Know a sticky slogan? They’re the ones you just can’t get out of your head. They’re catchy, easy to remember and help to sell an idea. Think of an advert you’ve seen on TV this week and that jingle that pops into your head is probably their catchphrase. Often they can play with word meaning or use alliteration or other techniques to ensure they aren’t forgotten. Great, so now you know what I mean, here’s the reason why I’m talking about sticky slogans. We are about to (cue a big drum roll if you will!) launch brand new HIV testing at Chariot’s saunas across London (Vauxhall, Waterloo, Stretham and Limehouse branches) and we would like your help to think up a funky slogan.We are looking for a tag line that is fun, creative and will get people talking about the newest way to test in London.
Just to get the creative juices flowing here are a few examples of HIV testing slogans used across the world.
Get tested and carry on – National HIV Testing Day – The Sigma Project – UK
How do you know? – Black AIDS institute – USA
Make sure you know: There is treatment for AIDS. The test is one of your rights. (Fique sabendo. A AIDS tem tratemento. O teste e um direito seu) – Rio de Janeiro State Health Department – Brazil.
Are you doin’ it? – Testing Week – Canada
Can you do better? We want to hear from you! Either send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave them in the comments below. If yours is chosen we’ll make sure some goodies are sent out to you!
What are you doing this bank holiday weekend? How does a gig with some of the country’s hottest artists sound in the beautiful Victoria Park? Pretty good, eh? We thought so too. That’s why we’re going to be at the ‘As One in the Park’ festival (info here) this Sunday! Not only will we be getting into the groove and having a boogie, but we’ll also be answering any sexual health questions you might have and providing completely free HIV tests too. If you’re around make sure you come see us – we are going to be on the Positive East stand (see more info on those lovely people here). So why not come over, say hi and get a rapid HIV test while you’re enjoying the tunes!?
This week was a bittersweet moment for Minnesota. Whilst the state became one of twelve to legalise gay marriage and crowds of over 6,000 turned out downtown to celebrate hot water was thrown on the celebratory fire with comments from anti gay marriage campaigners Minnesota for Marriage (MM) stated it was a ‘historic and say day’ for the state (see here). They added that the change to the law ‘tramples religious liberty rights’ for Minnesotans. It could be argued that the argument about denying religious rights is an American one, but it echoes similar debates here in the UK and elsewhere. Here, there are promising signs that same-sex marriage will replace civil partnerships in the near future (even in spite of the fact that Tory backbenchers this week have called for a referendum on plans to legalise same-sex marriage (see article here). Public support is higher than ever for same sex marriage and a recent survey showed two-thirds are in favour of gay marriage.
But how does this compare on a global level? Have a look at the map below to find out:
see more maps here
Some countries have had had same-sex marriage for over a decade, like the Netherlands and Belgium; others are introducing it to varying degrees on a state-by-state level (Brazil and the US are recent examples) and some countries do not currently have any laws related to same-sex relationships. Of the latter some parts of the world (see article about experience being lesbian in Uganda) can be described as endemically homophobic where not being straight is not only seen as wrong but could each result in torture or death and the hope of gay marriage is merely a pipe dream.
Regardless of whether same-sex marriage is legal or not, one thing is for sure, the partnerships we have – whether one off Grindr hook-ups or monogamous relationships, or something else – have an impact on the nature of sex we are having. One element of this is whether sex is protected or unprotected. For example, some people would never dream of having unprotected sex outside monogomous marriage, often citing marriage as a marker of trust and commitment, whereas other people have unprotected sex with friends, friends of friends or f*ckbuddies they feel they ‘know well enough’. For others sex is always protected except when it is a one-off hook up in a sauna or with someone they have been chatting to online. This relationship between the nature of relationships we have (and differences with the relationships we would like, in particular) is one element that is explored in the GMI counselling and mentoring programmes. They offer a safe space to discuss the link between relationships/partnerships and sex (amongst other themes) with a non- judgemental trainers volunteer. For more info see here).
The views in the article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of GMI.
