|SEA Fuk!t is based on a similiar campaign in DC|
that uses sexually explicit photos, videos and
messages to promote safer-sex among men who
have sex with men.
More than just smut, SEA Fuk!t volunteers are here to teach us safe-sex is well... sexy. Their main mission is to stop the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections in our community by teaching the facts about sexually transmitted infections and providing free condom/lube kits as tools to help reduce the spread of these infections.
The men behind SEA Fuk!t do not use their names in print, instead they describe themselves as a "group of guerrilla activists" who do not want to put any one name or face on the campaign. "SEA Fuk!ts is not about personal gain," said one of the community organizers. "The campaign is about how we connect, as gay men, in the bedroom, in the bathhouse, and on the streets."
Last year, a group of gay guys who worked at community-based organizations and at the health department looked at the DC Fuk!t’s Web site out of the District of Columbia and liked how those behind the campaign took control of their own destiny through messaging. "They were advocating condom use," said Sam (not his real name), one of SEA Fuk!t’s main organizers. "We liked how pro-homo they are."
According to Sam, SEA Fuk!t didn’t pop up overnight. "After we got permission from DC Fuk!t.org to bring the program to Seattle, we did about eight months of test marketing," he said. "What we found was that most guys felt the images being used in DC Fuk!ts did not represent them. So we did some recruitment and we got some volunteers to do a photo shoot and SEAfukits.org was born."
Locally, SEA Fuk!t officials aren’t using porn stars; they are all members of the community. "If we want gay guys to talk to other gay guys it has to be actual community members," said Sam. "We have realistic stuff-where the guys might be heavier or hairier - instead of all 20-something twinks."
So far, the messaging has worked. The Web site gets a lot of hits and the organizers pass out F-Kits to participating bars and clubs.
"We don’t need the federal government dictating what type of messaging we believe will be a strength-based and positive aspect of messaging for gay men," said Sam. "We wan them to be proud of who they are."
We’ve all heard the mantra over and over: Always use a condom when having sex. In spite of the messaging, Sam said some MSMs seem to have abandoned the idea.
"Syphilis and gonorrhea is on the rise in King County," said Sam. "We don’t want that. Hopefully by us doing this prevention program, it will start at the ground level and work our way up."
According to the King County Health Department, at least one out of every seven gay men in Seattle lives with HIV. And many don’t even know it.
SEA Fuk!t officials say it is important to note their goal is to not compete with the Gay City Men Health Project, Life Long AIDS Alliance and other HIV/AIDS campaigns. Instead, they are taking the point of view the more condoms available to the members of our community the better. "We have to find out why men aren’t using condoms," said Sam. "Something is wrong out there."
SEA Fuk!t officials say the site belongs to the community. "Pick up a F-Kit," they say. "Be prepared. If you are going to be hot and heavy you need to have all the necessary items."
SEA Fuk!t will launch a Valentine’s Day campaign with the messaging "Love yourself, your sexual partners, and your community." "We are all connected in one way or another," said Sam. "There is more to life than fucking, so specific messaging is a good thing."
SEA Fuk!t officials say their goal is to normalize condom use.
"We, as gay men, should be able to talk to each other about condom use," said Sam. "We think that guys aren’t educated enough about what types are out there. Condoms are sort of like trying on a new pair of shoes. You want a condom that fits just right."
The campaign is funded from the estate of a gay man who lived in Seattle. "We don’t get any government support at all," said organizers. "All our support comes directly from the community and through private donations."
SEA Fuk!t has a community advisory board of 15 men from all areas and ages of the community. In addition, they have a creative team that is responsible for the photo and video work, and a kit-crew, which is a staff of volunteers that puts the F-Kits together
Log onto www.seafukits.org for more information.
Shaun Knittel is an openly gay journalist and public affairs specialist living in Seattle. His work as a photographer, columnist, and reporter has appeared in newspapers and magazines throughout the Pacific Northwest. In addition to writing for EDGE, Knittel is the current Associate Editor for Seattle Gay News.
Video of the launch of FUK!T, in Washington D.C. www.dcfukit.org