Editor’s Note It’s a bit of a cliché to say that we live in changing times, but it’s certainly true in Queensland at the moment. As if we didn’t have enough going on already, we had a change of Prime Minister this week, bringing to mind another cliché; the old is new. Apart from a new old Prime Minister we have also recently got a new way to test for HIV. Rapid Testing is now in Cairns and brings with it hopes that we can significantly increase the rates at which gay men (who continue to have the highest rates of HIV infection in Australia) and other at-risk population groups get tested. The rate at which people get tested for HIV has huge implications both for people with the virus and for the progression of the epidemic as a whole, with great benefits to both from people finding out if they carry the virus and getting on to treatment if they do. Free Rapid Testing is now available at the Cairns Sexual Health Clinic. Big changes are also afoot at Healthy Communities with new projects starting, new blood joining the board and our Executive Director, Paul Martin, announcing that he will be moving on from the organisation. Cairns’ long serving volunteer, employee and previous recipient of our President’s Award for Volunteering, Molly Quick, has also decided to move on to new things. Earlier this year our long-serving President Mark Morein retired from Healthy Communities’ board of directors and was replaced by Cairns’ very own Joanne Leamy. Around the same time a number of other board members decided to move aside to let new blood into the organisation, with more than half the board being renewed this year. Recently Healthy Communities has been advertising for a new Executive Director, with Paul Martin, who has served in the position for more than nine years deciding to move on to other projects. Fortunately Paul will be staying on until the new ED has settled in to the role, so we will have him for a while yet. Paul will be in Cairns on August 4th to talk at the Cairns LGBTI Ageing and Services forum, which everyone is invited to. Paul is expected to announce the starting of a new aged care project at Healthy Communities, supported by a new staff member in Cairns. Molly Quick has been a volunteer and employee of Healthy Communities for over 20 years. She is one of the best known faces of the organisation in Cairns, greeting all who walked through our doors at Draper St since we opened here, and being active in the organisation for many years prior to that. As well as working in her paid position Molly has been a valued contributor to numerous committees including World AIDS Day and Pride. She has also been a strong advocate for PFLAG in our region. Molly has decided to move on from Healthy Communities although she remains a committed member and supporter of the organisation. We appreciate all that she has done and will miss her. Pride is looming fast, and it, too, will be different this year. Turtle Cove will host the ‘It’s Not Fair! Day’ on the 25th August. This is a new event and is being held in lieu of Fair Day which will not be held this year. Not holding Fair Day at The Tanks this year was a decision which the Pride Committee came to after facing up to the reduced capacity in the organisation and in the absence of securing a grant to support the event this year. The committee hopes to hold another Fair Day at The Tanks in 2014 but will need more volunteers to come on board if this is to happen. Anyone interested can contact Nick on 4041-5451. In the meantime ‘It’s Not Fair! Day’ promises to be a great celebration at which everyone will be welcome.
Ageing Action Group We hope by now that all of you have heard of the LGBTI Ageing and Services Forum which is being held on July 4th. If not, check out the ad on page 5 and get in touch if you’d like to attend. This forum is what has been keeping the Healthy Communities’ Ageing Action Group busy for the past couple of months. Two years ago the Ageing Action Group hosted a forum, ‘Ageing Differently’, which explored issues facing LGBT people as they grow older and need assistance. The 2011 forum had a strong emphasis on clinical services. This year’s forum follows the release in December last year of the Federal Government’s National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) Ageing and Aged Care Strategy and will have a focus on how the aged care system works, how it can be accessed and what steps service providers are taking to improve LGBTI inclusion and access. There will be a presentation from Healthy Communities’ Executive Director, Paul Martin explaining what the new National Strategy means for service provision for LGBTI people and the role Healthy Communities will play in improving services. The new National Strategy has put in place a range of initiatives to better meet the aged care needs of LGBTI people. These initiatives recognise that there have been decades of inequitable treatment for LGBTI people; that many LGBTI people have suffered stigma, family rejection and social isolation; and that many LGBTI people have had a life experience of fear of rejection and persecution, coupled with the impact of potential or actual discrimination. This Strategy aims to ensure that LGBTI people have the same opportunities and options in aged care that are available to all Australians. The forum will give members of the community the opportunity to hear what services are available now, what steps are being taken to improve access and what changes are likely to be coming. It will also give community members the opportunity to voice their concerns and ask questions as well as to talk to local service providers about the services they run. The LGBTI Ageing and Services forum is free and is open to all. Anyone who would like more information about the LGBT Ageing Action Group at Healthy Communities, or who would like to attend a meeting, please give Nick a call on 4041-5451 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
Research on Attitudes to HIV Prevention Technologies
The PrEPARE Project is run by the highly respected National Centre for HIV Social Research. They have just launched their 2013 survey and are currently recruiting participants. If you are a gay or bisexual man who lives in Australia, they’d like to hear from you. The study is about attitudes to HIV prevention technologies such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and microbicides. Don’t be put off If you don’t know what these are; all is explained in the survey. Results will be used to guide HIV prevention programs and future research in Australia. To take part, click this link www.prepareproject.nchsr.org or the banner below.
