Concordia professor honoured for HIV/AIDS work
Viviane Namaste, an associate professor at Concordia University, is the recipient of the 2009 Canadian Award for Action on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights.
Namaste was presented with the award at a public reception in Toronto as part of the Canadian Legal Network’s Symposium on HIV, Law and Human Rights.
The Awards for Action on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights recognize outstanding individuals and organizations that protect the rights and dignity of people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS.
Namaste’s research and activism address communities of people invisible in HIV/AIDS prevention and services, including bisexuals and transsexuals.
Namaste holds the Research Chair in HIV/AIDS and Sexual Health and is an Associate Professor at the Simone de Beauvoir Institute at Concordia University in Montréal.
In 1995, Namaste co-founded ASTTQ, Action Santé: Travesti(e)s et Transsexuel(le)s du Québec, and subsequently coordinated this HIV project for several years. She also set up one of the first HIV prevention organizations in Canada by and for trans sex workers.
She has conducted extensive research in Québec and Ontario on the HIV prevention and service needs of transsexuals. She is currently conducting research on the HIV prevention needs of bisexual men and women (see the Polyvalence website). Like her work on transsexuals, this project seeks to examine gaps in HIV prevention and research, with an aim to developing innovative solutions that connect knowledge and action.
Namaste has served as an expert witness in a number of immigration cases and in a constitutional challenge to the Ontario government’s decision to stop covering sex reassignment surgery under the provincial health insurance plan. She has also published several academic books on transsexuals and health, with a particular focus on questions of HIV, including Invisible Lives: The Erasure of Transsexual and Transgendered People, which won the 2001 Outstanding Book Award of the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights.
The Awards for Action on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights were established in 2002 by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and Human Rights Watch and recognize outstanding individuals and organizations that protect the rights and dignity of people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS. An award is presented annually to one Canadian and one international recipient. Namibian lawyer and activist Michaela Clayton, was the recipient of the 2009 International Award for Action on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights.
Posted on June 15, 2009