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Moving to a new country can be exciting, but the settlement process can be stressful and may take years. Queerspora hopes to provide some ease to GBTQ newcomers during their journey of trying to find their way in a new home and building trust and connections. The project also aims to equip newcomers with sexual health toolkits and knowledge that they can use in their everyday lives in Canada.

Queerspora is a project aimed to mobilize sexual health knowledge and skills within  Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Queer (GBTQ) newcomer communities in their diaspora with an intersectional vision. Queer Diaspora takes into consideration how the re location fromyour original homeland impacts your health outcomes, as well as your understanding of sexuality and sexual health.

The project is led by a queer refugee with ongoing communication of a GBTQ Newcomers Advisory Committee. Between 2019-2021, our focus is on GBTQ newcomers and promoting their sexual health. 

This project is a partnership with Capital Rainbow Refuge, an organization that supported MAX Ottawa's community consultation with GBTQ newcomers by providing guidance and recommendations.

For more details, please read our press release.

Newcomer Health and Settlement Services

If you are looking for services & resources as a queer newcomer, here are some important services you can access. Topics include

  • Health,
  • Employment,
  • Language,
  • Socializing,
  • Entertainment, and
  • HIV basic info

Other GBTQ newcomers have found these services and resources extremely useful during their first year in Ottawa so they were excited to share them with you!

  • Language Service: For health services in your maternal language, visit the Ottawa Newcomer Health Centre located at 219 Argyle Avenue (Lower Level).
  • Mental Health Services: Contact our health and wellness navigators at navigation@maxottawa.ca or by phone at 613.701.6555
  • Mental Health Crisis: Call the 24/7 Distress Centre of Ottawa at 613-238-3311

Finding a job is difficult. Employment Ontario can help! Find the nearest center on their website.


Interested in taking language courses or attending school? YMCA-YWCA can help you with language assessment and referral to classes. Connect with them at 613-238-5462. 


MAX offers a variety of programs, including a creative arts program, support & social groups. 

MAX maintains The List!, a weekly list of friendly queer events.

Centretown Community Health Centre offers a LGBTQ+ Newcomer program every second and last Monday, 5:30pm to 7:30pm. Located at 420 Cooper Street.


  • T's (323 Somerset St. W.)
  • Swizzles (246 B Queen St.)


  • Lookout (41 York St. 2nd Floor)
  • Babylon (317 Bank St.) “Queer friendly”
  • Mercury Lounge (56 Byward Market Square) “Queer friendly”

MAX has a full queer newcomers guide of important services for your settlement alongside with information about HIV that you can view to learn more.  The full guide is available in English, French, Spanish & Arabic.

LINGO: your online sex-friendly guide

Within GBTQ+ communities it often feels as though everyone speaks a different language. This is especially true when you are ONLINE. Words some folks use can mean something completely different to others.  It's always better to ask than assume the definition of the term. To help you become familiar with some of these words, we have made a list of words that are used online - A sex-friendly LINGO guide!

Some terms can carry a stigma and will be marked with an asterisk (*). 

Stigma occurs when society labels someone as tainted or less desirable based on a variety of factors, such as culture, gender, race, and health. Stigma can cause people or communities to make less informed or healthy decisions about accessing help, treatment, or recovery.

For example, we know that HIV has become a manageable disease. People who are on treatment and whose viral loads are undetectable can not spread HIV to other sexual partners. However, there is still a stigma around HIV. Sadly many guys will use terms like "dirty" or "unclean" to be rude or hurtful. For people living with HIV, this can increase feelings of sadness, depression, or loneliness.

Common Phrases

Fun: To hook up or have sex, usually for casual sex

Ghosting: Ignoring a date or hookup's text messages, leading to a cancellation of plans.

Host: The ability to have people come over. “You host” means they’ll only come to you. Use it in a sentence: “I can’t host, I have a roommate.”

Drag Queen, Drag King: A performer who presents as another gender for fun and entertainment. A man performing as a woman can be called a “Drag Queen,” and a woman performing as a man, a “Drag King.”

Discreet or "down-low" (DL): Someone who is not comfortable publicizing their sexuality. They usually do not send pictures of their face to keep their identity private. 

DTF: Down to fuck. Willingness to engage in a short-term, immediate sexual encounter.

Looking?: Are you currently looking for a hookup?”

Mobile/ Travel: It means you can travel to meet by bus,  car, or walk.

What are you into? / What do you like?: “What’s your sexual preference (top/bottom/vers/other) and what do you generally want from a hookup?”

Quickie: quick sex anywhere, sometimes at public places, offices or washrooms.

Sup: What’s up?” - a casual greeting replacing hey, or hello, or hi

Tribe: A classification system based on body type and physical characteristics, such as: Bear, Otter, Twink, Geek, Jock, Daddy, etc...  

Trans/FTM/MTF: Someone whose gender identity is different from the one they were assigned at birth

Rules of Engagement

LTR: Long term relationship. Intimate interpersonal relationships that may be long-term or lifelong.

NSA: No Strings Attached: The desire to have sex without the necessity of a friendship or a relationship.

Open Relationship: Maintaining relationships with multiple partners at the same time. Some people refer to that as polyamory.

Pump and Dump:  A fast, bareback or condomless sexual meeting between two guys.

Substance Use

420-Friendly: Open to recreational use of cannabis, otherwise known as “weed,” “pot,” or “marijuana.”

Booty Bumping: Mixing drugs, such as meth or cocaine, with water and inserting it into your butt.

PnP: ParTy and Play, sometimes referred to as chem-sex, or a question as: You parTy? Sexual activity while under the influence of drugs, such as crystal meth, GHB, or cocaine.

😈Interested in Fun
💩Scat Play 
🐶Puppy Play
🐷Pig Play 
☁️💨Smoke (usually crystal meth)
❄️☃️⛄ Cocaine 
🍆  Penis
💸💵💰Paid for Service
💊 Drugs (usually MDMA)
🚿Golden Shower 
🎊🎉 PnP or Party and Play
🔝 ⬆️ Top
⬇️ Bottom 


Click here to see more and download the full LINGO in English, French, Spanish & Arabic.


Queerspora developed a course that can make you feel more comfortable with your sex life. It can be taken by yourself or with one of our trained volunteers. 

By the end of this course, you will be able to understand: 

  • Why sex is a part of life
  • Consent
  • Sexual communication skills
  • Exploring new kinks and fantasies, and 
  • Tools & combination strategies to stay healthy while having the sex life you want! 

Depending on your preference, you can access the workshop by:

Have any questions about this project? contact us at info@maxottawa.ca.