Tuesday, February 2, 2016

3 important reasons for having a separate space for the Mpowerment Project.

Home, Sweet Home: Not just any space will do.
Finding the right space for the Project is one key to its success. If young adult gay and bisexual men find the space comfortable, desirable, and convenient, they will be more likely to attend Project activities. Ideally, the space will serve as a gathering spot or community center for young adult gay and bisexual men. Even if you don’t have enough money for a stand-alone Project space, it’s really important to consider alternative spaces where Project participants can meet on a regular basis. Since most activities occur here, the space becomes an important aspect of the Project’s goal to builcommunity. It provides a consistent setting where participants can meet and socialize.

The DENIM Collection, Mpowerment Washington DC
Even if you can’t afford a stand alone space, 
you’ll still need to find a suitable space 
where the Project members can meet and work and socialize - because having a space encourages community-building and support.

There are three main reasons for having a separate space for the Mpowerment Project:

  1. It is more convenient to have your own location where you can hold most Project activities.
  2. A separate space can help in building a strong and healthy young gay/ bisexual men’s community, and is often more comfortable for young gay/bisexual men than other arrangements. A separate space helps to give the Project a sense of identity, and can be used to build pride in being gay. Projects specifically for young men of color can use the space to build pride in being of specific ethnic/racial heritage.
  3. It makes it easier to display sexually graphic, gay-specific safer sex posters and distribute safer sex promotional materials and condoms. This helps build an environment that supports healthy communities and knowing one's HIV status

Take a tour of the Q Austin Project Space, Mpowerment TX, with Taylor!

Each of these points is discussed in greater detail in Module 6, Project Space  download it.  But in brief, a Project space offers young men a place where: 

  • they can find other young adult bisexual and gay men, to build supportive relationships, make new friends
  • they can be comfortable being openly gay/bisexual, and can get support for being proud about their sexual orientation and same sex attraction
  • they can meet and talk about anything, without worrying that people uncomfortable with their sexual orientation will be there to hassle them
  • they have real time, in-person alternatives to online communities
  • they can be in an environment that supports their having safer sex and knowing one's status
  • if they are part of an ethnic or racial minority group, they can feel support and build pride about their racial/ethnic background
RELATEDA critical need, "We have fewer places to call our own".
RELATED: Even as gay people become more accepted, we should have places that are just for us. 

The Project space can be used to help create norms about safer sex, knowing your current HIV status, staying in care and maintaining treatment as well as encouraging friends to do the same. 

The Q Austin Project Space

Click to Enlarge
Click to Enlarge
More information about the Project Space can be found in Module 6: Project Spacedownload it. 

Objectives of Module 6: Project Space.
To describe:

  1. why it is important for the Mpowerment Project to have a space of its own;
  2. what to look for in a space;
  3. to offer guidelines about how to select a space; and
  4. to suggest how to set up a space to be effective and appealing.