‘I am going to use the knowledge I have learned today to discuss with my workmates and peers about how to create media.(1) It was a great opportunity to learn about laws relating to HIV and LGBT and how we can get a message about HIV across using various forms of media’ . This was just one of the comments from a volunteer at Violet Home, in a workshop about HIV, media and the law run by BABSEACLE.

The workshop, on 21 and 22 July, brought together a number of participants from BABSEACLE’s local team, BABSEACLE international legal interns and 12 staff and volunteers from Violet Home. Violet Home is a small community-based, non-profit organization which provides psycho-social support and counselling for men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender (TG) living with HIV or AIDS in Chiang Mai, Thailand. This workshop was designed as just the first step in a year long project aimed at empowering people living with HIV (PLHIV) in Chiang Mai to share their stories and create relevant media to battle the stigma and discrimination they face as well as assist and empower others.

The workshop included discussion and practical tips about creation of various forms of media including posters and brochures, websites and social media sites like Facebook and hi5 as well as numerous online YouTube videos and animations (such as the one BABSEACLE did with partner organisation Mplus https://www.babseacle.org/content/teaching-transgender-victims-sexual-violence-how-access-legal-rights). The workshop also covered various laws relevant to PLHIV, including a discussion about access to Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) and legal barriers to healthcare.

During the workshop, participants even created their own posters with a message about HIV that was relevant for the marginalised communities they work with. Based on this workshop, BABSEACLE and Violet Home are currently creating a poster about HIV and access to treatment which be displayed in over 20 hospitals throughout the Chiang Mai region. Many of the participants enjoyed this cross-cultural collaboration, as it was an ‘opportunity to exchange knowledge, experience and opinions and discuss how different approaches can work best in Thailand’.

“I am looking forward to promoting the issues surrounding MSM and Violet Home to the international community. I look forward to Violet Home and BABSEACLE and other partners working together to make this happen” stated one participant. BABSEACLE is confident that with the skills and experience learned during the workshop (and with the right funding) that this aim can be achieved.

BABSEACLE would like to thank AusAID’s Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development program for the initial grant of funds which made this workshop possible.

(1)  To ensure

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honest and thorough feedback, participants were given an anonymous evaluation form to complete. Quotes taken for this article are based on this anonymous feedback.