A New Look at Homophobia and Heterosexism in Canada

In 2002 the United Nations chose “Stigma and Discrimination”as the theme for World AIDS Day and AIDS Awareness activities in 2002/2003. In light of this theme, CAS has chosen to renew its 1991 materials addressing homophobia and heterosexism because of their relevance and the continued effect of homophobia on Canadian community-based AIDS work. This document represents part of what CAS hopes will be an ongoing discussion of homophobia in Canada.

The original 1991 document had at its core an understanding that confronting homophobia and heterosexism is essential to confronting HIV/AIDS. The main discussion focused on how heterosexism had shaped institutional responses to AIDS, and the early response of gay and lesbian communities to AIDS.

Research has indicated clearly that homophobia undermines our ability to adequately address HIV infection. Homophobia is a risk factor in HIV prevention and care. Confronting, reducing and eliminating homophobia and heterosexism are crucial in any systemic approach to HIV infection in Canada.