Cairns Lesbian Health Group The Cairns Lesbian Health Group continues to meet monthly at Healthy Communities and all women are welcome to join in. There’s no obligation to commit lots of time to the group; everyone’s ideas are welcome and women are welcome to just come along for a visit to see if it’s for them. Most of the projects that the group have been involved in lately have been in support of the Cairns Out Girls social group and meetings have been spent planning future events and ways in which they can be promoted. However, there are other projects in the pipeline. Members of the group have recently been discussing the best ways in which they can support women who are in the early stages of coming out and those who have recently moved to the area. It can be frightening to take the step to get out onto the social scene to build a network of friends, especially if you are still coming to terms with your sexuality. This is one of the main reasons why Cairns Out Girls was established in the first place; to act as a meeting place where same sex attracted women from all backgrounds can come together and meet. The facebook page has been set up so that women can find out about the group and what they’re up to. However, for some women turning up to a social event where they will not know anyone is a big step and they may not be ready to take it. For this reason the group is inviting these women to come along to a meeting of the Cairns Lesbian Health Group and meet a few supportive women before going along to the bigger events. Nick, the LGBT Health Promotion Officer also attends the meetings to provide assistance where requested and if women need counselling, health or other services, he can help find appropriate services for them. If you would like to take part in the Cairns Lesbian Health Group, give Nick a call on 4041-5451 or email email@example.com .You can also check out what Cairns Out Girls are up to on facebook.
Rapid Testing For HIV Now in Cairns Researchers are telling us that getting more gay men to test for HIV regularly is one of the most effective ways we can fight the spread of the virus. Recently Rapid Testing for HIV was introduced to Queensland and it is hoped that it will increase the number of guys who test regularly by making the whole process quicker and easier. The test is available at the Cairns Sexual Health Service. In the past anyone who wanted to be tested for HIV had to make two appointments with a doctor. The first appointment was for pre-test counselling and a blood test. The person would then have to wait a number of days (recently about a week) for the blood to be sent off to a lab for testing and the result sent back. The person would then need to go to a second appointment to be given the result. Research shows that most gay men go test at least once a year. However, for a number of men the inconvenience of going to two appointments has acted as a barrier to them getting tested and they either havenâ€™t been tested at all, or do not get tested as regularly as recommended. Rapid Testing now allows a person to go in for a test and walk out of the same appointment with a result. The test involves a small drop of blood being taken from a fingertip. This is put on a testing strip by the clinician (usually at the beginning of an appointment), and the test gives a result about 20 minutes later. The test has a high reliability but if a test is â€˜reactiveâ€™ (ie it indicates the presence of HIV) a blood sample is taken and a standard HIV test is conducted in a laboratory to confirm or rule out infection. HIV infection is now very much a manageable condition and the health benefits of knowing if you are HIV positive are enormous. Modern treatments for HIV are extremely effective, are much more convenient than they were in years past (some people now living with HIV only take one pill a day) and with very little side effects. A person living with HIV in Australia can expect to live a normal life-span, have healthy sexual relationships with their partner/s and can safely have children if they choose to. But to do this they need to find out if they have the virus. This new test makes that easier. A large proportion of people with HIV do not know that they have it. If we increase the rates at which people test we are likely to reduce the number of people who have HIV without knowing it and those people can get treatment which both improves their own health and significantly reduces the chances of passing the virus on.
Cairns queer film festival 2013 â€“ by Kevin Scott The cairns queer film festival started six years ago to give the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community of cairns an opportunity to see their lives on film. Successfully run by Healthy Communities for the last six years, the event was put into jeopardy last year after defunding of most of Healthy Communities projects and loss of many staff members by the Newman government . This year a committee of community members decided to try to continue to run the event independently as it has played an important role in supported the LGBT community of Cairns, offering something that is not based around partying. The event was run over two days on Friday May 31 st and June 1st. We saw a great crowd of people at all movies and the committee was thrilled to see some new faces Run totally by volunteers the committee of 10 people can be proud of bringing all the films to cairns this year for the exciting program of films only released in 2012 and none available yet on DVD. We hope that some new people may put their hands up next year to help run this event and also help us to finance this festival.
Universities Conducting Research into Police LGBTI Liaison Officers Researchers at the Queensland University of Technology, Griffith University, and the University of Sydney have been funded by the Criminology Research Grants scheme to do research on how LGBTI people have contact with police liaison officers who know about LGBTI issues in Queensland, New South Wales, and Western Australia. They hope the survey will help them to improve LGBTI peopleâ€™s experiences of contacting police liaison officers in future. They need LGBTI people to complete a survey (and, for those interested, to participate in an interview when the survey is finished) so they can learn more about how LGBTI people have contact with police liaison officers. The survey will take about 20 minutes to complete. The survey can be completed at http://survey.qut.edu.au/f/175214/1bea/ and more information can be found on facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/LGBTIpoliceliaisonsurvey
www.boyszout.net firstname.lastname@example.org Ph. 07 4093 9492
News and Events Sunday 14th July boyZout Special Lunch at Thala Lodge 12 midday Meet for drinks in Lobby Bar of Thala Beach Lodge Resort - Port Douglas 12.30 pm Lunch at Ospreys Restaurant RSVP by 12pm 12th July (contacts below)
Cairns Sunboys Events A non-sexual nude social group: join a friendly group of men for an afternoon of relaxed nudity. Sunday 28th July
Wednesday 14th August BoyZout Monthly Dinner and Raffle – The Marina, Cairns 6.30pm meet in the Lounge Bar of the Shangri-La Hotel 7pm Dinner – Mecca Bah, 1 Marlin Parade, Harbour Lights Waterfront RSVP by12pm 13th August (see below) Friday 30th August Gay Themed Movie Night – Kuranda 6pm Supper, $12 contribution please 7pm Movie RSVP by 12pm 28th August (see below)
Wonga Beach - 12 noon onward. BYO food and drinks for BBQ and a towel to sit on. Salads and BBQ will be supplied. $5 contribution to host at the door. RSVP essential (contacts below) If you need a lift please call 4093 9492