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Capital Pride: An open talk about Party and Play culture

By Mathew Adams on August 7, 2018

This year at Capital Pride, there is a new conversation that will be started, one that historically hasn’t been openly discussed: Party and Play, sometimes referred to as PnP or chem-sex. PnP is defined as the combination of drugs or other intoxicants before or during sexual activity. MAX Ottawa, in partnership with ViiV Healthcare, wants to pull back the curtain and promote safety to those who choose to party and play.

“Most people define it as the use of party drugs, so certain kinds of drugs, which might be more like crystal meth or GHB,” explains Roberto Ortiz, the Executive Director of MAX Ottawa. “However, because of how each gay community [is] different, there might be other drugs present. Here in Ottawa we have MDMA and […] those drugs are also combined with other drugs, [like] cocaine, [and] alcohol.”

After MAX Ottawa reached out to the community, they established the Safer Party Advisory Committee, who provides feedback and perspective from the PnP community.

“I think drug use is a major concern in the GBT2Q community that needs to be addressed with courage, compassion and reliable information. Drug use is often more than just a question of pleasure and party. We need the right resources to empower individuals to understand and deal with our own patterns and issues surrounding drug use,” says a member of the Safety Party Advisory Committee.

We need the right resources to empower individuals to understand and deal with our own patterns and issues surrounding drug use.

As a result of the work being done at MAX, they are beginning a series of events taking place in Ottawa called Spill the Tea. Based on a German program, these events combine drag artists with health information to help educate, end stigma, and reduce harm for the members of the PnP community.

“As a community… we cannot force people to stop or change habits. However, we can support some reduction of harm related to the use of drugs… It’s knowing if the person is concerned by their use and thinking together of strategies that could decrease the level of harm to their overall health and wellness,” says Ortiz.

Excitingly, the first of these events will be taking place this Pride Week, on Thursday August 23 at the 27 Club. Featuring drag performers and community health advocates Devona from Ottawa, Mikiki from Toronto, and Anaconda LaSabrosa from Montreal, the event begins with a meet and greet at 9:30pm with the main event starting at 10:30pm. There will be beats by DJ Teletanko.

This inaugural event features a very special guest performer: she didn’t come here to play, she came to slay! She is from the top four of RuPaul’s Drag Race season 9, Shea Coulée!

The cost for a ticket is a sliding scale between $10 and $20, and $40 for the meet-and-greet with Shea. All proceeds of the ticket sales go towards future events. Tickets are already half sold out, so don’t miss this chance to come out and learn about safer PnP, eliminate stigma, and see some awesome drag performers!


MAX Ottawa is an GBTQ2 organization focusing on services and support to cis and trans men who have sex with men in Ottawa. For more information on their upcoming events check out www.maxottawa.ca/spillthetea and to purchase tickets to this event, go to www.maxottawa.ca/pride.

ViiV Healthcare Canada is an independent pharmaceutical company 100% focused on HIV/AIDS. They are committed to creating quality products, services and programs, in the long-term battle against HIV/AIDS.