* This presentation was originally recorded in English. Closed captioning is available in both English and French.
Kiarmin Lari & Louis Lin (Health Initiative for Men) Let’s Talk it Out is a presentation with interactive components that unpacks the complexities of “outness” and highlights queer resilience and resistance to a narrative that can become oppressive for GBT2Q: everyone must be “out” to live an authentic life. This presentation introduces the idea that we don’t have to be “out” to take care of our sexual health, access mental health services, and participate in community. There will be opportunities for participants to share their own experiences with “outness” via chat, as well as through audio and video feeds during the virtual presentation. Some of the reasons why people choose to remain private about their sexual and/or romantic lives can be physical, financial, and/or emotional safety. However, what is missed from the dominant GBT2Q health conversations too often is that for many of us, our understanding of “outness” is rooted in a Western colonial framework. In many cultures, queer people are not expected to tell others about our sexuality even if we are living an openly queer life. In some, having sex with people from the same binary gender doesn’t make us queer. In many countries, homophobia is a product of colonization: here in what is called Canada today, many Indigenous peoples have rich gender roles and sexualities beyond straight, cis men and women and that processes of colonization worked hard to erase. We hope to build empathy for GBT2Q of all outness levels (including participants themselves) by interrogating the oppressive systems that shape discourses around “the closet”, and share some of the best practices identified for service providers and community-based organizations who work with less out clients.