Posters in Population
Peoples of diverse gender and cultural backgrounds are often under-represented or left out of messaging when it comes to matters of health or in some cases, the message itself can be quite disenfranchising given the diversity of belief and understanding.
We wanted a better depiction of how important the diverse voices, appearances and views of our community are, whilst also highlighting some of the barriers people can have in striving for their own physical and emotional health.
The Ending HIV Poster in Population project came about after listening to the voices of our diverse LGBTQIA+ community in Aotearoa New Zealand and hearing that there was a lack of representation in our work. We are passionately committed to working hand in hand with partners, learning with and from them and moving forward together - toward an Aotearoa without HIV transmission. But we can’t do that together if we’re only speaking with one voice and perspective.
Take a look at the beautiful portraits and stories below. This series of health posters has been translated into various languages, including: Te Reo Māori, Samoan, Tongan, Fijian, Hindi, Spanish, Khmer, Chinese and Dhivehi.
Photographer:Russ Flatt (Ngāti Kahungunu)
Shaneel Shavneel Lal
He/Him. iTaukei and Girmitiya descendant.
Historically, Indigenous people of the Pacific have celebrated queer people which involuntarily came to end during colonisation.
My great grandmother tells me, I am her hope and the colonisers nightmare so when I grew up queer, she became hopeful but couldn’t celebrate that in me.
Pacific communities remain underrepresented in queer spaces as the contemporary queer community is built on the ideals of toxic conventional beauty and masculinity which actively subverts diversity. But when being queer meets being Indigenous and immigrant, intersectional representations matters.
The “Posters in Population” project aims to promote safe and healthy sex through engaging ethnic communities in HIV prevention, testing and treatment services, while, representing ethnic communities in health spaces to end stigma and discrimination towards HIV. I encourage all men who engage in homosexual sex to use a condom and get tested!
Piripi Mackie a.k.a. Misty Frequency
They/Them. Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngā Rauru, Ngāi Tahu.
I'm a visual and performance artist and 1/3 of performance group Whaea and The Rumble.
My prevention methods for safe sex are PrEP and condoms.
I would consider myself an independent, strong-willed individual. At 32, I believe I’ve accomplished many things - things individuals at my age still dream of doing. I’m an individual with multiple interests and talents and I’ve yet to achieve much more while my ticker keeps me going.
Taking chances and risks is the game I play with life. Leaving home at the age of 20 to look for a better life outside of South Africa was my main prerogative. Country hopping, working and living abroad until the age of 26, I knew the time for stability was on the horizon.
I stumbled upon New Zealand and knew this was the country I’d like to officially call home. Six years later and here I am today, doing my best to represent this beautiful country and its people.
I chose to be part of this project because no matter the colour of your skin or the heritage you bring with yourself, we are all one - but one of a kind. These pictures you see are all black and white, no matter the clothes you wear, we are all portrayed as one.
Being in New Zealand for 6 years I’ve experienced lots of cultural conflicts between the gay community and think it’s time we all stood together. Coming from a country where I experienced the Apartheid (racism) up until the age of 7 - it can be like living the same way, except in our own gay community. As a community fighting for all sorts of rights around the world, we should be focusing our energies on those hard issues. Culture differences should not be an added issue to fight for in our own community, adding to the list of issues we’re already fighting for.
He/Him. Samoan, Chinese, Spanish, German.
I was born in Auckland, New Zealand. At the age of 3, my family decided to move to Samoa to raise my brother and I. Whilst living in the islands I spent a few years in American Samoa, commonly known as Pago Pago and then moved to Apia the capital of Western Samoa where I lived in a small riverside house in Lelata.
It was important to my mother that her children experience life with our extended family and be immersed in the culture. It was a humbling upbringing that I am very thankful for, as it taught me the fundamentals of respect, putting family first and to appreciate the smaller things in life. I was surrounded by cultural protocol and religion, which in turn has grounded me throughout my life as a cis Samoan man.
My reasons for being a part of this project was to show a familiar face for our pacific peoples, especially for the cis men. To show that we can be accepted and live a happy life being openly gay in New Zealand, while also setting a trend, hopefully, for our brothers and sisters in the islands.
