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Young gay men in research: the Investigaytors report 2013


The Community-Based Research Centre for Gay Men’s Health (CBRC) was the first of its kind to introduce a training program to engage young gay men in hands-on research and capacity building. Building on the success of the Totally Outright program (a sexual health leadership program for young gay men, which began in 2004), the CBRC acted on the needs of the community and created the Investigaytors program in 2011.

Since the program’s inception, the Investigaytors have had a key role in creating and distributing the national Sex Now Survey 2011 (Canada’s largest survey sample of gay men), and most recently, analyzing the survey for their first publication—Under the Lens of the Investigaytors: Sex Now Survey 2011.

About the Investigaytors

Consisting of young gay men from different backgrounds, the Investigaytors bring their unique and youthful perspectives to current issues affecting gay men’s health. Shaped by their own experience, each person chose a subject of interest from the Sex Now Survey to analyze, including body image, gender non-conformity, relationship status and social supports.

Undertaking quantitative analysis of the data, the group worked vigorously to present their findings at the 8th Gay Men’s Health Summit in November 2012, and to write their first publication in 2013. This new report highlights the importance of engaging young individuals in meaningful research that not only enriches their own lives with newfound skills and wisdom, but also impacts the communities in which they live and connect with. 

Key Findings

Though difficult to select just a few key findings, one in particular is Jaedyn Starr’s finding related to gender non-conformity.  Men who reported wearing nail polish to work also reported substantially higher rates of verbal and physical violence and workplace discrimination compared to men who did not.

Keith Reynolds looked at generational differences around the age of coming out.  He found that younger guys reported coming out before the age of 18 more frequently than gay men over the age of 30, yet the surroundings in which they live do not foster a positive environment for these young individuals.

David Le studied the intersection between social supports and their relation to mental health and STI and HIV testing. He overwhelmingly found that gay and bi men who reported having strong social supports from friends, a partner, family or a professional, also reported feeling accepted within their communities and were more likely to access medical services.

What’s Next?

Until recently, the Investigaytors have solely focused on quantitative methodologies. However, with the addition of new members to the team, the Investigaytors have begun a new journey into qualitative methodologies. With this new endeavor, the team has explored using the techniques of interviewing, body mapping, ethnography, photo voice and discussion groups.

The Investigaytors will be presenting at the upcoming 9th BC Gay Men’s Health Summit in November 2013, so look forward to learning the latest findings from the future leaders of gay men’s health! 

For further information

If you have any questions or know someone who would be interested in the program, you can email david(at)cbrc.net