Blog: Under the Lens

Blog: Under the Lens

By Sarah Chown | November 2016
Health and social inequities along lines of race abound in British Columbia and throughout Canada. These inequities show up both in the general population, as well as LGBTQ+ communities. In addition to these patterns of racial inequities shown in epidemiological data, qualitative research and personal experiences reveal these inequities too. Despite the significant evidence of the tangible ways race impacts health and wellness, mainstream conversations often shy away from conversations about race. Race throughout history...
By Sarah Chown | August 2016
Stigma is a major driver of population health inequities . As a result, many communities who experience stigma work to reduce or challenge stigma. Efforts to reduce stigma include advocacy to shift policies, laws, and professional practice, and providing education and facts to the public, media, and care providers. In the wake of increasing attention from researchers and policy makers towards stigma, Martin, Lang & Olafsdottir (2008) presented a framework focused on the micro, macro,...
By Sarah Chown | November 2015
In Greek, the word stigma refers to a mark; in today’s English, stigma refers to a mark of disgrace or shame that is applied to a person, group or behaviour. There is no shortage of connections between our work in gay men’s health, gay men’s lives, and stigma: it is connected to the ways we express our gender and sexuality and come out about our identities; it impacts the conversations we have or avoid having...
By Sarah Chown | August 2015
I have been blogging on theories related to gay men’s health at the Community-Based Research Centre for Gay Men’s Health (CBRC) since September 2012. This project started with the goals of sharing the conversations that were happening in our reading group with broader audiences, and bringing a Canadian perspective to gay men’s health theories. In the past three years, I have looked at some theoretical frameworks and key concepts within the scope of gay men’s...
By Sarah Chown | January 2015
Decisions about if, when, and how to share one’s sexual identity or sexual attraction are often ongoing in the lives of gay, bisexual, queer, and two-spirit men. Whether men share their sexuality all the time, sometimes, or never, negotiating “the closet” shapes many aspects of their lives from social networks to health care access. In this blog, I will review what we know about gay men’s experiences in and out of the “closet”, and how...
By Sarah Chown | August 2014
Risk refers to the possibility of a negative outcome such as harm, injury, or loss. There are many kinds of risk that we all encounter, from social risks to financial and professional risks to health and safety risks. In the lives of gay men, one source of risk is pervasive heterosexism and homophobia that create exclusion, discrimination, and violence – all of which are linked to health and social inequities (1, 2). As Chris Bartlett...
By Sarah Chown | June 2014
The word ‘queer’ is a complicated one. Often used to negatively describe abnormal things, it was – and is – used as an insult towards people who challenge heterosexual, cisgender norms. However, throughout the 1980s and 1990s, some LGBT people began to reclaim queer as both an identity and a politic. Today, the word ‘queer’ is seen by some as unifying, and by others divisive. Some Canadian cities have embraced queer as an umbrella term,...
By Sarah Chown | March 2014
Resilience isn’t a new concept for gay men. Over the years, gay men sought each other out to build relationships and communities in times of strict legal prohibition and punishment. In response to the HIV epidemic, gay men published ‘How To Have Sex in an Epidemic’ (1) in 1983, in the absence of any prevention information from public health or other institutions. Gay men have fought, and continue to fight, for increased visibility, and along...
By Sarah Chown | January 2014
Over the past year, my Under the Lens blog has featured seven theoretical topics. To date, my writing here has highlighted academic work of numerous researchers. These topics are just some of the theoretical perspectives that help to explain persistent inequities in gay men’s health outcomes at a population level: · Rebecca Young and Ilan Meyer’s work on the limitations of the term ‘men who have sex with men’ (MSM) · Jeffrey Aguinaldo’s arguments on...
By Sarah Chown | November 2013
How old were you when Trudeau declared “ the state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation ” and decriminalized anal sex? What about when HIV testing was freely available in your city? When Canada’s Supreme Court ruled in favour of gay marriage? When Macklemore’s top 40 hit, Same Love, became the Pride anthem for many this past summer? While these questions may be a (not so) clever way of finding out someone’s...

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