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October to November 2008 - News Archive

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OUTeXpressions enewspaper

OUTEXPRESSIONS newspaper is a not for profit publication of Gay West Community Network Inc. (Masthead) Copyright 2016. All Rights Reserved. We have been bringing news & event listings to readers since 1995. OUTexpressions, is one of Gay Toronto's leading media publications, with the hottest happenings in the coolest places. We are not an exclusive gay publication. Queerwest.org family of websites receives 40,000 hits a day, from within Canada and abroad. Queer West is consistently ranked #1 (Page One) in Bing and Google, for most search returns. Outexpressions on Twitter Thank you for your interest in QueerWest.org For Event Submissions, Email: outexpressions@gmail.com 416-879-7954

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1% of Toronto High School student now identify as gay or lesbian

by Michael F. Paré, Outexpressions, Wednesday November 28, 2007 - The Toronto District School Board did a $750,000 survey called the 2006 STUDENT CENSUS, GRADES 7-12: SYSTEM OVERVIEW, asking Toronto students to among other things self-identify their sexual orientation. Ontario students were asked to provide voluntary information on a variety of questions—for students in grades nine to twelve, those questions will include whether they identify as straight, gay, “lesbian, transgendered, bisexual, queer or two-spirited (an aboriginal term).” The survey was released yesterday

Only 1% of students identified themselves as gay or lesbian, 2% as bisexual, 4% as questioning and 1% as other. Other included queer, two-spirited, transgendered, transsexual or any combination of the other choices.

Experts in the field of children's mental health have suggested the trend in schools toward determining child sexual orientation is dangerously misplaced. George A. Rekers, Ph. D., research director for child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, stated that children are particularly vulnerable to confusion in the development of their sexual identity.

The survey was produced after concerns were raised over possibilities of racial inequality under Ontario’s new Safe Schools Act, with the suggestion that some schools expelled black students more frequently than white students.

The original content was expanded to more than 55 questions covering a wide variety of areas of student interests, in order to provide a census of the province’s student body. Sexual orientation was considered a legitimate area of interest by the Board.

The survey also highlights the fact a large majority of students come from families of first generation Canadians. Around 70% of students from Grades 7 to 12 have both parents who were born outside of Canada. The main regions of origin are East Asia, South Asia, Europe, Africa, Caribbean and south and central America.

White students remain the largest ethnic group, making up about 30% of the high school population. Among students in Grades 7 and 8, 64 per cent report that they "enjoy" school, while just 53 per cent of high school students do.

But more than 80 per cent of students say they get along well with fellow pupils and believe they are treated well by adults in their school. And more than 90 per cent of students in Grades 7 and 8 feel safe in the classroom, and 72 per cent on school property. Those numbers dip slightly for high school students.

Toronto schools have seen their share of violent incidents in recent months, including the fatal shooting of a student at one north-end high school and sexual assault charges laid against eight youths at a middle school. In terms of bullying, 41 per cent of younger students and 31 per cent of secondary students say they are called names or insulted often or sometimes. About 20 per cent of younger students have been the victims of theft or threats of violence. Full Report PDF Format http://www3.thestar.com/static/PDF/2006studentcensus_overview.pdf

Leading by Example on World AIDS Day

Outexpressions: by Stephen J. Fallon, Ph.D. - There’s something sort of overwhelming about World AIDS Day, December 1st. How can any of us wrap our minds around a disease that infects 4 million people worldwide each year, and threatens the health of 47 million— mostly untreated—who are living with the virus today, according to the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS?

The theme for World AIDS Day 2007 is “Leadership.” Yet the average gay American does not have the means to make a significant contribution to the fight against HIV/AIDS in sub Saharan Africa, or the Caribbean.

HIV/AIDS also impacts our own communities here at home. A recent Centers for Disease Control study found that one-in-five gay or bisexual white men in major cities is living with HIV; among minority men who have sex with men, nearly half were infected.

What can you do to make a difference? Think globally but act locally. World AIDS Day Global Steering Committee member Linda Hartke said, “Leadership can imply the power and authority to make a difference, to lead by action and example.” Here are some actions you can take to make a difference here at home.

If you’re HIV negative:

Double-check your HIV status with a new HIV test. Three-quarters of younger gay/bisexual men who were HIV infected had not known their status; and 59 percent had expected their risk was low, according to another large CDC study.

In many areas, today’s HIV tests come in a simple oral swab that delivers preliminary results in just 20 minutes.

If you’re living with HIV:

Go to a qualified HIV-specializing physician to track how well your body is holding the virus at bay. When the time is right to start taking HIV treatments, don’t skip doses. People who take most of their doses on time are three-to-four times more likely to keep their virus under control than are inconsistent patients. Successful treatment also lowers the odds of your passing HIV if a condom ever breaks.

Your physician can also talk to you about new classes of treatments (CCR5 antagonists and integrase inhibitors), along with newer boosted protease inhibitors and non-nucleosides for those whose virus has developed resistance to these types of medicines.

If you’re having sex:

Hook ups, real time action, playing, no strings attached fun? You can still be a leader for World AIDS Day. Last week I gave a seminar at a clinic in Kentucky. One of the participants described how he and his partner had visited a bathhouse in Ft. Lauderdale on a vacation. A group of guys were lined up in the steam room for anonymous sex when one called out, “Hey, does anyone have any more condoms?”

That comment stuck with him enough for him to repeat the story these years later. And maybe it made a difference to any guys there that day who might have been planning to have unprotected sex in the bathhouse that day.

Lead by busting myths:

A new study of younger African American men who have sex with men found that nearly one-third of the times that guys used condoms, they had made mistakes that could have allowed HIV to transmit. The most common mistakes were putting the condom on too late (after first entering someone during foreplay), taking it off too soon, or not pinching air out of the tip of the condom.

These mistakes are common for all races and ages of gay and bisexual men according to the larger POLARIS HIV seroconversion study. Up to 12 percent of men had bottomed without having their partners use condoms, or when condom were used incorrectly.

Despite leading the way for better access to care, fairer laws, and more aggressive research to combat HIV/AIDS, the gay community still harbors many myths that lead guys to perceive their own risks to be lower than they are. In the POLARIS study, some of the guys said that they skipped condoms because they believed HIV can’t transmit through pre-cum, or that HIV can only get in when there’s rectal tearing.

HIV has been found in two-thirds of samples of pre-cum drawn from HIV positive men. Meanwhile, the epithelial lining of the rectum can absorb the virus even without any trauma present.

So for this World AIDS Day, you can be a leader by debunking myths and adopting safer habits to stop HIV’s spread through our gay community, or to control HIV in your own body.

Stephen Fallon is the President of Skills4, Inc., a healthcare and disease-prevention consulting firm that specializes in gay lifestyle and health issues by providing treatment education workshops, prevention programming assistance, and grant writing services to community organizations and health departments. Visit his website at www.skills4.org If you need sources for any medical information cited in his columns, e-mail him at sfallon@skills4.org.

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