Commemorating 35 Years of AIDS Activism

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Commemorating 35 Years of AIDS Activism

Solidarity in Pride; 35 years & counting The LGBTIQ+ community’s fierce commitment to AIDS activism over the past 35 years has led to massive strides in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The movement has fostered the conversation about safer sex, educated our communities and has fought for access to treatment, reducing stigma and supporting decriminalization. AIDS activism proves we can make change, we now have rapid drug approvals and patient consultation for treatment plans. The progress has been astounding but - despite it all - we need to do more. HIV infection rates are on the rise in communities where resources are lacking and access to information is limited. Awareness is waning among a generation growing up further from the crisis that set off our commitment to the fight. We must open our eyes. We must commit as deeply as those who came before us, emulate their persistence, and add to the solid foundation they have laid.

35 Years of AIDS Activism is a celebration of the progress we have made against a disease threatening communities around the globe. It’s an opportunity to share essential information about just how far-reaching the crisis has become. 35 Years of AIDS Activism is a call to action, to reawaken our passion in the fight against HIV/AIDS. “We have fought so hard for so long, but now, must draw attention and raise awareness to a battle that’s far from over. Our community needs our help to move the needle on important issues such as the blood ban and decriminalization. These issues that continue to paint members of our community as less than. We can do better; we must do better.” Olivia Nuamah, Executive Director of Pride Toronto.

Photo provided by the Canadian Lesbian & Gay Archives Photographer: Kyle Rae

Front Cover: Photo provided by the Canadian Lesbian & Gay Archives Photographer: Tim McCaskell


Thursday, June 14, 2018 6:00pm – 7:30pm The Chelsea Hotel, 33 Gerard St. W, Toronto, ON, M5G 1Z4 Canada (and Ontario) have one of the highest levels of criminalizing people living with HIV in the world, but communities have been mobilizing to resist and the tide may be turning. What has been achieved, and how? What work still needs to be done? What lies ahead for resisting HIV criminalization in Ontario following the provincial election? Join leading activists—people living with HIV, community organizations and human rights advocates— for a community dialogue about where the struggle goes from here. (For more, see In partnership with Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario, Ontario Working Group on Criminal Law and HIV Exposure.

Panelists: TBD

MEDEXPERT’S HIV/AIDS Friday, June 15, 2018 8:00pm On Friday June 15th at 8:00pm, medEXPERT will be hosting a panel discussion event focusing on the global U=U movement in HIV/AIDS activism. The U=U movement stands for “Undetectable equals Untransmittable” and has been leading the global discussion on AIDS activism, Undetectable status, HIVrelated stigma, access to healthcare, and criminalization.

Panelists: Bruce Richman: With reputable research and healthcare providers together on a landmark Consensus Statement, Bruce Richman has brought over 600 organizations from 75 countries around the world to sign in agreement that HIV+ Undetectable persons are not a risk to their partners. The list of consignors includes many notable Canadian organizations, namely CATIE, as well as many top Canadian HIV researchers and healthcare professionals.

John Maxwell: ACT’s Executive Director, Mr. John Maxwell, will also be speaking on the U=U campaign and how it pertains to the fight against HIVstigma here in Canada.

Olivia Nuamah: We are excited to have Olivia’s participation on a panel discussion on Friday June 15th at 8:00pm to speak on AIDS activism as the theme chosen by Pride Toronto this year.

Each speaker will be allotted 20 minutes to speak on the involvement of the LGBTQ2S community in the fight against HIV/AIDS followed by a 30 minute Q&A period.

LIVING AND THRIVING WITH HIV Tuesday, June 19, 2018 6:30pm – 8:00pm Innis Town Hall, University of Toronto, 2 Sussex Ave., Toronto, ON M5S 1J5 It is estimated that 60% of persons living with HIV belong to the LGBTQI2+ community. Living with HIV is no easy task especially for those that do not think it affects them. This panel will talk about the positive, the negative and the unknown around HIV, from a lived experience point of view. How important is U=U (undetectable=untransmittable), especially in regards to sexual health and HIV prevention? Let this panel tell you. With U=U, we can end HIV/AIDS in Canada, so find out how.

