Grupo de Incentivo a Vida (GIV) works with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Sao Paolo Brazil. Fernanda, a GIV pro bono rights lawyer says that “Mobilizing these key populations means more people can live with dignity and respect”
As an extension of their ‘Young Living Project’, GIV created a virtual space on Facebook in which LGBT youth can interact, obtain information on updated HIV prevention methods, and on fighting prejudice and discrimination based on sexual orientation, identity and gender expression.
Murilo Mariano from GIV shared some insights on the project with HIV Advocates.
How is a ‘virtual project’ different from a ‘real world’ project?
Similar to ‘real-world’ projects we aim to create spaces that establish a platform for mutual understanding and celebration of young LGBT identity. In our HIV prevention work, we do not impose behaviour norms, but respect and recognize people as complex, multi-faceted individuals who are not just another ‘HIV/AIDS statistic’. The pros of working within the virtual world is that there are no power relations and a horizontal discussion amongst equals can take place.
Why did you decide to focus on youth?
Being an adolescent or youth is to face endless adversities and conflicts. This period can be even more painful and lonely for LGBT people. Issues on acceptance from family, friends and society, and negotiating new sexual relationships make this group especially vulnerable. Providing a space for open and non-judgmental discussion helps them to strengthen their identity and self esteem so that they can live within a society that often does not know how to deal with difference.
How important is identity and self esteem in HIV/AIDS prevention work?
In order to discuss HIV/AIDS prevention, it is first needed to consider the way that individuals view themselves and the extent that they seem themselves as part of citizenry. So strengthening LGBT and youth identity becomes a constant and permanent activity for raising and maintaining other discussions.
On our FB page, we post movies, cultural events, and run social media contests such as ‘Homophobia Out of Fashion’ so that we can create a space where homosexuality is normalized.
Information shared on sexual orientation, identity and gender expression.
How does GIV’s Young Living Project inspire activism amongst youth LGBT population in Brazil?
We encourage youth to have a political stance through the dissemination of events, lectures and manifestations in order to show them the importance of LGBT activism as a way of exercising citizenship, protecting their rights and transforming their society.
The participants also are encouraged to post incidences of violence and experiences of prejudice and discrimination. We see this as a documentation process that can call public and official attention to the reality of homophobia and HIV-related discrimination.
“Through this group, it is possible to get to know ourselves better, share our viewpoints and provide ourselves with tools that will keep us away from several vulnerabilities. We will also talk about protecting ourselves from homophobia, construct our sexual orientation and gender identities, protect our rights and discuss how we want to be seen by society.
It is our space.
Let´s get to know ourselves better. Let’s have fun and learn. Share your favorite music and movies; share your viewpoints about the world. Clear your doubts and bring us your questions”. Young Living Facebook Description
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