Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Pink Shirt Day: Keep it going!

Today is "Pink Shirt Day" - a day to take a stand against bullying in our schools and workplaces. In our work towards equality, we acknowledge the impact of systemic discrimination and promote the right to positive sexual health for all people.

In today's blog, we focus on the LGBT community and how we can keep the "Pink Shirt" spirit going all year long!  

1. Support a Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) in your school

We are proud to host monthly meetings of the Calgary GSA Roundtable for students, teachers, staff, and administrators to meet, network, and share strategies in support of sexual and gender minority youth attending schools in Calgary and surrounding communities. The monthly Roundtable meetings aim to provide resources, supports and connections to schools in order to assist GSAs in creating safe, inclusive, and equitable school environments for sexual and gender minority students, questioning students, and students from same-sex parented families.

If you want to start a GSA in your school, or if you want to share ideas and visions for your GSA, please connect with us and attend an upcoming meeting.

2. Create a Culture of Respect (CCOR) at your workplace for LGBT staff

We offer three levels of support to help your organization create a culture of respect: professional training, customized in-service training, and policy development.

We can bring our training session to your location, where we will explore the reality of heterosexism in society and its impact on client service delivery models and practices. Drawing on actual experiences, facilitators work together with participants to identify strategies to create safe and supportive environments for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender clients and co–workers. Contact us for more info.

3. Be an LGBT ally

When people disclose that they are LGBT, it means they care enough about you to be vulnerable and let you into their personal lives. It takes courage to come out so honour the process and offer your support. Listen more than you talk and never disclose a person’s sexual orientation or gender identify to others. It’s not your story to tell.

Just as coming out can be difficult for LGBT people, the coming out process can also affect family members, especially parents who may be struggling to accept their child’s sexual orientation and may worry about how other people will react.

For tips on how to support someone who comes out to you and how to be an LGBT ally, visit us at:

4. Check your language

When was the last time you heard a gay joke? Last week. When someone says something is “totally gay” what are the chances they mean something positive? None. Derogatory jokes and comments about sexual orientation are so common that they have become accepted as part of our everyday language.

So what’s the big deal? Well, these seemingly harmless jokes and remarks are hurtful and send a strong message that being LGBT is unacceptable. They are part of the reason that many LGBT teens don’t dare come out and suffer in silence. It’s called homophobiaMake a pledge to stop using homophobic language, and to take a stand when you hear it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Calgary Gay Straight Alliance Roundtable: What's this all about?

What are the Calgary GSA Roundtable meetings all about?
  • Meetings are held once a month (during the school year) for students, teachers, staff, and administrators to meet, network, and share strategies in support of sexual and gender minority (LGBTQA) youth attending schools in Calgary and surrounding communities.

  • The purpose of these monthly Roundtable Meetings is to provide resources, supports and connections to schools in order to assist GSA’s in creating safe, inclusive, and equitable school environments for sexual and gender minority students, questioning students, and students from same-sex parented families.

  • The Calgary GSA Roundtable meetings are hosted by the Calgary Sexual Health Centre and are supported by a number of different community groups and agencies and school communities.

When is the next meeting?

Our next meeting is on Feb 28th at 6pm.  Check out the poster below for all the details. Please share this info to help us spread the word!

To stay updated and connected, join us or contact us at:

“Calgary GSA Network”
Search for our group on Facebook

Calgary GSA Network Mailing List
(contact Nick Moore at info below)

Alberta GSA Network Listserv:

Questions? Please contact Nick Moore at:
403-283-5580 ext. 308

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Sexual & Reproductive Health Week: FREE Workshops!

This week - from Feb 10-16 - we are marking Sexual & Reproductive Health Week. 

You may have noticed that we are taking part in the "Heart Your Parts" social media campaign, launched by the Canadian Federation for Sexual Health.  Heart Your Parts is about recognizing the importance of your sexual health as part of your overall well being, and working together to build a stronger culture of healthier and happier sex positive individuals engaging in healthy sexual behaviours. 

