The Criminalization and Prosecution of HIV-status Non-Disclosure: Towards a Feminist Perspective

Women and HIV

Devon Ridge is a Woman and HIV/AIDS Initiative (WHAI) worker at The AIDS Network, working with service providers to build capacity in addressing women’s HIV-related needs. November 25th to 28th is HIV & AIDS Awareness Week—an opportunity to deepen our understanding of how HIV impacts the lives of women. This blog post is a great place to start!

A man will say, ‘Oh, you’re leaving me? Well, I’m actually going to have you charged with non-disclosure.’ And that’s a really difficult thing to prove — that you disclosed your HIV status — so that’s quite terrifying for women. It’s actually keeping them in relationships and keeping them sometimes in situations of violence for fear that they’re going to end up getting prosecuted.

— Anne-Marie DiCenso, Prisoners’ HIV/AIDS Support Action Network (PASAN)

The discussion around the criminalization of HIV non-disclosure deserves special attention by feminists because of the unprecedentedly zealous application of sexual assault law in these cases. Criminalization affects an HIV-positive woman in many ways, including limiting how she can engage in relationships and her options for dealing with abusive dynamics in which HIV-status is used for control over her. Continue reading

HFZF Interviews with Zinesters – Hamilton Zine Club


Tell us a little about yourself and your zine/project/distro.

Hamilton Zine Club (HZC) began with a bunch of zine­ enthusiasts and a challenge: make a zine every month for the entire year of 2013!  As a group, we gathered together at the end of each month to show­-and­-tell­-and­-swap (!) our zine creations.  Essentially, over the course of the year, we created a totally unique zine culture of our very own.  Pretty cool, right? Continue reading

HFZF Interviews with Zinesters – Amy Egerdeen


Tell us a little about yourself and your zine/project/distro. I’m a feminist social justice worker, I make hand bound books and zines (you can see them here!) and I am also co-organizing the Hamilton Feminist Zine Fair!

How did you start making zines? Who/what influenced you?

I started making zines when I was about 19, after I was introduced to feminist activism and zine-making by the amazing Ellie Anglin. We made a feminist collaborative zine with some friends that lasted for a couple years, and during that time I also started making Heirloom, which was a long-running literary zine. I was really excited by the idea of making our own media – I was living in Waterloo, and at that time it felt very possible to make a zine yourself, get it out into the public, and start a larger dialogue – folks were really interested and invested in what was happening. It felt powerful and exciting, and that feeling is what keeps me making zines, facilitating zine-making workshops, and helping to organize events like the HFZF. Continue reading

Hamilton Feminist Zine Fair – Things To Consider

hfzf fb banner pattern

HFZF Logistical Sign 2014So excited that Hamilton Feminist Zine Fair is less than a week away!

Here are some things to consider before coming to the fair:

  • Please skip putting on scents on Saturday. We’re trying to create a scent free space.  Some zinesters as well as SACHA volunteers and staff are allergic to scents and it would mean that they would not be able to parcicipate in the fair.
  • Please ask for consent before you take pictures.
  • There’s a quiet space on the third floor if you need to take a break.
  • Washrooms!
    There are physically accessible so-called “women’s” and “men’s” washrooms in the Senior’s Centre.
    Physically accessible washrooms that are not labelled “women’s” or “men’s” are on the first floor (near the café) and in the basement (turn right after getting off the elevators).
  • Supportive Listening
    Zine fairs can be stressful. If you need someone to talk to who will listen, there is a SACHA volunteer ready on the third floor. Folks of all genders can call SACHA’s 24 Hour Support Line as well – 905.525.4162.

Here’s the entire Safe(r) Spaces doc on SACHA’s site.




HFZF Zinester Interviews – Sheila from Shameless

Photo credit: Shameless Magazine

sheila sampathTell us a little about yourself and your zine/project/distro.

My name is Sheila; I’m an activist and a person-who-makes-stuff. I am the creative director of an activist design studio called The Public where I make art for the revolution and the editorial and art director of Shameless where we make a magazine for the revolution. I make other things, too, like music and clothes and friends.

Shameless is a fiercely independent, volunteer-run, feminist magazine for teen girls and trans youth. It was founded in 2004 by Melinda Mattos and Nicole Cohen, and I’ve been working on it in different capacities since 2006. Shameless started off as an alternative magazine for “girls who get it” and has grown into an intersectional, activist magazine for teen girls and trans youth. We publish a print magazine three times a year and we have a website with a very active blog.  Continue reading

HFZF Interview with Zinesters – Laura Noble


Photo on 2014-10-12 at 13#5

Tell us a little about yourself and your zine/project/distro.

My name is Laura. I’m from Calgary, Alberta, but have moved to Hamilton to attend McMaster University. The zine I have created is called What Does the Women Say?. It is a collection of drawings and text that I created to explore what feminism is, looking at intersectionalities and the diversity that exists under the term “feminism”.

How did you start making zines? Who/what influenced you?

This is the first zine I have ever created! I heard about them and have a few friends that have made them and then I was presented with the opportunity to create one for my Women Studies class. I decided to give it a try.

What does it mean to make feminist zines/do feminist DIY publishing?

Self-publishing is extremely important in providing a platform for all voices to be heard. To make a feminist zine or partake in DIY publishing is to share your opinion without being censored by a publishing house or an editor. Zines are not typically made for commercial purposes and are therefore do not necessarily reflect the most marketable or mainstream viewpoints. As such, a greater variety of voices can be more easily heard in the zine format.

Tell us about a feminist who inspires you to keep working on your zines/projects.

While I have always considered myself a feminist, I would say I have only recently become a “practicing feminist”. Since this is really my first zine or involvement in a feminist project, the person that has inspired to get involved is my friend Amelia. She is the one that convinced me to take a Women Studies course in university, without which I would not have known about or be taking part in the HFZH!

What excites you about Hamilton Feminist Zine Fair or the idea of feminist zine fairs in general?

The thing I am most excited about regarding the Hamilton Feminist Zine Fair is the opportunity I will have to see what other people have created!


Hamilton Feminist Zine Fair celebrates and creates spaces for marginalized groups to have discussions about feminism through do-it-yourself publishing.

When: Saturday, November 15th from 10am to 5pm
Where: YWCA Hamilton – 75 MacNab Street South, Hamilton ON
Accessibility: The space is physically accessible, including washrooms. Here’s some more information about safe(r) spaces at HFZF.