To help change these prejudices there needs to be greater awareness and education of LGBTQIA+ people in the Pacific and wider communities, so that there can be informed discussions, and we can ensure people get access to the right services and information.
My preferred prevention method when it comes to sex would be condoms and PrEP.
Protecting myself as well as my sexual partners is a priority.
Also, having open dialogue with each other is so important.
Miss Trinity Ice
She/Her. Maori, Cook Island.
My name is Miss Trinity Ice, I’m a trans woman of colour that does drag and I’m heavily involved in my community. As a performer and advocate for my community, I believe it’s vital to spread the message about safe sex and crush those stigmas related to it. Hence why, when this campaign came about, I was so keen to back it 150%.
NZAF does such amazing work and need us on the frontline pushing it even further.
In regards to prevention, I use condoms regularly and get regular check ups at the doctors, to make sure I’m in tip top shape.
He/Him. Latin American (Argentina)
My name is Leandro, I'm 38 years old and am from Buenos Aires, Argentina. I am very passionate about fashion. I have been fortunate enough to make a living off it for 8 years. I work as a hairstylist and, as it turns out, I'm quite good at it!
By a twist of fate, I came to New Zealand to experience living in a different country and speaking a different language to my own. Shortly after arriving in Auckland, I realised how much I liked New Zealand and found some great opportunities while being here.
I love outdoor activities like cycling and going to the beach, so I am definitely in the right place. Having lived in other countries, I've found New Zealand a very diverse place. The Latin American community has been very welcoming, making me feel at home.
One of the things that I like the most about living in NZ is that there are active marketing campaigns to promote a healthy sex life. My preferred prevention method is condoms for full coverage.
He/Him. Chinese Cambodian
I felt that it was important for me to be a part of this project because: in a world where the sexual narrative has been predominantly written by, and experienced by, Europeans under the umbrella of what we call westernisation - it’s easy to feel unrepresented and dissociated.
Being a person of colour/culture is not to say that those who are not of colour don’t have culture - it’s just that often the discoverer, adventurer, or researcher is privileged with the position to give their perspective on other cultures, which then makes it very easy to have an othering or otherness.
Although I’m a Kiwi born Chinese Cambodian and have been in New Zealand my entire life - by default my sexual identity has many layers because of my ancestral heritage, the colour of my skin, as well as my position in the present as a modern-day, proud and open homosexual person of colour.
There is much more context when I take charge of my sexual health because my parents came from a country/culture where LGBT+ bodies are marginalised. Sex is so much more accessible now for young people through the use of dating apps - which is fantastic but that does mean the risks are much higher and staying protected is a necessity.
My preferred method of protection is PrEP and condoms, but mostly PrEP because its a convenient pill that I can take once a day, every day.
They/Them. South Asian
My name is Medulla. I am a permanent resident in NZ, who also happens to be a stateless refugee. I am most notable for being a Drag Queen.
International woman of mystery. Adopted by a wolf pack basking on the shores of the Elegant Isles, in a manner emphatic and free. Siren and Girl Friday to passing pirates. 25% Sugar, 25% spice, 49.95% All Things Nice and 0.05 % trace metabolites. Responsible for the gag reflex. Human rights activist.
Prevention methods: PrEP and condoms.
Ricky Te Akau
He/Him. NZ Māori, Pakeha, Dutch, Irish. Ngāti Tuwharetoa (Ngāti Hinemihi, Ngāti Turumakina) Waikato Tainui (Ngaati Maahanga)
Working in the LGBTQIA+ space has its ups and downs. Dealing with self, individuals, collectives, whānau, cultural differences, minorities and emotions all bring their own set of special circumstances or nuances.
In a world where diversity is often frowned upon, celebration of these differences should be all that more regular. Health, and in particular sexual health, is a priority and not always a given. Entitlement is varied, when it should be more standardised - in the sense that it should be more equitable.
Ahakoa nō hea, ahakoa kō wai? He tangata! Irrespective of where you are from or who you are, you are ‘people!’
Empowering the individual gives strength to the community - so, given the beauty of each of us, we are perfect in each and every way.
I believe in choice and given there is the option of combination prevention where: condoms, PrEP (Pre Exposure Prophylaxis) and U=U (Undetectable = Untransmittable) are all a part of that choice.
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