Hi there! My name is Tyler Boyce. I use he/him pronouns and have been volunteering with MAX Ottawa since 2017 as a Board Member. My professional background is in qualitative research as it relates to HIV prevalence in the queer community, with a focus on determinants for African, Caribbean, and Black guys into guys.
I presented my co-authored research study, “One of these things ain’t like the other: Exploring the HIV Prevention Needs of Young Black Same Gender Loving Men in Ottawa and Toronto” at the Community-Based Research Centre’s 2019 Summit. The theme of the summit was “Queering Healthcare Access and Accessibility”.
You may be wondering what ‘SGL” stands for – it stands for “Same Gender Loving” a term used widely in the United States to mean what we understand as “gay”.
Our study aimed to understand how Black gay guys in Ottawa and Toronto talk about HIV, explore the challenges that they are experiencing and develop some recommendations for improving the health system. Big thanks to all those who participated and shared their stories!
So now I want to tell you a bit about what we found in the study!
In our study, we found that there is still a lot of work to do in order to make healthcare services safer and more competent for guys into guys. I think we all know this, and it motivates us to take our health into our own hands and get involved with our local LGBTQ+ organizations.
Black guys into guys experience much of the same barriers as the rest of the gay community, but they experience additional barriers due to the colour of their skin. For example, Black guys into guys need to find a doctor that understands their experiences as gay men, but also as Black men.
Our study did more than talk about the problem. We also developed some solutions! Black guys into guys like all guys into guys really care about the health and wellbeing of everyone in our community. They thought it would be a good idea to have safe spaces where they could talk about their experiences of being both Black and Gay. They really stressed the theme of connecting with other Black gay guys to talk about issues, but also to share resources.
For example, maybe there is a great doctor in Ottawa who understands the impacts of racism on physical health. I think there’d be a lot of Black guys into guys who would want to know about this doctor. Spaces for connection give the opportunity for that information to circulate in the community. In this way, we can truly MAXimize health and wellbeing for everyone in our diverse LGBTQ+ community.
Sending love and light to all who may not always feel heard or seen. This is your story too.
Tyler Boyce, MAX Ottawa, Board Member