Queer male health Summit in Vancouver will address ongoing inequality and barriers to healthcare access

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      While many LGBT rights may have been attained in Canada, much work remains to be done in numerous areas. One such case-in-point is the field of health where many inequities or barriers to healthcare remain.

      That why the theme for the Community-Based Research Centre (CBRC)’s 15th Summit is Queering Healthcare Access and Accessibility.

      The CBRC is holding its annual conference entitled the Summit—which addresses topical health issues for gay, bisexual, two-spirit, trans, and queer men, or men who have sex with men (MSM)—this Thursday and Friday (October 31 and November 1) at the Coast Coal Harbour Hotel (1180 West Hastings Street). (The B.C. Gay Men’s Health Summit, which launched in 2005, was renamed The Summit and expanded to a national scope.)

      The two-day program encompasses presentations, panel discussions, workshops, readings, discussions, networking opportunities, and more for attendees from academic, clinical, public health, and community sectors from across the nation.

      This year’s keynote speakers will cover a variety of topics, ranging from traditional Indigenous health to technological developments.

      University of Victoria professor and CBRC research director Nathan Lachowsky will present findings from the Sex Now 2018 survey, which was conducted at 15 Pride festivals across Canada; updates on the Sex Now 2019 survey; and plans for the Sex Now 2020 survey.

      Lachowsky will also talk about the current state of blood donations from MSM and what impact this policy, which has been criticized as discriminatory, has on LGBT communities.

      Two-spirit physician Dr. James Makokis from Kinokamasihk (Kehewin Cree Nation) and South Edmonton, Alberta, who has a transgender-health-focused practice, will share teachings and lessons from creating opportunities for transgender and gender-diverse Indigenous youth to participate in two-spirit rites of passage ceremonies.

      (As a side note, Dr. Makokis and his husband Anthony Johnson—who were married at the 2017 Vancouver International Marathon—won Season 7 of The Amazing Race Canada in September.)

      Université du Québec à Montréal sexology professor Joanne Otis will provide an overview of areas, ranging from psychological health and addiction to violence, which MSM face barriers in accessing healthcare for.

      From Atlanta, Georgia, Dr. Patrick Sullivan, an Emory University epidemiology professor, will discuss how digital platforms can offer new sexual-health resources for diverse MSM populations, including mobile- and brower-based apps.  

      Disability activist Andrew Gurza will also lead a session on disability and sexuality.

      A keynote panel will tackle issues about conversion therapy in Canada and what can help survivors recover.

      Elsewhere in the program, various sessions will address topics such as sports involvement and community connections, loneliness, substance use and harm reduction, suburban and rural access, non-binary experiences, trans-inclusive services, and more.

      For more information and full details about the Summit, visit the CBRC website.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook. You can also follow the Straight's LGBT coverage on Twitter at @StraightLGBT or on Facebook.