We are really excited to announce we have begun HIV testing at a brand new venue in Central London. The location is the well-known Ku Bar on Frith Street in Soho (see here) and the time for your diaries is Saturdays 2-6pm (last test 5.30pm). We have the downstairs bar all to ourselves so we have a private area where we will offer confidential, rapid HIV tests. The test in itself only takes a couple of minutes to do and the result is almost instant, so there’s no waiting around for a result or results by e-mail or phone What’s more, we offer the so-called fingerprick test so it’s virtually painless (you won’t even feel a little prick!) and perfect for anyone who doesn’t like the needles often involved in HIV testing. We are able to offer this new service as part of a contract the GMI Partnership have recently been awarded by HPE (HIV prevention England) and will be rolling out new testing sites and a “Test on Demand” service in various places across London in the near future
Ku Bar Firth Street where we offer free HIV testing on Saturdays 2-6pm.
I’ve got some sexual health questions. How and where can I see a Health Trainer?
As well as offering HIV tests, our GMI Health Trainers work across London answering your sexual health questions and helping make sure as many gay and bi men know about HIV/STI testing, transmission and prevention. So, if you have a particular question, or are worried about the risks you’re taking sexually, feel free to come along to Ku Bar, or to any of the other locations where our Health Trainers work. Our Health Trainers can be seen at bars, clubs, saunas, clinics and one-off events across London so keep an eye on our calendar to see where they will be this week!
Can I make an appointment to see a Health Trainer?
Of course! We work with HIV negative and positive gay and bi men in London who are worried about the risks they are taking when they have sex, and who want non-judgemental support to play safe. We understand that a face-to-face meeting in one of our offices might be more appropriate in many instances and can book this at a time that suits you. We have offices in Vauxhall, Greenwich, Stepney Green and Hounslow and these are open daytime and evenings. If you’d like to make an appointment to chat to one of our Health Trainers please call Michael Mancinelli on 020 7791 9318 or e-mail email@example.com. For more information about the full range of free services the GMI Partnership offers please see our website.
OK, so I have to admit I had to ask my colleagues whether NBA was basketball or baseball yesterday (still slightly embarrassed about that one – it’s basketball by the way), but it didn’t take away from my admiration for the bravery it must have taken for Jason Collins to come at this week. He is the first active major American sports league star to come out and his decision to do so has resulted in praise within and outwith the gay community across the world. Although he was already out to his family and close friends he said that the Boston bombings and his realisation that life can change in an instant gave him the motivation to do so publically (see here). John Amaechi, an ex-NBA player from England who came out several years ago, summed up his views on Collins’ decision to come out in a way that echoes what many have been saying on and offline “I think he is immensely brave. I think it’s a shame in this day and age he has to be immensely brave, but he is,”. The truth is you can count on one hand the number of high profile ‘out’ sports stars in the UK, US and elsewhere. This is what made Premiership footballer, Thomas Hitzlsperger’s, decision to come out a story that has made headlines around the world . A couple of notable exceptions of out sportstars include ex-Leeds United player Robbie Rogers who came out at the start of the year, announcing he was retiring from professional football at the same time, and Gareth Thomas, the Welsh Rugby player who came out in 2009.
Jason Collins – NBA player who came out this week
According to an article at the time Gareth Thomas ‘prayed he was straight’ and clearly struggled with his decision to come out. This, perhaps, isn’t a surprise given the homophobia associated with many top flight sports. Sports spaces from stadia to local pitches, bars, clubs and shops can be understood as sites where dominant notions of masculinity (i.e. those privileged in society e.g. heterosexuality, violence, toughness, courage etc. – see here for more info).This is combined with the influence of sports programmes and commentary on TV and radio means that many sports can be seen as oppressive to gay men who (might) fail to meet the demands of dominant, privileged masculinities. Often it is difficult to be openly gay and into ‘masculine’ sports such as football, rugby and basketball and homophobia is commonplace (e.g. see here). For these reasons many gay men are discouraged from seriously practicing these sports and those that do often find it easier to stay in the closet. This is exactly why Jason Collins’ decision to come out this week was such a courageous one.
Obviously homophobia is faced in all different situations and not just by those who play sports. One area that is important is the link between discrimination of gender and sexuality and sexual behaviour. Research has shown that there appears to be a connection between homophobia (internalised and otherwise) and risky sexual behaviour (for example see here ). This is one of the themes that the GMI sexual health programmes, such as counselling and mentoring, commonly address as part of their HIV prevention work. For more information on our programmes please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7160 0941.
The views above are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the GMI Partnership.