Feature Article

Feature Articles

A Researcher's Own Story: Ambivalence

By Francisco Ibáñez-Carrasco July 2017


Francisco Ibáñez-Carrasco

I hated research. Well, I was ignorant of how omnipresent it is, how unavoidable, how insidious it can be and how it touches lives, negatively and positively. Ignorance breeds distrust. Research in all its wide aspects seemed manipulative and premeditated. It still does. Now, when I have amassed as much privilege as a wetback with a foreign accent can amass, I think one can use research to do good things. Not easy, but possible. Or this is the story I keep telling myself.

Community-based research (CBR) seems to me to be the lotus in the mud of...

Truth and Reconciliation: the CBRC and Indigenous Health

By Travis Salway & Todd Sakakibara March 2017

The stories and statistics shared through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) reveal a significant history of abuse, cultural genocide, and childhood mortality inflicted upon Indigenous people by white settlers. Between the 1870s and 1996, white Canadian settlers removed approximately 150,000 Indigenous children from their families and boarded them in ‘residential schools’ funded by the Canadian government and administered by Christian churches. TRC findings included stories of physical, psychological, and sexual abuse. Six thousand of the boarded children (1 in 25) died. The effects of the residential school system and other Canadian colonialist and racist policies endure today....

Latest Sex Now Research Findings

By Terry Trussler January 2017

Gay Generations: Why our history matters

Sex Now 2015 was an unprecedented opportunity to learn more from gay and bisexual men about what has shaped their health over a lifetime. The CBRC’s eighth periodic survey (third national) reflects the life experiences of 8000 Canadian men of all ages and backgrounds.

The theme, Gay Generations, explores the historic influences that have impacted gay men’s current predicament related to health and HIV. Five gay generations emerge based on events occurring when participants in the survey were coming-of-age: Generation Gay Legal (born 1944-55); Generation Gay Pride (1956-70); Generation Safe Sex (1971-80); Generation ART...

Dernières conclusions de la recherche effectuée dans le cadre de Sexe au présent

By Terry Trussler January 2017

Générations gaies : Pourquoi notre histoire compte

Le sondage Sexe au présent 2015 fut une occasion sans précédent pour les hommes gais et bisexuels de nous dire ce qui influençait leur santé au cours de toute une vie. Le huitième sondage périodique (dans sa 3e édition nationale) du CBRC est un compte-rendu des vies de plus de 8000 hommes canadiens de tous âges et de tous horizons.

La thématique des générations gaies se penche sur les influences historiques qui ont eu un impact sur les réalités actuelles des hommes gaies en matière de santé et de VIH. Le fait d’observer...

Sex work in Montreal: When stigma takes its toll

By Jonathan Bacon January 2017

When I was in high school, I made a deliberate effort to keep my wrists stiff so that nothing about my body language would “look gay.” In gym or between classes, limp wrists were something to be avoided at all costs if I didn’t want others to stare or laugh at me. Looking back, I find it absurd that I thought this was a solution, but most of all, that that it worked! It’s a bit silly, but keeping my wrists stiff as a teenager was one of the more benign physical forms that stigma took for me.

Those were...

Musings of a Former Homeless Youth

By Anonymous October 2016

“Isiah, how do I look?” I ask nervously.

“Come again?” he responds, visibly confused.

“You know,” I begin. “Can you tell—can you tell that I’m homeless?”

“Brad,” he says flatly, “you look like every other student on campus.”

Oh, thank God, I say to myself. Filled with relief at my apparent ability to blend in, and feeling somewhat silly for assuming that a mere glance on the part of indifferent students could possibly reveal my circumstances.

When I found myself at the doorstep of Covenant House a little over a year ago, escorted by Lisa, my gifted addictions counsellor, I...

Preventing Suicide Among Gay and Bisexual Men

By Travis Salway Hottes September 2016

Given that gay and bisexual men continue to face pervasive stigma, it is not surprising that we also have disproportionately high rates of suicide in our communities. Suicide continues to affect gay and bisexual men of all ages, in spite of important gains in legal protections for sexual minorities in some countries. Suicide thus remains a major cause of death for gay and bisexual men. In 2011, it is estimated that as many Canadian gay and bisexual men died from suicide as died from HIV (Hottes, Ferlatte and Gesink, 2015).

Suicide is preventable. People who are thinking about suicide are...