Panelists: Jason Maclennan (Moderator): Jason has been involved in the HIV movement for approximately thirty years. Over the last few years he has met with various political leaders including the former Premier of Ontario, Kathleen Wynne. He has participated in many presentations to organizations. Jason is very straightforward kind of person who has accomplished many things within the HIV sector. Jason recently educated the North Bay pride Committee to endorse the U=U Campaign and adopt the Ontario Accord GIPA/MIPA. Trevor Stratton: Trevor Stratton is a 53-year old member of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation near Toronto, Canada with mixed English and Ojibwe heritage. Diagnosed with HIV in 1990, Trevor turned to his community and the Indigenous HIV and AIDS movement for support and became an activist, volunteer and consultant. He is now the Coordinator for the International Indigenous Working Group on HIV & AIDS (IIWGHA) for its host organization, the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network (CAAN). Trevor is a board member of the Global Network of People living with HIV (GNP+), the President of the board of 2-Spirited People of the 1st Nations in Toronto and he is one of two North American delegates in the NGO Delegation on the Programme Coordinating Board (PCB) of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS). Trevor was recently installed as the Interim Executive Director of the International Indigenous HIV & AIDS Community. Randy Davis: Randy Davis has lived with HIV since February 19th, 2015. He is the Pride Coordinator in Canada for the Prevention Access Campaign, and sits on the Board of the Barrie Pride organization, as its Healthy Living Coordinator. In these roles, he has appeared on several Rogers TV Barrie programs, including “Viewpoint”, “The Pleasure Diva” and “With Gerry”. He has also been interviewed twice on CTV Barrie, and was a guest speaker at the Gilbert Centre’s World AIDS Day event in 2017. An activist and an advocate for people living with HIV,

Randy is particularly loud and proud in his support of the “Undetectable Equals Untransmittable” (U=U) movement. He can often be seen speaking at Barrie Pride events, sharing and exchanging information about HIV with attendees. Most recently, he was part of the “Humanizing HIV” panel that presented at the EGALE Identity Conference, and he spoke to youth at the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity’s GSA Leadership Forum, in Toronto, about “Smashing The Stigma of HIV.” He looks forward to many more opportunities to speak. Unafraid and unapologetic. Randy shares his own personal experiences, his authentic self, with any and all who wish to help end the fear- and the ignorancesurrounding HIV and AIDS. HIV is only a virus, after all... Stigma is the real disease. David Dk Soomarie: Having worked for close to a decade in advertising as a copywriter/producer, David Dk Soomarie made a conscious decision to give back to the community of people living with HIV/AIDS in his home country of Trinidad & Tobago (T&T). As a person living with HIV for close to 20 years, he personally felt that the face of HIV had to be challenged and that the public needed to know that people living with HIV are healthy and productive individuals, fully capable of living long and healthy lives, and as a result he became public about his HIV status conducting several media interviews on national television, radio and on press. In late 2009, he became a board member of Community Action Resource (CARe) an HIV Support organization which he credits for helping him cope with his HIV diagnosis. In May 2010, he became its Coordinator, Programmes & Services. His work has been featured in UNAIDS “Keeping Score” Publication and FPA annual report 2010. In August 2016, he travelled to Canada to talk about his activism work in Trinidad & Tobago and has since taken residence here. He is one of the MSM Outreach Coordinators at Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention (at the Black Coalition), volunteers with the Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention (ASAAP), member of CAAT (Committee for Accessible Aids Treatment) and leads a Toronto (To) Queers for T&T, a lobby group that advocates for human rights for members of the LGBQTI communities in T&T. He has also written articles for POZLite, an online magazine and runs two groups at Black CAP, one of which QPOZ is a support group for ACB Queer, MSM and Gay men living with HIV. Christian Hui: Christian Hui is a queer, poz Asian settler immigrant living with HIV. He started his HIV activist work as a peer at the Committee for Accessible AIDS Treatment (CAAT) in 2010 and currently works at Asian Community AIDS Services (ACAS). Christian is a co-founder of Ontario Positive Asians (OPA+) and the Canadian Positive People Network (CPPN). Christian is a steering committee member of the global Undetectable=Untransmittable (U=U) Campaign. Michael Burtch: Michael Burtch is the AIDS Committee of Toronto’s Gay Men’s Resource Coordinator and Community Educator. He has been working within the HIV sector for five years and living with HIV for over twelve. His writings about HIV-stigma, disclosure, resilience, HIV prevention and sexual health have appeared in Xtra,

