So… Being a kinky dyke, I’m kind of swimming in safer sex stuff all the time. Which doesn’t mean that I and others don’t screw things up on occasion. I’ve mopped up the last traces of blood play after taking my gloves off, for example. I’ve had unprotected sex with a hook-up in my early 20s, and I’m aware that fluid bonding, while it’s a harm-reduction method, isn’t necessarily as safe-making as we’d like to think it is. I’ve known more than one woman who accidentally got her girlfriend pregnant because, contrary to popular belief, T-blockers aren’t a particularly effective form of birth control. (Maybe someone who’s on them can shoot me some stats about that?)
None the less, I tend to forget that us Queerdos get a LOT more safer-sex-ed targetted at us as adults than the het population does. Which is… funny, really, given how much hetero sex is the default assumption, particularly during one’s teens when that’s all you get in school (and everywhere, but really: school).
Anyway. With all of the above in mind, here’s a little tiny bit of local information that may be relevant to Ottawa people’s interests:
Places where You Can Get Free Condoms (and other barrier protection) + not-so-free Emergency Contraception:
The AIDS Committee of Ottawa (ACO) – will GIVE you roll-on condoms, insertable condoms, and dams if you just go in an ask. BYO trick-or-treat bag. :-) It’s at 251 Bank St, between Cooper and Lisgar, on the 7th floor.
Planned Parenthood Ottawa will give you free roll-on condoms and cheap/free insertable condoms. Not sure if they’ve got dams or not. They may have emergency contraception (2-pill version) available at reduced rates, but call to make sure. They’re on Riverside, just off Bank.
Community Health Centres (link goes to a list of Ottawa CHCs) routinely make roll-on condoms available free-for-the-taking in their rest rooms and/or by request.
The Sexual Health Centre at 179 Clarence will hand out free condoms and has Plan B (specifially that brand) available. They can also do IUD insertion and may have hormonal (I think) contraception available at reduced cost if you qualify.
If you are under 25 and street involved, the Youth Services Bureau on Besserer St, near the Redeau Centre, has a couple of regular sexual health clinic-nights (via Ottawa Public Health) and also has safer sex supplies – including latex dams + roll-on and insertable condoms – available through their HIV/HepC Prevention Education Program and their Youth Health Clinic.
Call your neighbourhood pharmacy to ask if they have over-the-counter (2-pill method) emergency contraception available (assume $35-$40/dose).
PLEASE FEEL FREE TO ADD TO THE ABOVE LIST.
RELATED: Here is a handy cartoon that explains how Emergency Contraception works.
The Sexual Health Clinic at 179 Clarence Street can do rapid, anonymous HIV testing, plus tests for All The Things – although most of them will take up to three weeks to get results.
Ottawa Sexual Health has a number of satelite clinics (include youth-specific and gay-men-specific ones) around town, the list of-which is available about 1/3 of the way down this page. They offering confidential STI testing though not specifically “rapid” or “annonymous” HIV testing.
Your local CHC will also do STI testing but, depending on your risk level and how many tests you want done, they may suggest that you go to the Sexual Health Clinic (E.G.: If you are “low risk” and want a batery of tests for Peace of Mind reasons, you may want to just go straight to Clarence Street).
PEP – Post-Exposure Prophylaxis – is available at an emergency room near you and can be obtained – sometimes with difficulty, so don’t take No for an answer – if you are worried that you may have been exposed to HIV.
Abortions, Carrying To Term, and Other Stuff:
The Morgentaler Clinic – covered by OHIP, among other things.
Sister Zeus – An online compendium of fertility-related Herbal Stuff that may be of interest to you or people you know. NOTE: You may wish to consult your doctor, if you want to go this route as, iirc, measurements aren’t particularly exact. (Check and see, I could be wrong).
If you are pregnant and want to carry to term, you might want to talk to some of the many midwives in the Ottawa area. Or go with an Ob/Gyn, that works, too. :-)
The Ottawa Fertility Centre has a page about acquiring sperm if you want to get pregnant but don’t have a donor/co-parent involved already.
So Maggie Mayhem has this post about “Women by the Wayside”. It’s a post about the cultural narrative we have about “women on the road”. But it’s also a post about the cultural narrative that we have about women who exercise agency and autonomy when it comes to our own bodies and what we do with them.
“There’s the rub, right? Whether you’re the woman who dared to stick out a thumb for a ride, tits for the rent, or a tongue for a tab of acid you get that message loud and clear: you’ll get what’s coming to you one way or another.”
It’s not an easy read. I’ve had harder, but be aware: The subject that prompted the post is that of Women disappearing on the highway and getting found in dumpsters. The subject of the post itself is sexwork, stigma and in/visibility. Just be aware of what you’re getting into.
Maggie also says:
“Engaging in sex work as a method of survival is seen as tragic, not victorious. You’re relegated to life in the objective case, not the subjective. When people are committed to the narrative of your context as defeat they will only see you as defeated.”
This is why I’m linking this post right now. Because I think it’s incredibly relevant to what’s going on with #C36.
It’s a post about how, for women who “presume” that we own our own bodies and can make our own choices even when they go against what Patriarchy would want us to do or believe, the presumed (presumed “deserved”?) outcome for us is rape and death.
Go take a look.