MAX presents at National GBT2Q Men’s Health Summit

MAX Ottawa presented at the 2019 Community-Based Research Centre’s (CBRC) Summit. The Summit is CRBC’s annual two-day event that promotes knowledge exchange and capacity building for gay, bi, trans, Two-Spirit, and queer men’s (GBT2Q) health. This year’s theme was ‘Queering Healthcare Access & Accessibility,’ Over 300 researchers, service providers, community members and organizations were challenged to look at effective solutions to barriers on how to address how guys into guys can access the care they need in a timely and competent manner. 

MAX Ottawa’s participation at this year’s Summit included a stand-alone panel to share the lessons of Spill the Tea, an oral presentation about our PrEP/PEP Strategy and campaign, a poster about the Keeping it 100! Group and an ancillary event, Spill the Tea in Vancouver.

Spill the Tea Panel

MAX Ottawa, ViiV Healthcare and community members from Ottawa presented an integrated Spill the Tea panel on Thursday, October 31st before close to 100 Summit attendees. The panellists discussed the successes and challenges of delivering this community-based intervention and offered adaptable tips to deliver this intervention to other communities. 
They also addressed the successes and challenges of creating and delivering this community-based intervention. They highlighted reasons why initiatives like Spill the Tea are important and how to implement a similar intervention in their communities.

MAX shared its new “How it All Came Together” video with staff and partners speaking to how Spill the Tea went from idea to reality as an effective community intervention. MAX also shared a “How to Host Your Own Spill the Tea” pamphlet with audience members. The video includes Devona Coe, Ottawa Drag Performer, Eric Levitt, MAX Ottawa’s former Harm Reduction Support Coordinator, Davy Sabourin, Chair of Capital Pride, and Robert Alsberry, MAX’s Communications and Outreach Coordinator.

PrEP/PEP Presentation

Matthew Harding, MAX Ottawa’s Community Programs Manager, on Friday, November 1st provided a presentation as part of Structural Approaches for Structural Change in Healthcare Access & Accessibility. Matt shared details of PrEP/PEP partnership table MAX is a part of.

He also showcased Equip Yourself, a new education campaign created by and for guys who are into guys (cis and trans) living in the nation’s capital region. The Equip campaign was a result of the work this partnership table does.  Equip provides information on combining sexual health practices and services to promote health, starting with PrEP and PEP access. 

Keeping it 100! poster presentation

The same evening at the Summit reception, MAX Ottawa in partnership with ViiV Healthcare presented “Keeping it 100: Creating Safer Spaces for African, Caribbean, and Black Guys into Guys in Ottawa.” Robert, MAX’s Communications and Outreach Coordinator and K1 co-founder and facilitator, shared with attendees how K1 went from a pilot Community MAXimizer project to become its first successful regular program. He also discussed ways community organizations can empower other leaders to start their own culturally informed initiatives.

The poster included impactful quotes from Taib Boyce, K1’s other co-founder and facilitator and group members who’ve been attending for the past 2 years. 

Spill the Tea

As part of pre-Summit activities, YouthCO, MAX Ottawa, and ViiV Healthcare Canada hosted Vancouver’s first Spill the Tea event on Wednesday, October 30th.  Spill the Tea is a drag intervention that MAX, in partnership with ViiV Healthcare, launched in Ottawa in summer 2018. This innovative community event focus on reducing the stigma associated with sexualized substance use, also known as party and play or PnP.  It also aims to combat the stigma associated with drug use, sex, and HIV amongst cis or trans gay, bisexual, Two-Spirit, queer and other guys into guys (GBT2Q).

Nina Bo’Nina Brown returned to headline at Junction Public House alongside other local performers. Ottawa’s own Devona Coe, who hosted MAX’s Spill the Tea events, was a guest performer. 

Closing thoughts

MAX Ottawa was grateful to share and learn from the Summit’s organizers, speakers, researchers, and attendees. Their knowledge and insights made it a successful and engaging Summit for all! We look forward to 2020.