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Brian Finch
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Brian Finch, Jade Elektra and Jon Chaisson are DIY activists with great projects on the go.
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Positively positive

Brian Finch creates the GWH network to celebrate DIY activism

05.20.2011

The Guys With HIV channel is coming soon! Watch for it. GWH is not your average public-access programming — it features a new breed of HIV-positive guys, ones who are saying no to stigma and discrimination.

(Full disclosure: this network will operate on less than a dime and is the brainchild of my faux production company, Crackhouse Productions.)

GWH’s star-studded lineup will include, first and foremost, OutNPoz, a group dedicated to providing a safe social space for HIV-positive men and women. I meet steering committee members Mike, Tony and Tom in my office — Chew Chew’s, my neighbourhood diner — to discuss an hour-long special I want to air on the group’s founder, Patrick Chevalier, who died last fall. Chevalier’s tireless work has left an amazing legacy. He is the founding father of saying “Yes!” to making a world where we can simply be ourselves. Take note, Gaga.

OutNPoz’s summer barbecues, movie nights, bar nights and website are more fun than any reality show. If you want to be a star, go and volunteer, or simply attend one of these great events.

Harder hitting than the Sun News Network is my self-hosted program, Hard News, Gay Facts, cribbed from my website, Positive Lite. The roster of roving reporters will wed news with comedy to get the message out minus the snooze factor. Watch out, Jon Stewart.

Step beyond MuchMusic and tune in to GWH for the world premiere of Jade Elektra’s bitching hit “H-I-Vogue.” Jade and I whipped up a video for the track in my studio: the iMac in my bedroom. It doesn’t get more DIY than that. “H-I-Vogue” is based on Jade’s husband’s faux-magazine covers, which feature positive community members and celebrities. The proceeds from “H-I-Vogue” go to BlackCAP; watch for remixes on iTunes.

When you want to dance to the track — and believe me, it will make you want to dance — there will be an opportunity, thanks to the newest HIV-positive scene-maker, Jon Chaisson. Chaisson is the creator of the inaugural Poz ’n’ Sexy night, a dance party for HIV-positive men and women and their friends, allies and admirers. He is the new generation of OutNPoz, and for my new channel, the more the better.

Profits from this fun and sexy night will be donated to Positive Youth Outreach, an ACT program run for and by HIV-positive youth. Shake your butt to dance, house, top-40 remixes and tunes from the ’80s and ’90s alongside the freshly cast and smoking-hot Poz ’n’ Sexy go-go dancers. Stir in a twisted mix of local performers, celebrities and Jack Mackenroth — the athlete/model from Project Runway, who is coming all the way from NYC — and it’s a night memorable enough to wipe Jimmy Kimmel off the map. And Priape, which will get a racy infomercial on GWH, is offering 15 percent discounts to all who attend.

GWH may be just a dream television channel, but the dream is a reflection of a growing Toronto movement of independent HIV-positive guys who have taken their lives in the direction they want by creating events and statements that reflect their realities. Patrick Chevalier was one individual with an idea. Tom, Tony and Mike carry that idea forward; Jade Elektra provides a beat-filled soundtrack; Chaisson kicks it over the top; and now we have some real momentum happening. Forget the upstart GWH network — there is enough talent and sexiness here to dethrone Oprah.

Poz 'n' Sexy is on Sun, June 5 at Goodhandy's, 120 Church St. poznsexyparty.com

Brian Finch is a writer and activist and the creator and star of The Real Hags of Cabbagetown on positivelite.com.

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