Premiere of “Our Bodies Our Business”

In commemoration of the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers (December 17, 2016), the Triple-X Workers’ Solidarity Association partnered with University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health to premiere “Our Bodies Our Business,” a video compiling important, historic footage of prostitutes’ rights activists at the 5th International Conference on AIDS in Montreal (1989.

The video was directed by George Stamos with production help from Andrew Sorfleet, and was produced as part of a national consultation on PrEP and sex work in Toronto and funded by the Elton John AIDS Foundation. The video footage was filmed by ACT UP New York filmmaker Catherine Gund, and showcases the incredible work undertaken by prostitutes’ rights activists at the intersections of sex work, safer sex practices, and HIV/AIDS stigma and discrimination.

Whores are safe sex pros!

To learn more about how activists intervened in the 5th International Conference on AIDS in 1989, visit AAHP’s Montreal collection.

New report on HIV criminalization, race, immigration & newspaper coverage

This newly released reportreport shares highlights from the first empirically rigorous study of how Canadian mainstream media represent HIV non-disclosure criminal cases. Using qualitative and quantitative methods, the authors demonstrate how Canadian newspapers overwhelmingly focus on cases involving Black men living with HIV, resulting in an account that is highly stigmatizing, stereotypical and demonizing in its representation.

Click here for a copy of the report, titled “Callous, Cold, and Deliberately Duplicitous:” Racialization, Immigration and the Representation of HIB Criminalization in Canadian Mainstream Newspapers. This report was written by Eric Mykhalovskiy, Colin Hastings, Chris Sanders, Michelle Hayman and Laura Bissaillon.


John Greyson’s “Wynnetario”


In 2016, people in “Canada” continue to be criminalized for not disclosing their HIV status prior to having sex. Ontario is leading the country in the criminalization of HIV, having charged more people with non-disclosure than any other province.

John Greyson’s latest video, “Wynnetario” is a compelling reminder of the intersections of stigma, criminalization, state-sanctioned violence and police brutality. In it, Greyson captures some of the most powerful moments from this year’s Toronto Pride Parade, including AIDS ACTION NOW!’s banner drop over Yonge Street.

wynne aan to

Premier Kathleen Wynne, along with PM Justin Trudeau, were stuck underneath this banner for thirty minutes during the parade. In the words of Darien Taylor of AAN! Toronto, “We call on Premier Wynne to intervene.”

Click here to watch “Wynnetario” on Vimeo

Image of Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, raising hand and shouting, with text "Wynntario" above her

“Yes to Safer Sex!
No to Ontario’s HIV witchhunt!”


Noticing and knowing


Looking at the image above, I notice three AIDS activists parading down a Vancouver street – putting their bodies on the line and working for change. I notice they are armed with instruments and with placards. I notice the two people on the left are sporting “EPP = DEATH” shirts while the person on the right is wearing a leather jacket and what looks like a police hat. I notice how they are holding themselves. I notice how they are holding one another. Looking again, I notice two men in conversation behind them. Both are wearing business suits while the guy on the left – the one who looks like Roger Sterling from Mad Men! – is holding a clipboard or an envelope or what I’m assuming is an official piece of correspondence. Zooming in, I notice more activists lining the sidewalk behind them. Buildings, trees, cars. Shadows on the sidewalk. A yellow streetlight. People putting their bodies on the line; people working for change.

Continue reading “Noticing and knowing”

Active History reviews ‘Positive Sex’ exhibition

Image shows a few posters from the “Positive Sex” exhibition at Carleton’s MacOdrum Library

ActiveHistory.ca is a website committed to connecting the work of historians to diverse audiences. From podcasts to blogs and online exhibitions, they have a beautiful way of tracing social history and really going after the story or – I should say – teasing out and attending to different, complicated, past and present stories.

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POSITIVE SEX Exhibition Goes Live!

1460421430.pngOn April 8, in honour of Youth and AIDS Day, the AIDS Activist History Project (AAHP) launched its first exhibition, titled “POSITIVE SEX: Eroticizing Safer Sex Practices in Canada in the 1980s and 1990s.”

Hosted by the MacOdrum Library at Carleton University, “POSITIVE SEX” combines powerful excerpts from eight oral history interviews with over thirty pieces of ephemera (including photos, pamphlets, flyers, posters, articles and news clippings) from the AAHP collection. Also on display is a collection of books related to AIDS activism and safer (positive) sex, a selection of erotic, sex-positive and educational materials from CATIE and Venus Envy, and an assortment of condoms (male and female! flavoured and lubricated!) and dental dams donated by the Graduate Students’ Association.

Continue reading “POSITIVE SEX Exhibition Goes Live!”