Positive Side,,, and Guerilla Magazine. In 2016 he served as a national campaign model for the #LoveIsLoveIsLove campaign and the Canadian AIDS Society’s #SexHappens World AIDS DAY campaign. In December of 2014 he had a guest appearance on ‘MTV Canada Presents: Being Positive, a World AIDS Day Special’. Last year he became the proud parent of a chocolate Labrador named Max. You can find him on twitter tweeting about all things sexual health at @MichaelShaneBurtch. Xica Rodriguez Xica DaDiva is a multiperformance Artist/Singer, Anti-Bully and Trans Advocate. Xica wants to inspire the Trans community to stay strong to live their lives authentically without fear and self-loathe. Xica is also member of the 519 Trans Youth Mentorship and Arts Program where she occasionally teaches other Trans youth Zumba Fitness and movement to inspire body positivity and self-acceptance Xica has also been part in the 16X9 Trans Documentary “The Fight For Trans Rights”,(Available in YouTube) She has also been showcased in the Toronto NOW Magazine 2016 “I Love My Body Issue” that went Viral last January showcasing in major online magazines around the world including, the Huffington Post and BuzzFeed to name a few. Xica considers herself a work in progress and you are sure to see more of her in the coming years she also would like to invite members of the LGBT Community to become involved in the community in one way or another as there is still so much more to do.

35 YEARS OF AIDS ACTIVISM Saturday, June 23, 2018 6:30pm – 8:00pm Innis Town Hall, University of Toronto, 2 Sussex Ave., Toronto, ON M5S 1J5

HIV and an HIV/AIDS for over 25 years. He continues to work in the HIV/AIDS field and is currently working to address the Opioid Crisis in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Tim McCaskell: a long time gay activist and a founding member of AIDS ACTION NOW! He is author of Queer Progress: from Homophobia to Homonationalism. Monica Forrester: Trans Two -Spirit woman from Toronto, a part of the lgbtq2sa community for 30yrs. Excutive Director of Trans Pride Toronto, working to bring awareness, inclusion and equality to all people in the Trans, non binary and sex work work communities. Currently working with Maggie’s Toronto Sex work Action Program as the Program Coordinator for the Indigenous Outreach and drop in Program. Ron Rosenes: is a Community Health Advocate and Researcher who has been living with HIV for close to 40 years. He is a co-founder of the Canadian Treatment Action Council. Christian Hui: is a queer, poz Asian settler immigrant living with HIV. He started his activist work at the Committee for Accessible AIDS Treatment (CAAT) and currently works at Asian Community AIDS Services (ACAS). Christian is a co-founder of Ontario Positive Asians (OPA+) and the Canadian Positive People Network (CPPN) and is a steering committee member of the global Undetectable=Untransmittable (U=U) Campaign Zoe Dodd: who has worked in Toronto for many years on issues of poverty, HIV, Hep C and drug user health in both front-line, advocacy and research roles. She is a cocoordinator of the Moss Park Overdose Prevention Site (OPS) which has been running for a almost a year, and changed drug policy and the overdose response over night. She is a member of the Toronto Overdose Prevention Society and the Toronto Harm Reduction Alliance.

Innis Town Hall, 2 Sussex Avenue (at St. George). I block south of Bloor on the west side, south of the St. George subway station. ASL interpretation, wheelchair accessible. . Join us to hear from a group of activists who have fought for the rights of people living with AIDS/HIV and communities affected by AIDS over the past 35 years. Panelists will talk about the early days of the struggle and more recent advocacy successes. None of this would have been possible without the voices of those whose lives have been touched by HIV: "Nothing about us without us!". Topics include from the bath raids to persons with AIDS/HIV self-empowerment. From AIDS ACTION NOW! to People of Colour and Two-Spirit AIDS organizing. From HIV criminalization to PrEP and from Harm Reduction to the Opioid Crisis.


