Investigaytors equips young queer, trans, and Two Spirit people with the social connections, health knowledge, and community-based research skills they need to be health leaders in their communities. Interested in participating in or delivering an Investigaytors program in your community? Learn more about the program and its impact below.
Queer, trans, and Two Spirit communities can face additional barriers to post-secondary education, skills-building opportunities restricted to academic institutions, and resulting employment opportunities. These barriers are due, at least in part, to intersecting systems of oppression including homophobia, transphobia, racism, HIV stigma, ableism, and more. Moreover, in queer, trans, and Two Spirit health research, those with lived experience are often underrepresented or ignored within research processes, calling into question the relevance and applicability of these research pursuits.
In 2011, Investigaytors was created to help address these challenges and to provide meaningful opportunities for young GBT2Q men to contribute to community-based research that helps fill key knowledge gaps in order to improve the health and wellbeing of their communities, while also equipping them with tangible research skills that can be applied beyond the program to gain increased study and employment opportunities.
If digging into data for a cause and becoming a community-based research leader in your community excited you (or you’re an organization or researcher interested in helping to develop such leaders) then Investigaytors is the program for you!
Investigaytors at a Glance
The Investigaytors program is a participatory, community-based, capacity-building program for gay, bi, trans, Two-Spirit, and queer (GBT2Q) men who are interested in health research. By participating in every step of the research process, program participants gain tangible research skills, learn about gay men’s health, and connect with other young GBT2Q guys. Importantly, there is no academic or educational requirement for participating in the program, and participation is not limited to those currently or formerly engaged in post-secondary education.
The primary objective of the Investigaytors program is capacity-building through hands-on research experience, grounded in the principles of community-based research. Program participants learn about quantitative and qualitative research skills, social determinants of health, HIV prevention and sexual health, and the utility of research in addressing health inequities and knowledge gaps.
Practical research experience is built through intimate involvement at all levels of a research project, including developing project proposals, defining research objectives, data collection and recruitment, data analysis, and knowledge translation. In the past, Investigaytors have contributed to the design, data collection, and analysis of the Canada’s largest GBT2Q men’s health survey – Sex Now. In addition to this, the Investigaytors have authored numerous peer-reviewed publications and community reports and have presented their research at national – and even international - conferences.
If you like what you’ve read, visit the Get Involved section of the site to contact CBRC to learn more about participating in or delivering the program. Otherwise, read on below to learn more about the impact of the program and to review past Investigaytors projects.
An important note on Investigaytor’s audience: Investigaytors was initially developed as an intervention for gay and bi men (cis and trans) and Two Spirit people. However, as many of our partners have shifted their focus beyond HIV and sexual health, their programming has been accessed by a much broader cross-section of the LGBTQ2S+ community, including individuals who identify as non-binary or fem. Many delivery partners who have adapted and delivered Investigaytors to a broader audience have found that the program is just as effective as when they only delivered it to gay and bi men. CBRC recognizes that different delivery partners have different needs and serve different audiences. Therefore, we leave decisions concerning expanded audiences to the discretion of local delivery partners – as long as the program centres queer, trans, and Two Spirit people.
Over the years, Investigaytors participants have reported being more knowledgeable about queer, trans, and Two Spirit health; more confident conducting community-based research; and better connected with their peers, community partners, and researchers.
Participating in Investigaytors has also opened up new volunteer, study, and employment opportunities to participants, with the program acting as an important component of the community-based health research leadership pipeline in Canada.
To help illustrate the impact of the program on participants, we have including a qualitative evaluation report of the Vancouver Investigaytors program. Read it now by clicking the image below.
At the end of most Investigaytors cycles, participants produce a knowledge product which communicates their findings to community members, service providers, and researchers. The most recent examples of Investigaytors knowledge products include:
Vancouver Investigaytors: “Access PrEP Step by Step: a queer guy’s toolkit for effective self-advocacy in BC”
Since January 2018, PrEP has been available free of charge for most queer guys in BC. This toolkit was made by and for queer guys to give us the tools to effectively self-advocate for PrEP and our own sexual health. Here you will find information about PrEP and resources to help guide a conversation between you and a doctor. Navigating the healthcare system can be complicated - consider this toolkit a roadmap to getting PrEP!
In 2019, Edmonton Investigaytors participants completed a series of self-directed research projects using 2019 Sex Now Survey data to better understand the health experiences of queer, trans, and Two Spirit people living in Alberta. Projects included:
- Inequities in the Mental Health Concerns of Alberta’s SGM Community
- T4T? Recent Sex with Trans Individuals as a Metric of Trans Inclusion in Alberta’s gbMSM Community
- Does U=U Impact Sexual Behaviour?
- The Relationships Between Marginalization and Community Satisfaction Among Queer Albertans
To check out more Investigaytors research projects and knowledge products click here.