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ACO to bring Totally outRight program to Ottawa

Leadership program to target gay men between 16 and 25

The AIDS Committee of Ottawa will bring Totally outRight to Ottawa in spring 2015. The program targets young gay men between the ages of 16 and 25, training them to be health ambassadors in their communities. Credit: Thinkstock

The AIDS Committee of Ottawa (ACO) will make an important announcement for Ottawa’s young gay population during Pride.

Men’s ethno-cultural resource coordinator Preet Bhogal says ACO plans to bring the Totally outRight program to Ottawa in the spring. The program will train a group of young men as community sexual-health ambassadors.

Developed by the Community-Based Resource Centre in Vancouver in 2005, Totally outRight is run as a four-day workshop targeting young gay men who are interested in becoming leaders in their communities. Run in cities throughout the country, including Toronto and Winnipeg, the workshop teaches communication skills, outreach techniques and strategic solutions. It also focuses on ways young gay men can meet each other outside the traditional bar context.

“Totally outRight Ottawa will be happening,” says Rob Alexander, coordinator of men’s health and wellness. “It’s not specifically [about] HIV and AIDS; it’s around young gay men’s health issues.”

Alexander says the program will bring Ottawa’s young men together and provide the training for them to become health ambassadors for the city’s gay community. “Once they go through the training and finish the program, they’ll be the guys that we’ll be counting on to be out there reaching the young gay men,” he says.

Bhogal says the ACO is in the process of reaching out to other community groups and will be forming a number of partnerships in order to facilitate the workshops.

Xtra is following this story.