Meeting & Event Ideas

Vivian Namaste

Viviane Namaste has just been given the 2009 Canadian Award for Action on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and Human Rights Watch. Viviane Namaste is Concordia University Research Chair in HIV/AIDS and Sexual Health and an Associate Professor at the Simone de Beauvoir Institute at Concordia University. The honour recognizes her research and activism in the area of HIV/AIDS prevention and services, particularly with regard to bisexuals and transsexuals. Her research examines gaps in our knowledge of HIV/AIDS prevention, considering communities of people affected by HIV/AIDS that have been overlooked to date. One of her current research projects analyzes the HIV prevention needs of people who have sexual relations with both men and women. Results from this research can be found on the project's website, www.polyvalence.ca. This work seeks to connect knowledge and action, and has created relevant posters and educational materials designed to fill the gaps in HIV prevention education. Viviane Namaste has also conducted extensive research on the HIV prevention and service needs of transsexuals, a community often ignored in HIV/AIDS services, prevention campaigns and policy initiatives. In 1995, she conducted a needs assessment of access to health care for transsexuals in Toronto (funded by Project Affirmation of the Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights in Ontario). In 1997-1998, she completed a provincial needs assessments of transsexuals and transvestites in Québec with respect to HIV/AIDS prevention and services. The final report of this research was instrumental in securing funding for community-based health services for transsexuals in Montréal. She has published three academic books with regards to transsexuals and health, with a particular focus on questions of HIV: Invisible Lives: The Erasure of Transsexual and Transgendered People (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), C'était du spectacle! L'histoire des artistes transsexuelles à Montréal, 1955-1985 (Montréal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2005), and Sex Change, Social Change: Reflections on Identity, Institutions, and Imperialism (Toronto: Women's Press, 2005). Her first book, Invisible Lives, won the 2001 Outstanding Book Award of the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights in North America. She has been active in a number of different community organizations with regards to HIV/AIDS. She is a co-founder of a transssexual health project in Montréal, ASTT(e)Q Action Santé Travestis et Transsexuel(le)s du Québec. She sat on the advisory committees of Unlocking Our Futures: National Women, Prison, HIV, and Hepatitis C Study (organized by PASAN, Prisoners' Support Action Network), as well as the Steering Committee of the HIV/AIDS Prevention Project of the Native Friendship Centre of Montréal. She is currently an active member of ACT-UP Paris, an AIDS activist group located in Paris, France.