ACAS February 2014 Review
As the winter subzero weather continues its stay Toronto, we at ACAS would like to let you know about some of the news and updates that has kept us busy in the month of February.
Queer Asian Youth celebrates its 14th Anniversary:
Did you know that Queer Asian Youth (QAY) started in 2000 as a bubble tea night? From it humble conception, it has grown into the vibrant program it is today. For the past14 years, QAY has created a great impact in the LGBTQ Asian youth community in the Greater Toronto Area.
To celebrate its 14th year Annivesary, QAY, in collaboration with Kapisanan Philippine Centre, held It’s Just a Normal Friday for former and current QAY members to reflect on the years of community building and successes the program, and to look forward to continuing peer empowerment and the development of future Asian leaders in the future. Attendees were treated to fun and food, including entertainment by Jolin Starr, Myan, David Tang, Annie Sun, Ryan Tran, Rai, as well as open-mic, party games, and a slow dance. We would like to thank all the former and present QAY members and our Youth Program Coordinator Mezart Daulet for the amazing work they have done to create a safe space for queer Asian youths in Toronto.
Goodbye Chie, and welcome back Heywon!
We at ACAS would like to say thank you and bid our farewell to Chie Takano-Reeves, our interim Women’s Outreach and Education Coordinator and extend a warm welcome back to Heywon Kim to resume her role with the Women’s Program after her six months CIDA international internship in Thailand at our sister agency Thai National AIDS Foundation. The women’s program had its monthly Movie Popcorn Night on February 20; What a nice way to spend a cold wintry evening to catch up with one another!
Valentine’s Day takes place on February 14th each year, but did you know that persons living with HIV/AIDS often face additional challenges and barriers to negotiate and navigate healthy relationships due to HIV stigma, disclosure, mental health and physical health issues? The Support Program was pleased to hold a successful health promotion workshop on “Healthy Sexual Relationship” facilitated by our community partner, the Committee for Accessible AIDS Treatment’s Newcomer Sexual Health Promotion Project. Thanks to the wonderful facilitators Raj, Linah and Lucy for the amazing session!
AMP2R Study (RHO and Community Consultation Sessions):
ACAS’s Asian MSM Pathways to Resiliency Community-based Research would like to thank all the study participants for making the three community consultation sessions a success. The sessions took place in late January and February, where the research team presented the study’s preliminary findings to confirm the data was accurately captured, and also engaged in a resiliency exercise to help the research team better understand the pathways utilized by Asian gay and bi men to become resilient. Also, we would like to congratulate our research team members, co-principal investigators Richard Utama and Maurice Poon, and Christian Hui, AMP2R Research Coordinator on a successful workshop at the Rainbow Health Ontario Conference 2014 to assist service providers to become better able to utilize strengths-based interventions and strategies to empower ethnoracial gay, bi, and MSM communities members.
Register for Sex, Love, Asian, Men 2014:
On behalf of ACAS Men’s Program and theplanning committee and, we would like to invite you to the third S.L.A.M! (Sex. Love. Asian Men!): Sexual Health Forum for and by gay/bi Asian men on Saturday, March 8, 2014.
As Asian men, we were raised with distinct cultural values and beliefs that inform and guide our lives when it comes to talking about sex and sexual health. In a world filled with complex issues and conflicting messages, many of us receive information based on rumour and inaccurate perspectives. As a result, we may act on or make decisions that may lead to negative consequences.This interactive forum has been designed to address some of the issues facing Asian gay and bi men in a fun and safe environment. It will be a great opportunity to discuss and share our experiences, skills and knowledge with our peers of all orientations in the spirit of mutual friendship. By exploring holistic and empowering approaches to our health (physical, emotional, sexual), lifestyles and identities, we as Asian men will be able to reaffirm our place in society.
24 Lies per Second:
ACAS would like to extend a big thank you to Rice Roll Production for hosting 24 Lies per Second, an introductory film-making workshop series for Asian actors & film makers. The series included topics such as Introduction to Acting, Working with Cameras, Plot & Character Development, Working with Directors. The workshop was very well attended and we look forward to seeing more great work from Rice Roll Production and the team of new film-makers!
Founded in 2013, Rice Roll Production aims to share the untold stories from the Asian community by creating online videos, short films, and web-series. We believe in the power of story-telling. We believe in the importance of community building. By collaborating with local artists and our community, we hope to deliver these stories creatively with unabashed honesty.
You can view Rice Roll Production’s videos at http://www.youtube.com/ricerollproduction, and find out more about the amazing team at Tumblr: http://ricerollproduction.tumblr.com/. Rice Roll Production is funded by ARTREACH TORONTO http://www.artreachtoronto.ca/
UNAIDS released its HIV in Asian and the Pacific Report and highlighted some of the areas to focus on related to HIV/AIDS in the region. Here is an excerpt of the report: HIV REMAINS CONCENTRATED AMONG KEY POPULATIONS AND IN CITIES
The fastest-growing epidemics in the region are among men who have sex with men; these epidemics are typically concentrated in major cities. Estimates based on country information indicate that the regional population of men who have sex with men who are at risk of HIV infection ranges from 10.5–27 million. HIV prevalence among men who have sex with men is more than 10% in at least 10 major urban centres. 3 For example, the national prevalence for men who have sex with men in Thailand is estimated to be 7.1%; in Bangkok, levels are estimated to be 24.7%. 4 See the special feature on the issue of men who have sex with men and HIV (page 33).
To view the full report, you can access it here Get the full report here.
ACAS in the Community:
ACAS (Asian Community AIDS Services) and the Thai Embassy join hands to promote well-beings of Thai Workers in Ontario
We would like to congratulate our very own Executive Director, Noulmook Sutdhibhasilp, and our former Asian Migrant Farmworker Coordinator, Romyen Tangsubutra, being recognized by the Thai Embassy for their work with the Asian migrant farmworker population in Ontario, and got the opportunity to meet with Ambassador Pisan and his team to share their experiences on promoting the well-being of migrant workers. Noulmook’s dedication and hard work at ACAS, raising health awareness particularly on HIV/AIDS and other kinds of transmittable diseases, has been deeply appreciated by the Thai seasonal workers in Southern Ontario. After a very fruitful discussion, Ambassador Pisan commended the contribution of ACAS to Thai workers and gave his full support to the work of Noulmook, outlining the plan to further extend ACAS outreach to cover as many as possible the Thai workers in Southern Ontario. You can read more about the work of ACAS with the Asian Migrant Farmworkers here: http://www.thaiembassy.ca/en/about-embassy/news-and-announcements/?id=101
ACAS would like to congratulate Fife House for it’s 25th years of exceptional work providing housing services to people living with HIV and continue to be a leader in the field. With that said, ACAS is looking forward to celebrate our very own 20th anniversary this year. Stay tuned for the official announcement coming up soon!