November 6, 2013
Gay, queer, trans, and 2-Spirit guys have been through a lot as individuals, networks, and communities. We have fought hard for our rights with the support of our friends and allies, and are still working to build communities that welcome and protect all of us. However, we are still hurt by, and need to understand how racism, HIV stigma, and transphobia play out in the real world and within our own communities and networks.
While growing up, many of us experience shame and trauma, which has real impact on how we see ourselves, our self worth, and our sense of safety in the world. Gay men experience high rates of depression, anxiety, and stress as a group of people. If we have experiences of bullying, sexual assault, childhood sexual abuse, and domestic violence it may be difficult for many of us to talk about it.
Sometimes we may be able to work through issues by turning to our friends, family, fuck buddies, lovers, and communities for support. Sometimes we may need to look for professional help. According to a recent Canadian study (Male Call) almost 20% of the guys surveyed reported not having anyone to talk to about private feelings and concerns, and 11% said they had no one they could turn to in a crisis. As gay men, it’s very important we have someone to talk with about our emotional and mental health and how we are feeling about life. When it comes time to start working on the things we are struggling with it is important to make sure we have the support we need. Sometimes things come up or happen quickly (a break up, illness, a death) and we may find that we don’t have that support or aren’t sure how to ask for it. We may also want to support a friend, lover, or partner who is going through a hard time.
There are many things that we can do to take care of ourselves and strengthen our ability to enjoy our lives and cope when life is hard. There is also a lot we can learn from each other about the ways we keep ourselves strong.
Research has shown that guys who are dealing with issues like depression, anxiety, or having trouble managing their substance use may be at a higher risk for HIV transmission. This makes sense - how we’re feeling is going to have an impact on how we have sex. Sex can make us feel good, connected, and boost our energy. Sex can also be confusing at times and hard to manage. If and when we’re going through a hard time, it is important to think about how that might influence the sex we’re having. The more aware of this we are, the more control we may feel we have.
What strength can we draw from our histories of fighting for our rights? What makes us feel strong and powerful? What holds us back, makes us feel shy or nervous? Are we able to talk to our friends, families, or partners about what’s going on for us? How do we know when it is time to reach out for help?
As this website continues to develop, be sure to check back for more articles, resources and blogs by queer men near and far. This is our agenda, our place to foster a conversation, share ideas, resources, learn from each other and build a strong community network.
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