For many students, sex is an important part of their lives. Often, young people in a city like Montreal are very open and honest when they talk about sex. However, in some countries, some people are shy or uncomfortable talking about sex. Unfortunately, if they don’t talk about or learn about sex, then they have a higher risk of problems resulting from it.

» Safer Sex

If you are sexually active, it is very important that you understand all the information you can about safer sex. Safer sex means having sex in ways that reduce the risk of transmitting STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) such as Herpes, Hepatitis B, HIV/AIDS, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, or Syphilis. We say “safer sex” because all sexual activity has some risk – there is no 100% “safe” sex.

Using condoms is one of the safest ways to have sex, reducing the risk. You can buy condoms in any drug store, and it is not just the responsibility of the man to buy them. If you are a sexually active woman who has sex with men, you should be prepared to buy condoms, too. If you would like more information about how to use a condom correctly and safely, read this page and watch the animation video. There are also many other ways to enjoy low-risk sex. Even if you have never had sex before, or if your partner says he/she has never, you should practice safer sex, and it is important to talk about safer sex with your sexual partner before you have sex.

To get more information about safer sex, please read this pamphlet from Concordia Health Services about Safer Sex.

» Birth Control (Contraception)

Ask yourself this question: Do I want to have a baby right now? If you answer no, and you are a man or a woman who is having sex, then birth control is your responsibility. For men, condoms are very important to protect you and your sexual partner from STDs (sexually transmitted diseases), and they are effective to prevent pregnancy, too. However, they are not a 100% perfect. One of the safest ways to make sure a woman doesn’t get pregnant is to use birth control pills (oral contraceptives).

To get birth control pills, all a woman needs is a prescription from a doctor.  You can get a prescription from a doctor at Concordia Health Services easily and confidentially, without anyone else knowing about it.

To get more information about birth control, read this pamphlet from Concordia Health Services about Contraception.

» Gays and Lesbians and “Coming Out”

Today, Canada is an open and tolerant society when it comes to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. We have laws to protect them from discrimination and hate. Canadians in same-sex relationships can get legally married in Canada. Cities have large LGBT communities, like the one that is centered in Montreal’s Gay Village. In this city, there are thousands and thousands of LGBT people. They have every job – they are doctors, lawyers, business people, students, teachers, artists, musicians, business people and politicians. They are proud, hard-working members of our city.

Montreal has many immigrants, and as a result, there are LGBT people here from almost every country in the world. There are groups and associations of LGBT people who speak many different language. Here are some groups:

AGIR – a group supporting LGBT refugees, immigrants and newcomers
Arc-en-ciel d’Afrique
– a group forLGBT people from Africa or the Caribbean
Au-delà de l’arc-en-cie
l (ADA) – a Spanish-speaking group
GLAM – a group for
Helem Montreal
– an Arabic-speaking group
is an annual conference that brings together Montreal’s LGBT ethnic minorities and aboriginals. It is held in September.

You can find most of these groups on Facebook.

In Montreal, LGBT people can live openly without hiding or being afraid. This means they are “out” – they don’t hide “in the closet”. They tell their friends and stop lying about who they are. “Coming out” is a difficult decision for young LGBT people. They are often afraid that their friends or family will reject them. It is especially hard because they are alone, and they have no one to talk to about it.

If you think you may be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, or if you aren’t sure and you want to know, or if you would just like to ask some questions, you can get support.

You can call the Gay Line, a telephone number to get information in English: 514-866-5090

Queer McGill is the university’s LGBT club.

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