Whitehorse rocker inspired to bring sex ed to Yukon men

A Whitehorse rock musician is part of a non-profit that has won a $1-million prize for its plan to promote sexual health across Canada's three territories.

A Whitehorse rock musician is part of a non-profit that has won a $1-million prize for its plan to promote sexual health across Canada’s three territories.

Graeme Peters, the guitarist and singer for Speed Control, is a member of FOXY (Fostering Open eXpression among Youth) which won the prestigious Arctic Inspiration Prize last week in Ottawa.

The prize awards $1 million each year to groups working on important issues in Canada’s Arctic. This is the first time the prize has been awarded to a sole recipient, and Peters said he’s excited to bring its leadership programs back to the Yukon.

“It’s needed just as much here as it is anywhere else,” he said.

Created in 2012, FOXY teaches sexual health to young women across the Northwest Territories. It also runs on-the-land peer leadership retreats throughout the summer. Peer leaders then go back to their communities and act as role models to other women.

Peters met FOXY co-founders Candice Lys and Nancy MacNeill during the Folk on the Rocks music festival in Yellowknife, N.W.T. last summer.

“We were talking about what Speed Control was doing in education and how back in the day I used to be Captain Germ Fighter. I’d go to every elementary school in the territory and teach kids how to sneeze in their elbows and wash their hands.”

Beyond the club shows and tours, Speed Control also offer “RAWK Camps” where they provide new instruments to kids in communities and teach them how to create music.

“We were comparing stories and they told me what they did, and I nonchalantly said that they should expand it to men, and it should come to the Yukon,” he added.

About a month and a half later, Peters got a call from MacNeill, who asked for his resume. She thought he had an excellent idea and wanted his help to work on a research project. It turned out to be award winning.

Peters said he plans on flying to Yellowknife next month to watch the non-profit’s workshops firsthand.

Then he’ll help Lys and MacNeill create a curriculum that can be rolled out across all three territories, to both men and women.

It’s important to break down barriers when it comes to sex, he said.

“I just know that when I had sex-ed in junior high and high school, it was a lady showing us slides of what sexually transmitted diseases looked like if left untreated and how terrible sex was,” he said.

“Everyone will have sex, it’s part of culture. It’s about creating awareness of what not to do, like don’t use Vaseline on condoms because they’ll explode and you’ll have babies.

“A lot of people get shy when talking about sex but if we can get people comfortable about it, we can break down barriers and then education will flourish.”

The rates of sexually transmitted infections are much higher in the North than elsewhere in the country. A 2011 report found that Yukon’s chlamydia rate was double the national average.

Those infections are easily preventable, said Peters.

He said he’d like to create a community-based workshop program for Yukon men based on the one used by FOXY, but make it more “guy friendly.”

His background as a rocker might come in handy, too.

“I can sing rock songs about anything, why not do it about sex education?” he said, adding he believes the program could be implemented in the Yukon as early as the spring.

A solar energy project from Old Crow also made the shortlist for the Arctic Inspiration Prize.

The project would see the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation partner with Yukon College and Sea Breeze Microgrid Systems to use solar panels to offset the use of the remote community’s diesel generators.

“The proposed project would involve the training of community members to manage and maintain the new technology and create job opportunities in addition to providing an environmentally sustainable model for clean energy that could be applied across the North,” according to the Arctic Inspiration Prize website.

Contact Myles Dolphin at

myles@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley gives a COVID-19 update during a press conference in Whitehorse on May 26. The Yukon government announced two new cases of COVID-19 in the territory with a press release on Oct. 19. (Alistair Maitland Photography)
Two new cases of COVID-19 announced in Yukon

Contact tracing is complete and YG says there is no increased risk to the public

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on April 8. Yukon Energy faced a potential “critical” fuel shortage in January due to an avalanche blocking a shipping route from Skagway to the Yukon, according to an email obtained by the Yukon Party and questioned in the legislature on Oct. 14. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon Energy faced ‘critical’ fuel shortage last January due to avalanche

An email obtained by the Yukon Party showed energy officials were concerned

Jeanie McLean (formerly Dendys), the minister responsible for the Women’s Directorate speaks during legislative assembly in Whitehorse on Nov. 27, 2017. “Our government is proud to be supporting Yukon’s grassroots organizations and First Nation governments in this critical work,” said McLean of the $175,000 from the Yukon government awarded to four community-based projects aimed at preventing violence against Indigenous women. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon government gives $175k to projects aimed at preventing violence against Indigenous women

Four projects were supported via the Prevention of Violence against Aboriginal Women Fund

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone

When I was a kid, CP Air had a monopoly on flights… Continue reading

asdf
EDITORIAL: Don’t let the City of Whitehorse distract you

A little over two weeks after Whitehorse city council voted to give… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Northwestel has released the proposed prices for its unlimited plans. Unlimited internet in Whitehorse and Carcross could cost users between $160.95 and $249.95 per month depending on their choice of package. (Yukon News file)
Unlimited internet options outlined

Will require CRTC approval before Northwestel makes them available

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse. Yukon’s territorial government will sit for 45 days this sitting instead of 30 days to make up for lost time caused by COVID-19 in the spring. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Legislative assembly sitting extended

Yukon’s territorial government will sit for 45 days this sitting. The extension… Continue reading

asdf
Today’s mailbox: Mad about MAD

Letters to the editor published Oct. 16, 2020

Alkan Air hangar in Whitehorse. Alkan Air has filed its response to a lawsuit over a 2019 plane crash that killed a Vancouver geologist on board, denying that there was any negligence on its part or the pilot’s. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Alkan Air responds to lawsuit over 2019 crash denying negligence, liability

Airline filed statement of defence Oct. 7 to lawsuit by spouse of geologist killed in crash

Whitehorse city council members voted Oct. 13 to decline an increase to their base salaries that was set to be made on Jan. 1. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Council declines increased wages for 2021

Members will not have wages adjusted for CPI

A vehicle is seen along Mount Sima Road in Whitehorse on May 12. At its Oct. 13 meeting, Whitehorse city council approved the third reading for two separate bylaws that will allow the land sale and transfer agreements of city-owned land — a 127-square-metre piece next to 75 Ortona Ave. and 1.02 hectares of property behind three lots on Mount Sima Road. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Whitehorse properties could soon expand

Land sale agreements approved by council

Most Read