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.
There are heaps of ways to get social in the gay community. There are specific queer nights, gay and lesbian social groups, sporting or outdoor activities and a range of community events happening – basically there is always something going on. Some of the bigger community events include Midsumma Festival which starts in January and includes both a Pride March and a Carnival day; the Melbourne Queer Film Festival and the Chillout Festival (held in Daylesford) kick off around March each year and many more festivals (e.g., Southern Hibernation for bears, AWOL for those into leather) occur throughout the year – all of which are great ways to get involved and meet people. The best way to stay on top of what events are coming up around town is to check out MCV and the Star Observer as well as Samesame.com.au
If festivals are not your thing then there are other places to connect with people. Try checking out some of the bars or nightclubs around the Collingwood and St Kilda areas, such as the Peel, the Greyhound Hotel, Sircuit or the Laird. There is always the option of trying a sauna or sex on premises venue such as Wet on Wellington or Subway Sauna if you want to hook up with Mr right or Mr tonight. You can also always meet people online through gay social networking sites, such as Grindr, Aussiemen and Scruff (just to name a few).
If you enjoy getting hot and sweaty whilst playing sports or just being outdoors, there are quite a few social sporting groups around Victoria. The Nomads Outdoors Group are a social outdoors group for gay and gay-friendly men who go for walks, hikes or even skiing. For other organised sports, a good place to start is Team Melbourne, the GLBTIQ sports alliance of Melbourne, which is an umbrella group consisting of several other social sporting groups.
You can consider Team Melbourne your one stop shop on all queer sports and recreation scenes in Melbourne. It is also a part of the Gay and Lesbian International Sports Association (GLISA) as well as the Federation of Gay Games (FGG). Don’t let all these associations scare you off though, even if you’re just looking for a casual game or you fancy a run around in the park, there’s something for everyone! See below for a list of all the teams they’ve got:
Another way to meet people is to participate in a workshop. If you feel like you might want to participate in a workshop and get some sound information and advice while having fun with a great bunch of guys, then check out the Thorne Habour Health website and check out our fun and FREE workshops.
Why should you be social?
Well, we previously talked about isolation so getting out and about is a great way of avoiding this. Despite what you may feel, you are not the only gay in the village, and there is a lot of help available to support you. The mental health benefits of being socially connected are endless, and research has shown that physical health is also benefitted by higher levels of social interaction.