The sexual and mental health of GBT2SQ men: An investigation into the health outcomes of sexualized drug use and sexualized violence among GBT2SQ men who use online technologies during the Covid-19 pandemic
Sexualized drug use (SDU) is common among gay, bi, trans, Two-Spirit, and queer (GBT2SQ) men, and our recent CIHR study found that many GBT2SQ men have experienced sexualized violence (SV) when they engage in SDU. About 1 in 10 GBT2SQ men has experienced SV in person and about 1 in 3 GBT2SQ men has experienced SV online. Despite the high rates of SDU and SV among GBT2SQ men, both of which are reported to have increased during the Covid-19 pandemic, few studies have investigated how SDU and SV impact the sexual and mental health of GBT2SQ men. With the pandemic, GBT2SQ men are also relying on online technologies to connect now more than ever. However, the strategies that GBT2SQ men who use online technologies employ to promote their health remain under-researched. More work is needed to understand how GBT2SQ men communicate their socio-sexual interests, negotiate safety and consent, and promote their sexual and mental health with other GBT2SQ men, especially when drugs are involved. The purpose of this project is to examine the sexual and mental health outcomes of GBT2SQ men’s experiences with SDU and SV relative to online technologies and the Covid-19 pandemic. This three-year qualitative research project will develop new and established community partnerships and will investigate the experiences and needs of local GBT2SQ communities through interviews with 90 GBT2SQ men (30 in Halifax, 30 in Ottawa, 30 in Montreal) and focus groups with approx. 60 service providers who work with GBT2SQ men. Project findings will offer a nuanced understanding of GBT2SQ men’s experiences with SDU and SV and the sexual and mental health outcomes of those experiences, particularly in the contexts of online technologies and the pandemic. Community groups will be involved in all stages of the project, notably, to co-develop evidence-based, community-informed strategies that support and promote the sexual and mental health of local GBT2SQ men who engage in SDU and/or have experienced SV.