CURRENTLY RECRUITING: Cohort 5.0 (2023-24)
Are you a gay, bi, trans, queer man or Two-Spirit or non-binary person (GBT2Q) interested in community-based research and improving access to healthcare, sexual pleasure, health and wellness? Are you curious about how homophobia, transphobia, racism and other -isms affect the health of our communities? Are you wondering how the Covid-19 pandemic and social isolation have affected the overall health of our communities?
Investigaytors is a community-based free volunteer training program for young 18- to 29-year-old GBT2Q people in Ontario that will allow you to discover the queer world of gay men’s health research in a cohort of like-minded people. You will develop skills and research experience by doing and thinking about everyday queer health, and it will change the way you view our communities’ health and wellbeing!
Program participants are trained in quantitative and qualitative research skills, social determinants of health, HIV prevention and sexual health, and how research can be used to address health inequities and knowledge gaps.
We are currently recruiting for our fifth cohort (2023-24), and everyone is encouraged to participate – you don’t have to be a student, and no prior academic and research experience is required!
We recognize the history of racism and ablism in health research, and we especially encourage people who identify as Indigenous, Black, or a person of colour, a recent immigrant, a person living with disabilities, HIV+, and/ or a queer guys across the spectrum.
Investigaytors will meet in-person for 1.5 hours every Tuesday evening, from 6 – 7:30pm. Meetings are packed with fun, learning, discussions, exchanging ideas, making friends, and thinking about a better queer future! There will also be games nights, picnics, and coffeeshop meet-ups.
Cohort 4.0 (2020-21)
Our fourth cohort was our first totally online and Ontario-wide running of the program. Investigaytors from across the province are learned about qualitative and quantitative approaches to research and data analysis, participating in hands-on learning activities, and becoming critical consumers of research. Check out the quantitative stream infographics here [upload and add link?] and the presentation from the qualitative stream here.
Cohort 3.0 (2019-20)
Our third cohort focused mostly on learning about quantitative research – creating research questions, learning about statistics and how to use R Studio, and performing and interpreting analyses of 2018 Sex Now Survey data. The Investigaytors explored topics such as community connection, STI testing, party & play, race and discrimination, and more! They finished off the cohort with a Queer Guys Health Research Symposium to showcase these analyses in June of 2020 via Zoom, and you can view the individual videos below [or upload and add link?].
Over the course of several sessions, participants also worked on group facilitation skills, building up to the 2019 HPV Vaccine Symposium. There, they facilitated conversations around HPV vaccine uptake, challenges, and public health messaging for reaching young gbMSM.
Cohort 2.0 (2017-18)
Our second cohort focused on analyzing and providing feedback on the 2014 version of the Sex Now Survey, and contributing to the development of a new version of the survey. The Investigaytors learned to evaluate the preexisting questions in order to word them more effectively, and they also helped to create new questions. As a culmination of their work, they implemented data collection for the 2018 Sex Now Survey, which they had helped to develop, at Toronto Pride, and they presented at the OHTN 2018 HIV Endgame Conference.
Cohort 1.0 (2016-17)
For our first cohort, the Investigaytors took part in the research needed to set up the first periodic health survey for gay men in Ontario. This cohort reviewed the research literature on periodic health surveys of gay men done across the world. They then interviewed the key researchers to ask about best practices for us to consider here in Toronto. Some members of this cohort have gone on to medical school, law school and other graduate programs as well as working in community organizations that address health and wellness among sexual minorities.