Community Noise

Along with around 15,000 other festival heads, I had high hopes for funky costumes, great music and a party atmosphere from Groovin’ the Moo Bendigo. And it certainly didn’t disappoint. On closer inspection, however, the crowd realized that kebabs, crowd surfing and sling-shot rides were not the only thing in store for them on this wintery Saturday. Sponsored by YEAH, this event was also trying to promote the benefits of safe sex. With an inflatable ‘Condom Castle’ located next the main stage, 15 volunteers, myself included, handed out condoms, slap-bands and show bags to the masses in the name of education and awareness.

 

 

It turned out to be an enormous day, with thousands of questions to answer and heaps of merchandise to hand out. Our team was assembled from all over Victoria and worked together to run the “Wheely Sexy”, condom demonstrations, condom badge-making and the photo booth. Guys asking for extra large condoms were common, as was the inevitable rolling of the girlfriend’s eyes that followed. Revelers proved to their friends that they could put a condom on ‘Big Red’ and showed a varying level of knowledge when it came to answering questions about syphilis, gonorrhea and HIV. Overall, I was amazed by the public’s enthusiasm and interest in our message, and really enjoyed being at the coalface of promoting safe, enjoyable sex.

 

 

Prior to the festival I was anxious that I didn’t know enough about STIs to be able to accurately inform the public about them. These worries quickly evaporated, however, when I realized that the weekend training program equipped me well to field almost any question that was thrown my way. In any case, other YEAH members were always close at hand to lend support. After a long day, I was pretty hopeful that at least some people would listen to our message and play it safe.

 

Angus Brown, Peer Educator.