Saturday, 16 September 2017

PhD researcher launches study into sexual health among men who have sex with men

A PhD researcher at Birmingham City University is looking for participants, to take part in a research study.

The researcher is Naomi Pierce, and the study aims to learn about how the social lives of men (specifically men who have sex with men), could help to explain and address unsafe sexual behaviour.

What can research into social lives tell us about sexual wellbeing? 


Sexual transmitted infection (STI) diagnosis rates for men who have sex with men (MSM) in the United Kingdom (UK) are commonly higher than those of the general population.

36% of STI diagnoses in MSM were for gonorrhoea, a disease with reported cases of treatment resistant strains. There has been a 14% increase in syphilis (an STI with potentially serious neurological effects) diagnoses in MSM.

In an effort to tackle this problem, researchers are working to learn more about how the social lives of men could help to explain and address unsafe sexual behaviour.

The size of an individual’s social network, the extent to which men engage with the gay community and attendance at gay bars and clubs are all reported to be associated with unprotected sex.

It is therefore important to understand the relationship between social interaction and sexual health in more detail, and approaching the issue by looking at the role of peer groups (often called sub-cultures or sub-communities) is one way to do this.

Twinks, Bears, Leathers and the numerous other peer groups present with the MSM community are well known to most men, whether or not they are a part of a peer group.

Existing work shows that identifying with a peer group (e.g. feeling part of a community of Bears, Twinks or Leathers for example, having friends in these groups and taking part in associated activities) may contribute to a range of physical, mental and sexual health outcomes.

This furthers our understanding of what is important in helping men in these peer groups to manage their sexual wellbeing, but there is more to be done.

We need to include all MSM in this type of research, including men who don’t identify with a peer group and men with sexual identities other than gay or bisexual.

My research will use the Gay Peer Crowds Questionnaire (GPCQ) to explore the relationship between peer group membership (and non-membership) and sexual health.

The GPCQ has not been used with UK MSM before, and so this is an exciting opportunity to explore whether being part of a peer crowd contributes to men’s sexual wellbeing.

I am currently recruiting men to take part in this study, which involves completing the GPCQ and another questionnaire about sexual behaviour and health.

This should take no longer than 20 minutes. If you are over 16 and would like to take part, you can do so here: CLICK HERE

The study is part of my PhD research, which looks at the role of peer groups and identity in how men understand and manage sexual health risk.

If you would like further information or have any questions or comments on my research, you can contact me via naomi.pierce@bcu.ac.uk

About Naomi:

I am a PhD researcher in psychology at Birmingham City University, where I am looking at the role of peer groups and identity in how men understand and manage sexual health risk.

My research takes a critical approach to mainstream conceptions of sexual health, through which I hope to challenge stereotypes of MSM as unsafe in their sexual practice, and advocate for increased understanding of the role of social interaction in sexual health.

You can find me on Twitter @PrcNaomi

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Man injured in Glasgow defending friend during a homophobic attack

A man has been left with serious facial injuries, after he intervened when his friend was subjected to homophobic abuse in Glasgow.

The incident, which occurred at 2am on Wednesday morning, is being treated as a hate crime.

The 22 year-old and his friend were on Kersland Street, near Great Western Road when a man approached them shouting verbal abuse.

He was then taken to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital for treatment.

Police have released a description of the man they're looking for in connection with the incident.

He's described as white, in his early 20's, and was wearing a black top and black tracksuit bottoms.

He was with a woman who was also in her early 20's, blonde hair and approximately 5ft 6in tall.

Detective Constable Stuart McDonald from Police Scotland said:

"This despicable individual not only subjected an innocent man to homophobic abuse, but also assaulted his friend when he came to his aid."

"This type of behaviour is absolutely unacceptable and I would appeal to anyone who either witnessed the incident, or saw the man and woman described to please get in touch."

Anyone with information is asked to contact officers in Drumchapel CID via 101 and quote incident number 0268 of Wednesday August 9th 2017.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Ellen talks about bullying from Hollywood when she came out as lesbian in the 90's

Ellen DeGeneres has revealed how she faced bullied when she came out as a lesbian in the 1990's.

