Staying Negative aims to emotionally engage, inspire and facilitate imagination in sexual health practices. The campaign profiles the real life stories of gay, bisexual and trans men who have sex with men (MSM). Men talk about all aspects of their life from coming out, relationships, sexuality and a broad range of other topics. While HIV and safe sex is an important part of all stories, it is not the exclusive focus.
Prior HIV prevention campaigns have traditionally focused on providing gay men with information that will encourage them to adopt safe sex behaviours. In reality, safe sex practices are influenced by a whole range of environmental and cultural factors. The campaign also provides an opportunity for HIV positive men to talk about their lives and discuss how their strategies to staying HIV negative were not successful. We understand that there is more than one way practice safe sex and adopt healthcare seeking behaviours, so let's be creative about it!
There are no real criteria for participants other than that they are MSM and happy to have their stories appear as part of the campaign. In addition to the personal stories, the website provides information on HIV/AIDS, sexual health, relationships and broad of the other relevant topics including domestic violence, drugs and alcohol and depression.
According to Acon, homophobia can be defined as the “irrational fear, hatred, aversion to or discrimination against people who are homosexual, same sex attracted or perceived to be homosexual or same sex attracted”. Most GLBTIQ people will experience some form of homophobia in their lifetime and it is most likely to be experienced in the street or near the home. There are many kinds of homophobia, including physical or verbal abuse and name calling, workplace homophobia (e.g. being unable to get a job due to being gay or being treated differently in the workplace because you are gay), legislative homophobia (such as the inability for same sex couples to marry), and the list goes on. These have been categorised into three groups.
Internalised homophobia means it exists in our own head. It’s associated with low self esteem due to insecurities in the thought of being gay. It includes actively making an effort to act and dress in a way so as not to appear gay. Even a gay discriminating against another gay for being too gay is a form of homophobia.
Interpersonal homophobia includes the speech and actions of one person to others who are (or thought to be) gay. This includes violence and harassment, name calling and hate crimes. Jokes that put down gay people are forms of interpersonal homophobia as is the suggestion that a gay person should “understand” why they may be treated differently.
Institutional homophobia takes place on an organisational level. This includes instances such as when government, business and churches (among others) discriminate through policy and legislation (marriage equality), fire or prevent gay staff from career opportunities or simply don’t hire them in the first place.
Discrimination due to sexual orientation is illegal. Although exemptions may be granted (e.g., not hiring a gay teacher in a catholic school because they need to hold catholic beliefs which do not include homosexuality) there are actions you can take to protect yourself if you feel you are the victim of homophobia and discrimination. If you are the victim of serious bullying, such as threats or the victim of a hate crime, contact the police. You may be able to proceed with an intervention order against the perpetrator. If you have been the victim of discrimination on an institutional level such as the workplace and you have spoken up about it (or on the behalf of someone else), and feel that you have since lost opportunities because of this, either discuss options with a union representative if you are part of a union, or call Fair Work Australia and discuss it with them directly.