Join us on Twitter at @YYCSexualHealth and follow the conversation at #HeartYourParts.

In addition to the #HeartYourParts campaign, we are thrilled to be taking part in Sex Week at the University of Calgary. All week long, many local organizations will be hosting workshops, events and activities at the University.  Check this link for the full schedule.

On Monday we had a great time at the Carnival event to kick off Sex Week. Thanks to everyone who stopped by and had some fun with us!

Starting today - which is officially Sexual & Reproductive Health Day - we will begin our roster of FREE workshops at the UofC.  

Here's the details of what we're offering this week:

Modern Masculinity
Tues, Feb 12
3:30 - 4:30 pm
Council Chambers (McEwan Student Centre 280)

Know Your O: Part 1
Wed, Feb 13 
1:00 - 2:00 pm 
Council Chambers (McEwan Student Centre 280)

Know Your O: Part 2 
Wed, Feb 13 
2:30 - 3:30 pm 
Council Chambers (McEwan Student Centre 280)

Porn: A Conversation 
Thurs, Feb 14 
3:30 - 4:30 pm 
Council Chambers (McEwan Student Centre 280)

Gender and the Media  
Thurs, Feb 14  
3:00 - 4:00 pm  
Wellness Centre Classroom (McEwan Student Centre 370)

Be sure to check out these fun and FREE workshops, and the many, many more as detailed in the full schedule at the UofC! 

Happy Sexual & Reproductive Health Week! 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Questions asked during Sex Ed Class - Part 1: STIs

If a person with herpes gives someone oral sex, can the person get herpes on their genitals?

The virus that causes oral herpes is herpes simplex 1. Herpes simplex 2 causes genital herpes.

It is possible for someone with oral herpes (Simplex1) to pass that strain on to the genitals of another person during oral sex. This means that if that person contracts the virus it is a herpes simplex 1 infection on his or her genitals. This type of transmission is rare, but is possible. Usually the outbreaks of sores are milder then with herpes simplex 2 as the virus is not in its own domain.

Why does it burn sometimes when you urinate?

There can be many reasons for this, some serious and some not so serious; however it is recommended to see a doctor immediately if burning persists.

One cause of burning when you pee could be urinary tract or bladder infections (UTI). UTI’s are caused when bacteria enters the urinary tract through the urethra and are usually treated with antibiotics.

Another possibility is a yeast infection, which is usually transmitted by unprotected sexual intercourse with a partner who has a yeast infection, although antibiotics and lubricants with potentially irritating chemicals in them, like the spermicide nonoxynol 9, can also potentially cause them.

Finally, a person may feel burning during urination if they have had unprotected sex with a person who has a sexually transmitted infection, or STI. If a guy thinks he may have an STI, he can look for a discharge from the head of the penis.

An important thing to remember is that the most common symptom of an STI is still no symptom at all, and there are many reasons a person can feel a burning sensation when they urinate. Being on the safe side and going for a doctor’s visit is usually best.

Can you get any STI’s on your hand?

Scabies, which is not solely an STI can infect the skin anywhere on the body including the hand and is spread through any skin-to-skin contact.

There are over 100 types of HPV that can affect a person’s skin. While only certain strains, the sexually transmitted ones, cause genital warts, others cause warts on the hands and feet. These warts can rarely cross over but it is unlikely as the type of wart is not suited for growth in that area.


Can you have more than 1 STI at the same time?

Yes it is possible to contract any STI you come into contact with even if you have one already. You may also contract many at one time. People with compromised immune systems like those with HIV can contract infections easier including sexually transmitted ones.

Are there any ways to see if you or your partner has an STI without going to the doctor?

No. Unfortunately not. A commonality amongst all STI’s is that they can be asymptomatic (no obvious symptoms).  Check our website for where you can go for STI testing.