Community-led workshops are one feature returning to this year’s conference that we haven’t seen in a while. Our workshops will be facilitated by extremely capable and knowledgeable brothers and each workshop will be offered twice so you can attend more than one. I know that these men will make your time in the workshop worthwhile.
In addition to our community-led workshops, John Stasio will be offering a workshop for the entire gathering that will further explore his keynote address on Community.
Scott Dillard, 2014 Fall Conference Convener
Beginning Again…Reflections of Life on the Edge
Dennis Van Avery
The gift of a tragedy is that it can take you to a space in your life where you have never been before; a place to begin again. Our “tragic” experiences remain our own: a loss of Self, a life with HIV, a loss of dear love, growing old, an addiction, or leaving the world of work.
In this workshop, we will focus on our own journeys during a guided process. Using silence and sharing in a mutually supportive manner, we will reflect on: : awareness, blame, courage, help, humility, the losses, the cracks, and the Openings.
Beyond Gay Marriage:
Alternate Forms of Family Life for Gay Men
How do you say family for gay men? The institution of heterosexual marriage has a long history grounded in property rights for the male and submission/assent by the female party. The roots of this institution go back several millennia. Although modern western ideas of marriage have moved more toward the partnership concept and greater equality, there are serious hangovers in many areas both legally and in traditions. In many US religions, there is still a clause about “obey and until death do us part.” It is usually the female who is the party with less power. Since most gay men are raised by heterosexual couples or single parents, much of the unconscious as well as conscious thinking about marriage is based on the dominant cultural norms. Although a strong case can be made that heterosexual marriage has been a failing institution for at least 100 years, many gay men are now basing their committed relationships on that model. The push for legal gay marriage can be seen as acculturating a minority group into the dominant culture. However, for many, if not most, gay men, the current heterosexual model of marriage and family does not seem appropriate, functional, or even desirable. Fortunately, there are other evolving models, some of which have been around for a while in quiet ways. This workshop will examine alternate ways of conceiving of gay family, including partnering, open relationships, polyamorous lifestyles, communal families, and ways of developing a chosen family. Really, it is all about getting and giving the love that we need.
From Plague to PrEP: The Evolution of HIV Within Our Community
Bob Strain & David Salyer
Condoms, safer sex, Rock Hudson, ACT UP, drug cocktails, undetectable viral loads and barebacking…. HIV has been part of our consciousness since those first cases of AIDS were identified in 1981. How well have we navigated fear, stigmatization, and overwhelming loss? Is HIV the elephant in the room at GSV? Do people living with HIV feel invisible here?
If you’re ready to share ideas, opinions, and experiences about life with the virus, then join us for a guided conversation about all this and more—including slut shaming and the revolutionary emergence of PrEP, the pre-exposure prophylaxis pill that blocks the transmission of HIV.
The session is open to anyone, infected or affected by HIV.