effective submissions, which will be distributed widely via social media.

If you are between the ages of 18 and 29, identify as LGBT, reside in Canada, and can participate in bi-monthly meeting (via teleconference or web) until March 2017, and are available to travel to Vancouver, BC, on November5-­‐6, 2015, to attend the BC Gay Men’s Health Summit and an in-­‐person Youth Advisory Group meeting (flight and accommodation costs will be covered by the project): you are invited to apply to join the group.

Applicants should, ideally, have” a commitment and interest in social justice and ant-oppression work,“ experience with social media, and have previous involvement with LGBT, gay men’s health and/or HIV-related organizations or campaigns. 

To apply send, by Mon, Sept 28, a resume and a two-page tops motivation letter outlining your definition of stigma, why you wish to join the group, what you believe you can contribute to the project and how you meet the selection criteria, to Olivier@cbrc.net. There is further information at crbc.net as well as examples of the work done so far and essays on stigma and LGBT issues.

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