Damit! Gets Leg Up From CSU
2110 Centre Gets Much-Needed Dental Dam Project Funding
Protection against sexually transmitted infections is phallocentric—and the Damit! Project hopes to change that.
Concordia’s 2110 Centre for Gender Advocacy is giving out free dental dams, as part of a pilot project that aims to gather enough survey data from users to convince the Quebec government’s Service de lutte contre les infections transmissibles sexuellement et par le sang of the importance of dams in protecting against the spread of sexually transmitted infections.
A dental dam is a thin rubber-latex or silicone sheet that serves as a protection against sexually transmitted infections during oral-anal and/or oral-vaginal sex.
The Concordia Student Union approved a request from Peer Support and Trans Advocacy Coordinator Gabrielle Bouchard of Concordia’s 2110 Centre for Gender Advocacy for $600 to support the Damit! project and decided to adopt it as an official campaign at last Wednesday’s council meeting.
“My main goal was to get a commitment—a strong commitment from the CSU for this project. People who are affected by STIs are mostly the age group of people going to university,” said Bouchard.
She said that to her knowledge, there isn’t anywhere else in Montreal that distributes dams freely and they are difficult—if not impossible—to purchase anywhere in the city. This reality leaves self-modifying a condom the only option available in preventing vaginal-oral transmission of STIs.
“Having a pair of scissors with you in your purse can be sort of a turn-off, so we said, ‘We need to do something about this,’” Bouchard explained.
The Direction générale de la santé publique, the Ministère de la santé et des services’s arm aimed at controlling infectious diseases, maintains that there is no money or opening for a project to give out dams in the same manner that free condoms are distributed.
“Seven types of condoms are distributed freely in Montreal—regular, true fit, ultra sensitive, large, tough and coloured. Our argument is to take out the coloured condom as an option distributed freely and instead reinvest the money into dams,” Bouchard said.
The Centre will be giving out three free dams at a time, hoping that this gives new users the chance to get used to the new form of protection.
A link to an online survey will also be provided. The data collected will be used as research to present to the government. Bouchard hopes to get 200 to 300 respondents—which means giving out around 2,000 dams.
“There has been a 159 per cent increase in cases of chlamydia in Quebec in the last 13 years. More than 60 per cent of those cases are women,” said Bouchard. “The problem is that if there isn’t a penis involved, there’s no protection.”
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