October, 2010 / Author:

New website aims to help Winnipeggers get it on  

A new website set to launch on National Coming Out Day aims to give a deeper meaning to the phrase, “Get it on!” For years the GLBTT* Sexual Health Promotion Coalition’s website at www.getiton.ca has used the phrase as a logo to remind the queer community of the importance of using protection such as condoms. On Oct. 11, the coalition will launch a completely revamped version of the website with enriched information and a wealth of additional resources.

“The website will include a vast array of info, covering topics such as healthy sexuality, gender orientation and sexual identity, homophobia, heterosexism, oppression, safer sex and harm reduction, sexually transmitted infections, relationships, support systems, and mental health,” said Chad Smith, executive director of Rainbow Resource Centre, one of the coalition’s member organizations.

Smith said the website’s content will be specifically tailored for a queer audience, something he believes is important. “While we are a large city, we can sometimes still be a small city,” he said. “Often in the community, members know each other and that can create challenges in talking about and acknowledging issues. For instance, we often do not talk about abusive relationships, which isn’t healthy or helpful to our community. Silence can create an atmosphere of condoning for some and, for others, create a false belief that this doesn’t happen in our community.”

The website will offer the queer community access to information and resources that can be difficult to access through mainstream sources. “So many topics and issues are written from a heterosexist view, geared only towards a heterosexual audience,” he said. “While some issues may be similar, there are many differences when you are a member of a sexual or gender minority that doesn’t show up in these sources. The impact of homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, coming out – loss of relationships and family for being who you really are – often aren’t reflected in these sources or in the information and referrals they give.”

The information will go far beyond the current website’s main focus of preventing the spread of HIV and syphilis among gay men. “With this amazing new site, we can reach all members of our community from different sexual orientations and genders in a meaningful way that will create all-around healthier lives in the physical, spiritual, emotional and psychological senses,” he said.

Smith said the coalition works to build awareness of health issues affecting the queer community, promote sexual health, and prevent sexually transmitted infections. It also works to bring together the queer community and its supporters to share knowledge, resources and experience.

For more information, visit www.getiton.ca. If you have a question about healthy sexuality and need someone to ask, call the confidential info line at 945-2437.

– Ryan Crocker is a professional journalist working in Winnipeg. To comment on this or any other article in Outwords, write to letters@outwords.ca.

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