A welcome from Pride Grand Marshal Haran Vijayanathan (who is also the Executive Director at the Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention). Rene Boucher: is an Indigenous 2 Spirit man who has been living with

A flyer from Toronto’s Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention (Black CAP) promoting a talk entitled “Black Women Get AIDS Too!” by Wendi Modeste. AIDS Activist History Project

Poster Virus

PosterVirus is a Day With(out) Art community-based street and online activist art initiative and affinity group of Toronto’s AIDS ACTION NOW! The project launched thousands of posters across the streets of Toronto between the years 2011 to 2016 seeking to challenge public health's dominance over how HIV and people living with HIV are understood. Aiming to bring complexity and humanity back into conversations around

HIV, the project has involved over 30 artists and activists who have created works addressing the complexities of what it means to live with HIV in the contemporary moment, including treatment access, criminalization, sex work, incarceration, drug liberation, poverty, racism, misogyny, sexual autonomy and self-determination. More information can be found here:

Kia LeBeija, #Undetectable, 2016

Brendan Fernandes In PrEP we Trust? 2016

Mikiki & Scott Donald I Bareback, I Party, I'm Positive, I'm Responsble, 2011 FASTWĂœRMS Love is the Law 2016

Jordan Arsenault Silence = Sex 2013 Micah Lexier with Darien Taylor and Eric Mykhalovskiy AIDS Action..., 2013

U=U TORONTO PRIDE – U=U You are probably wondering what all the fuss is about for U=U. Maybe asking what does this have to do with Pride or what is U=U. You are not alone. U=U has been out there since 2008, but many do not know about it. So, let’s back up a little so you understand what it is. Don’t think this applies to you? You are wrong as it applies to anyone whoever has had sex once, so hey, that is you! In the late 1970s there was a disease that became known as the “Gay” disease or “Gay” cancer. Later, this disease became known as AIDS. Today, you do not hear the reference to AIDS very often because you hear someone is HIV+. It is because of modern medications, that people on meds live long healthy lives. The exciting part is that science found out if you are on effective meds and become undetectable, you will no longer transmit the virus to your sexual partner(s). “No Way?” you say, Yes, it’s true! “You mean to say that if someone is on meds and undetectable, I cannot get HIV from having condomless sex with them?” You got it, sparky!” U=U stands for Undetectable=Untransmittable. Basically, if you test positive for HIV and take effective meds, and if when you have your blood tested again, they cannot

find the virus any more, you are now undetectable. You are still HIV+, but you pose no risk to pass on HIV during condomless sex. Toronto Pride is endorsing the U=U campaign for a few reasons. First and foremost because it’s an opportunity to end HIV in Canada. Second, because Pride is born out of political activism, we are stepping up where our governments are slow to embrace this. Plus, there are some awful things said to HIV+ persons about their HIV status within the LGBTQI2+ community. It’s time to get educated y’all! So next time you see a hot person you want to get to know and find out they are HIV+, don’t panic! Treat them with respect and ask 2 questions. “Are you taking meds?” And if they say, “Yes”, ask them, “Are you undetectable?” And if they, “Yes”, jump on board! Even though you won’t get HIV, do not forget to protect yourself against other STIs. Have fun and play safe. Most of all, stop being ignorant about HIV, embrace our community members. Maybe you will fall in love, just take the chance and don’t let HIV stigma get in the way. #UequalsU #SmashStigma #CantPassItOn

Toronto Pride Calls On You To Help! Persons living with HIV face stigma, discrimination and persecution on a daily basis and the time has come to put an end to it! This is why Toronto Pride has endorsed the U=U campaign and is publicly supporting Private Members Bill M-186. We believe that everyone deserves dignity and equality but sadly those living with HIV are being denied these basic human rights.

made across government that relate to health, wellbeing, and dignity of people living with and affected by HIV; (b) encourage people living with HIV to start and stay on treatment; and (c) work towards dismantling HIV stigma on the community, clinical, and personal levels by adopting the Ontario Accord and endorsing the Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U) campaign.

Don Davies, MP (NDP Health Critic) has put forth a Private Members Bill M-186, which reads as follows: M-186 – Canadians living with HIV that, in the opinion of the House, the government should: (a) facilitate the involvement of people living with HIV in all decisions

We ask that you contact your local MP and insist they support M-186 today! It is time to change how we treat people living with HIV and you can help make that happen! It is time for all voices to be respected and heard. Are you going to do your part?

A photograph from AIDS ACTION NOW!’s “Pill” demonstration. Left to Right: Gary Kinsman, Brent Southin, Maggie Atkinson, Kalpesh Oza, Glen Brown. AIDS Activist History Project

Back Cover: A photograph of AIDS ACTION NOW! members speaking to the press and Prime Minister Chretien at a demonstration in Toronto. AIDS Activist History Project

Current Page: A photograph from an AIDS ACTION NOW! die-in at Toronto pride. AIDS Activist History Project

Thank You

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