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Global Forum on MSM and HIV, Speaking Out


Hi, my name is George Ayala and I'm the Executive Director of the Global Forum on MSM and HIV. Today I'd like to tell you about our Speaking Out programme, a global advocacy and capacity building initiative designed to:

  1. Examine how stigma, discrimination, injustice and violence against men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender people undermine the HIV response; and,
  2. Empower MSM and transgender individuals in order to effectively tackle these complex issues on the ground at the local and country level through advocacy.

I'd also like to introduce you to my colleague Noah Metheny, our Director of Policy. I'm very pleased that Noah will be joining me to tell you more about the Speaking Out programme.

Before we delve into the project in more detail, let me tell you just a little bit about our organisation. The Global Forum on MSM and HIV is a constituency-based and driven global network concerned with the health and human rights of MSM around the world. In particular, we work to ensure equitable access to HIV-related services for gay men and MSM and to protect their human rights. We also work to connect MSM advocates from different regions so that there's a healthy exchange of information, ideas and experiences related to addressing these challenges on the ground.

Key Facts

Project: Speaking Out

Run by: The Global Forum on MSM and HIV (MSMGF), in partnership with various local organisations at the country and regional levels

Region: The Middle East and North Africa (MENA region) and Central America; with other funders supporting the project in Vietnam, Cambodia and Kenya

Population: Gay men and other MSM; Transgender individuals

Challenges: Stigma and discrimination; policies and programmes that don’t address MSM or transgender people in the context of general HIV outreach; violence and harassment against gay men, other MSM and transgender people; criminalisation of same sex acts, particularly in certain Middle Eastern and North African countries

Activities: Development of a global advocacy tool kit (2009-2010), which was then translated, adapted and contextualised to meet regional and national needs; Implementation of intensive, local training curriculums based on the adapted content; Funding and technical assistance for breakthrough advocacy initiatives conceptualised during the training sessions