Worried about Christmas? Help is here...

keep-calm-nearly-christmasChristmas can be a hard time of year for women partners of bi and gay men.

For women in and around Sydney, we can let you know of a great new course ‘Preparing for the Silly Season’ – a six week course to help people prepare for Christmas and make this year different.

It will be run by Leichhardt Women's Health Centre and the whole aim is to provide you with some new skills to help manage:

  • Difficult relationships with family and friends
  • Excessive or harmful behaviours such as over-drinking, over-spending, substance use
  • Awkward or hurtful situations and emotions

The skills learned will not only help for Christmas, but will be skills for life.

Thursdays 2.30-4.30pm, 10 November to 15 December.

The program looks like this:

Week 1:  Budgeting

Week 2:  Skills and techniques to manage difficult emotions and stress

Week 3:  Understanding and handling difficult relationships (family and friends)

Week 4: Understanding and managing excessive behaviours (eg drinking, love and sex, eating – yours and other people)

Week 5: Managing other difficult situations that arise at this time (grief and loss, change)

Week 6: Pulling it all together

Week 7: Optional refresher group 22/12/16

Call to book in: 9560 3011

Medical breakthrough - Prevent HIV

prep-pozhetAs part of a new study, the EPIC-NSW Research Study, a treatment known as pre-exposure prophylaxis HIV treatment (PrEP) will be available for all people who are HIV negative but at high risk of acquiring HIV. This can include women whose male partners are having sex with men.

PrEP is an antiretroviral medication that is taken by HIV negative people to prevent HIV infection.  Studies from around the world have shown that if taken daily, PrEP works.

PrEP is a very effective HIV prevention tool.  It is an exciting medical advancement for anyone who might be at high risk of acquiring HIV.

If you think you, or someone you know, may benefit from PrEP, don't delay - visit Pozhet's website for more information: http://pozhet.org.au/prep/


Is your Pap test up to date?

how-often-should-i-have-pap-test-pinkDid you know that most women diagnosed with cervical cancer in Australia, have not had regular pap tests. If you’re aged between 18 and 69 years and have ever been sexually active you need to have a Pap test every two years, even if you’ve had the cervical cancer vaccine.  Make an appointment with one of our GPs or our nurse today. Contact us to make your appointment.

If you're somewhere else in NSW, visit your local GP or, if your partner is attracted to men, you could be eligible to visit your nearest sexual health clinic. For sexual health clinics in NSW, go to: http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/sexualhealth/pages/sexual-health-clinics.aspx


Have straight spouses been trapped in a time warp, which will in time dissipate?

This article about gay men in straight marriages is from the Huffington Post August 2014. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/william-dameron/gay-men-straight-marriage_b_4550705.html?ir=Australia. Contact us for support.

Gay Men, Straight Marriages: The Lost Generation

Posted: 08/01/2014 08:18 AEST Updated: 09/03/2014 20:59 AEST

My friends Alex and Michael are in a loveless relationship. They rarely have sex and trust has been drained to the point that Alex monitors all of Michael's e-mails, texts and phone calls. Michael had an affair several years ago and confessed this to Alex. Before the affair occurred they adopted a child and for the sake of the child, they continue to exist in a relationship that is at best a business arrangement and at worst, mentally damaging. Alex thinks that they should stay together because so much time has been invested in the relationship and Michael wants to split up, but is afraid of the stigma that the divorce will bring. He has admitted that he is not in love with Alex.

They have tried marriage counseling, but even the counselor agrees that their marriage was never fully functioning and most likely never will be. Michael has a secret that he has shared with Alex. Michael is attracted to women and indeed had an affair with a woman several years ago.

Why do they stay together? They remain in the relationship because they made a commitment and will stick by it. Society has told Michael that only same-sex relationships are valid and that opposite sex attraction is an abomination. Michael is afraid that if he comes out as "straight" to his family they will disown him and that his church will ex-communicate him. But he knows deep in his soul that he can only truly romantically love a woman.

This sounds like an impossibly unbelievable scenario, doesn't it? How could we expect a straight man to marry, have sex with and raise children with a gay man? But I hear of this happening every single day, not with two men, but with a gay man and a straight woman. While the names above are fictional, the plot is not.

Your background, generation and religious upbringing will likely shape the way you view this story. You will either be outraged by the insinuation that same sex marriages could be viewed as normal or outraged that we ever brainwashed our children into believing that being gay was a disease which could be cured and that happiness could only be achieved through an unhealthy marriage. Whatever your background, you will most likely agree that a straight man and a gay man should not remain in a marriage together. Why should it be any different between a gay man and a straight woman?

Since my last post "Is My Husband Gay? The Other Side of the Closet." I have heard from many closeted gay men who are in long term marriages to women. They are part of a generation that has been left behind by the progression in public opinion towards gays and trapped in a time warp that prevents them from making a change. They are wracked with guilt, self-hatred and have a fear of the unknown.

They ask me for advice and all that I can tell them is that sometimes it is necessary to look at the puzzle from a different angle in order to see the solution. The end of a long term relationship can be the most difficult, heart-breaking and sad thing that any couple may endure and every spouse deserves the time and support necessary to heal and move on. But, it is time to stop expecting any couple in an unhealthy relationship to maintain it and it is also time to stop suggesting that it is all about sex. Just as we would never tell a straight man that his desire to love a woman is only about sex the same is true for gay men and women.

As marriage equality and gay rights continue to progress, instances of these marriages will dissipate. But there is a generation of marriages lost in the middle. If the story above about Alex and Michael strikes you as preposterous, good, that is the first step into understanding that marriage equality means that all marriages should afford the opportunity for both spouses to be equally happy.

Protect yourself from HIV... Yes, that's you...

Did you know that women partners of same sex attracted men can be at risk of some of the worst outcomes when it comes to HIV? And it's because not only can they be at risk of contracting HIV, but they often don't know they're at risk and consequently aren't tested and don't start treatment early. All the evidence about HIV is now that it's a manageable health condition if it's detected early and treatment is started, early. NSW Health has lots of information about preventing and treating HIV. Click here for details: http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/endinghiv/Pages/public.aspx