Sex Now survey looking for gay and bisexual men to participate

Important to track gay men’s health and to quantify results, researcher says

The Community Based Research Centre (CBRC) is seeking gay and bisexual men of all ages and backgrounds to participate in Sex Now 2015, a national survey about sex between men.

“The primary thing we are looking into this year is the difference amongst generations of men,” says CBRC research director Terry Trussler. “Are there things we can detect in the survey that would show as differences among the generations?”

Trussler says this approach is informed in part by a past Sex Now survey that showed that gay men born after 1980 report higher instances of anti-gay discrimination than older men. “The reason we think that’s happened is because there’s been more visibility of gay men in the media, with shows like Will & Grace and so on, appearing more commonly,” he says. “That has created more tension, particularly for younger people.”

Trussler hopes the 2015 survey will shed light on how this discrimination affects the health of younger generations as time goes on.

The survey was developed largely by the CBRC’s Investigaytors team, a training and education program that provides young gay men with the skills to research gay men’s health. Trussler says it is critically important to foster new generations of gay men committed to researching gay men’s health because it’s still largely a gay enterprise.

“We don’t see a bunch of great scholars entering this area to try and demonstrate the health impact of sexual stigma that gay men face,” he explains. “The reason is because anyone doing the research is suffering the same stigma. We’re one of the extremely few research organizations that is conducting leading-edge research on the health impact of stigma and discrimination on gay and bisexual men.”

Trussler hopes the survey results will make public policy more responsive to the needs of gay and bisexual men.

“We know that numbers have an effect on how people think policy-wise,” he says. “It’s one thing to do qualitative research and show those findings, but people don’t seem to wake up to what it all means until they see it in numbers and have some assurance that the numbers are there and the impact is there.”

He hopes the survey will also reveal the impact of societal changes on gay and bisexual men. “Is health better because of social change, or are we still living with products of stigma?” he wonders. “Also, the people who attack gay development still seem to have a voice, so does this still have an impact on our lives?”

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