Thursday, November 18, 2010

Montreal's Alternative Lifestyles Community Centre Brings Kink On Campus For World AIDS Week

It was the perfect audience for a frank discussion: young, open-minded, sexually aware & interested in practicing & promoting safe sex.

The discussion? The McGill University Global AIDS Coalition's panel on “Positive Pleasures: the Stigma of Sex Work and HIV/AIDS.”

This year from November 15 to 18, McGill Global AIDS Coalition will be collaborating with other initiatives like CANFAR and Médecins Sans Frontières to conduct World AIDS Week on the McGill University campus. World AIDS Week is a series of events designed to educate the community about issues relating to HIV, global health, and human rights as well as raise money for the Stephen Lewis Foundation.

Add our kinky community’s very own Contessa Alura & her ground-breaking Alternative Lifestyles Community Centre (ALCCVA) and there you have it – a winning mix to get the message out about alternative lifestyles.

Other panel speakers were McGill University’s Dr. Pierre-Paul Tellier, and Dr. Diane Meaghan, an author of books on the international sex trade.

Dr. Tellier, McGill University's Director of Student Health Services, spoke about the questioning gay and lesbian youth he sees in his practice that are all too often forced to turn to what he called “survival sex”, sex that such youth are forced to turn to survive when they end up on the street. He advocated for very early on sex education in our schools, where children would be taught to see the body as a positive thing, something to be proud of.

Dr. Diane Meaghan spoke of a host of very grim statistics around the world of sex trade workers, who in her words are “criminalized and stigmatized” and who are seriously at risk for HIV infections.

Center stage in both placement and also with the young crowd’s attention, Contessa Alura stood up to talk straight talk (so to speak hehe) about BDSM, what it means, about her experiences as a Pro Domme, and also about her ground-breaking ALCCVA organization, which she hopes will be a resource for a vast range of people from alternative lifestyles, from swingers to kinksters and more.

Here is a little blurb about the ALCCVA:

“The ALCCVA is a free and open space where like minded individuals can meet, share, learn, build and create meaningful relationships, discover, and seek information without fear, judgment, or discrimination.”

All this and more made for a very stimulation discussion and certainly raised a few questions in my mind.

Yes, your kinky intrepid & enquiring reporter (known as yours truly) noticed a few blank spaces that needed some filling.

So I mentioned the “b” word. You’re thinking beyaatch, right? lol
In this case the “b” word was bisexual.

As someone who identifies as being bisexual, I was struck by how this important segment in the sex trade and youth was simply not mentioned at all in this public discussion.

Ah there definitely was a reason for this, I soon found out.

Dr. Tellier admitted that bisexual youth were often left out and felt discriminated by both the gay/lesbian and straight communities and were marginalized.

Dr. Meaghan claimed that not many of the sex trade population identify as truly being bisexual. I really question this personally, as I know so many people in our local kinky community, and pro dommes included, DO identify as bisexual. When I chatted with the lovely Contessa Alura after the discussion was over, she told me she was glad that I brought up the bisexual question, during the Q & A part of the evening. She definitely had her own opinions on that.

I was happy to learn that the ALCCVA has a new & freshly growing group for bisexuals. Definitely something I’ll be checking out. We need more voices for our bisexual community in Montreal, that’s for sure.

Something else I brought up during the Q & A session was the tracking & statistics concerning Pro Dommes and the prevalence of HIV infections within that community.

The Contessa advised the crowd that sadly there is a great lack of tracking with this important question. In a perfect world, yes it would be great to have Pro Dommes studied seriously, with their need for protection and proper BDSM safe practices being promoted and encouraged.

As Contessa Alura said, Pro Dommes are starting younger and younger. As I looked at the young crowd around me, I thought about all the youngsters out there paying their way through university with Pro Domme sessions. This was the perfect young crowd to speak to, to reach that segment, I thought.

Contessa Alura mentioned something that I truly hope comes to pass one day. Just as the LGBTQ community is becoming more & more part of the mainstream and not as alternative as it once was, perhaps one day BDSM will also become part of the main and viewed as healthy and “normal”.

That would make for a Brave New World, indeed.

Kinky food for thought,

No comments: