As with all the SASOD meetings, the agenda was free flowing and there was a great deal of discussion on various topics. These are summarised below :-
HIV/AIDS and other Sexually Transmitted Infections
People felt that the messages about HIV were not getting through to accomodate the behavioural change. The education messages were targeted at heterosexual couples. The group felt that the following should be done :-
1) Use the pictures of the infected sexual organs to drive home the message to encourage responsible sexual behaviour.
2) Use the local talk show hosts and other personalities who influence public opinion to discuss condom use and to encourage safe sex
3) Lobby for the introduction of free Femidoms and Dental Dams which would help women to protect themselves rather than rely on a man using a condom.
4) Seriously test the ads and the campaigns, some of which still make no sense
5) Develop materials for men who have sex with men; and for heterosexual people who indulge in anal sex
We talked about the refugee/asylum cases in the US, for the people who are gay and/or HIV positive. People said that even though there was homophobia in Guyana, it was different for different people and therefore any person would have to make their own case.
The discussion turned to issues related to 'coming out' to family and friends and to identifying 'what sexuality' one has. Two persons spoke of pressures in dealing with their mothers, who they felt were in denial.
Sexuality and child sexual abuseThe question was asked about the relationship between child sexual abuse and whether that makes someone gay. People felt that there was no correlation, though some persons felt that there was a direct linkage between child sexual abuse and determining a sexual identity. This part of the discussion was rough, as we had to come to grips with painful childhood experiences of some of the people. We were glad that people felt comfortable to talk about things which were on their mind..
Film FestivalPeople felt that the idea of showign some films was a good one, though we were all stumped as to how to get the films. There were some other ideas for films and people will try to get their contacts. We are working on a list of possible titles. Some people will check local video stores as well.
The next meeting date will be announced later.