She first openly discussing her sexuality during an interview with Oprah.

The decision to come out left Ellen without a sitcom, no longer a mainstream comedian, and even facing protests outside ABC Studios, with religious groups demanding she be taken off air.

Here's what she had to say about it recently:

"The bullying I endured after I came out, made up for the lack of it during my childhood."

"I moved out of LA, went into a severe depression, started seeing a therapist and ha to go on anti-depressants for the first time in my life."

"It was scary and lonely. All I'd known for 30 years was work, and all of a sudden I had nothing."

"Plus, I was mad, it didn't feel fair - I was the same person everyone had always known."

"Anger and aggression weaken you, because they take so much energy to hold in place."

"But kindness is a strength, that makes you more serene."

The TV host has always spoke out when it comes to bullying, here's what she had to say on the issue after a number of tragedies in 2010:

Thursday, 10 August 2017

English referee comes out and says homophobia is still a problem in football

Football referee Ryan Atkin has become the first openly gay ref in the game in England.

Speaking to Sky Sports he said he felt it was the right time for him to say that he's someone involved with professional football, and just so happens to be gay.

There are currently no openly gay footballers in England.

Atkin told Sky Sports: "I hope that my action, however small, will help give others in a similar situation, the confidence to be themselves."

Calling the move a step into the unknown, he added: "Homophobia is still a problem, but things are improving all the time. Those who do need education, generally change their ways once they've been made aware that their behaviour is unacceptable in society."

Atkin began officiating games in 1999 and currently referees for National League South.

The 32 year-old had a strong message when it came to people being open and comfortable, with who they are.

He said: "It's my belief that being yourself, without fear, ultimately makes you happier, which in turn makes you a better person. Some of my colleagues already know about my sexuality, and they treat me equally and with respect."

"I'm confident that those who don't yet know will be just as accepting. Going forward, I don't want to dwell unnecessarily on the possibility of not being accepted by others."

It's no secret that homophobia is still a problem in football.

In May FA boss Greg Clarke said the men's game is two decades behind the women's game, when it comes to attitudes around sexuality.

Recent awareness raising campaigns have also been adopted by major football clubs, including the Premier League.

Stonewall's Rainbow laces campaign, which involved players and officials wearing rainbow laces over one weekend in November, really brought the issue further into the spotlight, with more clubs than ever taking part.

The campaign's slogan is "Make Football Everyone's Game", and club's supported the initiative by posting pro-LGBT messages across their social networks, and around stadiums during the games.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Australian Ex-PM Tony Abbott's lesbian sister Christine Forster shuts down attack on same sex marriage

Earlier this week former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, lashed out, strongly opposing same sex marriage.

Debate over the issue has certainly heated up in the country over the past few weeks.

Abbott was the PM in Australia from 2013 to 2015 and yesterday he said people should vote 'no' to equal marriage in order to 'stop' political correctness.

He said: "If you are worried about freedom of speech and freedom of religion, vote no."

"If you don't like political correctness, vote no, because this is the best way to stop it in its tracks."

Abbott's strong opposition to same sex marriage, is despite his sister Christine Forster, waiting for the right to be able marry her same sex partner.

Forster is a councillor in Sydney and had the following response to her brothers comments:

"If you value mutual respect: vote yes. If you want all Australians to be equal: vote yes. If you believe in free speech: vote yes. If this is about the people: vote yes."

"If you want the person you love to be in every sense a part of your family: vote yes."

"If you don't believe your relationships (or anyone else's) are second rate: vote yes."

"If you believe your own marriage is a good thing: vote yes!"

It looks like same sex marriage will go to a public vote in Australia, which will cost $120 million, and wouldn't even be legally binding.

That's despite the majority of MP's in Parliament supporting it, and it being widely known that the majority of the Australian people support it, with recent polls suggesting up to 70% are in favour.

Hence equal marriage campaigners and sane people are asking why spend millions on this, when it could be free!