The Last Pink Unicorn

By Brook Biggin September 2016

You know it. That feeling you get. When you know you’re the big, pink, fuckin’ unicorn sat at the end of the table. A giant placard hanging from atop your shiny horn: [insert minority]. Maybe you don’t. If so, this drinks to you – literally, I just took a swig from last night’s bottle, just for you. But for many others that feeling is all too familiar. The minority within the minority. The different to the different. I too know that feeling. Although you might not recognize it at first glance, I am not like the others. No, this unicorn,...

Welcome to the Dream World

By Jean Baptiste Henry July 2016

Ok, Stigma, I’ll take a stab at defining it. It’s a word derived from Greek which according to Wikipedia means “the extreme disapproval of (or discontent with) a person or group on socially characteristic grounds that are perceived …” I see, blah blah blah …

Let’s get away from definitions for a moment. Allow me to introduce myself! I’ve been working with the Canadian AIDS Society for some time now as the regional representative for Quebec, but also in the Society’s National Youth Council, and now as part of the project Resist Stigma. Each one of us has our own definition,...

Intersectionality and Gay Men’s Health and interview with Olivier Ferlatte

By Craig Barron February 2016
photo of Olivier Ferlatte

Olivier Ferlatte is the Director of the Resist Stigma project at the CBRC. He recently completed his PhD in Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University, with the thesis topic: Exploring Intersectionality as a Framework for Advancing Research on Gay Men’s Health Inequities. Craig Barron is a Canadian playwright and writer with many years of involvement in the HIV/AIDS movement. Craig recently interviewed Olivier about his research and involvement in gay men’s health.

Where are you from?

I was born In Sept-Iles, Quebec. I grew up in Montreal and moved to Vancouver in my early 20s.

What did you want...

Our Stories about Stigma

By Craig Barron February 2016

There are many kinds of fences that define our territory. Weathered wood and ancient stone, beautiful fences but that are uncomfortable to perch on. Other fences that block us: barbed wire and spikes. Invisible fences that we construct and maintain ourselves. Metaphors for the role of stigma in gay men’s lives.

Pervasive stigma that might say we do not exist, unless we are oh-so-obvious. Then there can be an icy continuum to negotiate: stereotypes, prejudices, engrained discrimination and persecution. There is also internalized stigma, the barriers of shame on which all other stigma can be built.

Stigma that prevents gay...

Undoing Stigma: Hitchhiking as a Young, Gay Man

By Daniel Wexel July 2015

If a conversation should turn to travel, and I mention my penchant for hitchhiking, the reaction is always strong. Most people immediately worry aloud about how unsafe it must be. But even those in whom my irreverent travel stories have struck some chord of terror – once they’ve pushed beyond the horror show unfolding in their minds – are left gazing enviously down an open road of adventure and potential. Even as they insist they could never do it, their minds conjure up a Kerouac inflected image of a footloose and fancy free vagrant, plying the highways with all the...

Private & Confidential, Online STI Check-ups Just Make Sense

By Travis Salway Hottes & Devon Haag with Mark Gilbert May 2015

For the past few years we’ve been talking to gay and bisexual men in order to design a new STI and HIV testing service.1 We repeatedly heard concerns about the privacy of personal sexual health information and the desired convenience of getting a routine check-up every 3 to 6 months.

The former concern stems from the pervasive sexual stigma ingrained in the lives of gay and bi men. Understandably, gay and bi men don’t always feel comfortable disclosing their sexual orientation or sexual history to their family doctor, or even to nurses at the local STI clinic.

The latter concern...

Rivers of our Lives: transitioning environments in the life course of gay men

By Craig Barron April 2015

There was a river that ran through a small town in Southern Ontario. It led to a network of warm summer lakes. Behind a house on the outskirts there was a beautiful pasture; there are photos of a young adolescent boy surrounded by horses, completely at ease.

A brand new brick bunker up on a hill, my first high school, overlooked the lovely river. I knew the river view well because I usually sat gazing at it from behind the cafeteria's wall of picture windows. I’d have my fine lunch, alone: always fruit and something fresh-baked brought from home. An...

The First AIDS Generation

By Craig Barron February 2015

As a 16 year old in 1969 what I mainly remember is being obsessed with a particular boy. I took no notice of the historic events like Stonewall, or just months before, the decriminalization of homosexual acts in Canada’s criminal code. The landscape as I saw it in a small Kawartha Lakes town, there were no homosexuals around and as a gay person I simply did not exist.

Then there were the 1970s and everything changed. The nascent growth of a gay sensibility, that same-sex love was healthy and natural. To be part of the change thousands of us would...