This is a summary, written by members of the CITF Secretariat, of:

Grey C, Tian IL, Skakoon-Sparling S, Daroya E, Klassen B, Lessard D, Gaspar M, Sinno J, Sang JM, Perez-Brumer A, Lachowsky NJ, Moore DM, Jollimore J, Hart TA, Cox J, Grace D. Unpacking racism during COVID-19: narratives from racialized Canadian gay, bisexual, and queer men. Int J Equity Health. 2023 Aug 8;22(1):152. doi: 10.1186/s12939-023-01961-z. (Available open access)

The results and/or conclusions contained in the research do not necessarily reflect the views of all CITF members.

A CITF-funded led study, published in the International Journal of Equity Health, found that many gay, bisexual, queer, and other men who have sex with men (GBQM) of colour faced discrimination during COVID-19. Participants reported that experiences of racism affected how they were treated within their sexual networks. Racism remains a harmful and pervasive threat to the well-being of GBQM of colour. Sexualized and gendered discourses about race shape the experiences of GBQM of colour navigating multiple epidemics like COVID-19 and HIV. This study was led by Dr. Daniel Grace (University of Toronto). Dr. Cornel Grey (Western University) led this analysis.

Key findings:

  • 59 of the 93 participants self-identified as Black, Indigenous, and/or a Person of Colour (BIPOC).
  • GBQM of colour described multiple experiences of discrimination during COVID-19 including racism from healthcare providers and racism within their sexual networks.
  • Experiences of racism were most often reported by East Asian and Black GBQM. These participants faced racism in public and online spaces, primarily in the form of verbal harassment.
  • Several participants were also harassed because they wore face masks. Verbal abuse against GBQM of colour was shaped by racist discourses related to COVID-19.

Overall, the researchers state that more comprehensive analyses are needed to examine how COVID-19 affects the sexual and social relationships of marginalized communities. Researchers also suggest that public health interventions in Canada must anticipate the ways in which racialized and sexual minority populations are stigmatized during epidemics and recognize that racism is a defining factor in how they experience and recover from health crises.

Engage-COVID-19 is a mixed methods study examining the impact of COVID-19 on GBQM living in Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal. This study included two rounds of qualitative interviews (November 2020 to February 2021 and June to October 2021) with 93 GBQM to explore the evolving impact of COVID-19 on their lives.