Background

SX is working to improve the health and wellbeing of gay and bisexual men, and men who have sex with men (MSM).

Gay and bisexual men are disproportionately affected by alcohol related issues, and are twice as likely to be hazardous drinkers compared to the general population.

We want to understand more about why this is the case, looking at men’s attitudes to alcohol, the role it plays in the community and the way we live our lives. Our Voice is one way we are doing this.

The findings will help shape the services we offer, based on the views and stories of the community.

What is it?

Our Voice is a ground-breaking peer research project based in Lothian that works directly with gay and bisexual men and MSM. This includes cis and trans men.

The focus of this latest round of research is on alcohol, following feedback from earlier participants highlighting this was an issue the project should explore.

Peer research means that the project will be carried out collaboratively with men from the local community. Men who get involved will be trained to be peer researchers, enabling them to carry out informal interviews with other men about key issues that affect their lives.

The research will help to ensure that services delivered to gay and bisexual men in Lothian are informed and developed based on the views and experiences of men locally.

Who can be a peer researcher? 

We want to hear from any gay and bisexual men, and MSM in Lothian who can help us. We’re looking for men who are: 

  • comfortable talking to two or three of their friends and peers about how alcohol affects their health and wellbeing, and the community as a whole
  • able to commit to a day of training to be informed about the research and to help decide what questions we are going to ask, and a follow up session after you have spoken with your peers and friends
  • comfortable passing on details of the conversations they have to our research team - you do not need to identify who you have spoken to, only what they have said

What skills do I need to be a peer researcher?

  • Good listening skills
  • An interest in the work of SX and the health issues affecting gay and bisexual men, especially relating to alcohol
  • The ability to empathise with other people’s experiences
  • An interest in learning new skills
  • Good timekeeping and organisational skills

You do not need to have experience of carrying out research, as you will receive training on research methods before beginning the project. You will be supported by the lead researcher throughout the project and will attend a debrief session.

What will I get in return?

  • Training in research methods, ethics, and analysis
  • Experience in carrying out research
  • Ongoing support from the lead researcher during the project
  • Travel expenses and lunch
  • The chance to have your say on key issues affecting our community

How is it done?

Following on from previous research carried out by SX and Waverley Care, this project aims to empower you to have conversations with your peers around the issues our community faces with alcohol.

For this to happen we will need your help to decide what the content of the conversations should be through development of some questions, which you can then ask your peers.

Once you have met with your peers, you will be asked to attend a follow-up session, during which the research team will discuss any key themes and issues emerging from the conversations you have had.

How much time do I have to commit?

You would be asked to attend the following introductory session:

  • Saturday 1 September, 10.00am-4.30pm (lunch provided)

You would also be asked to attend a further, short, session to determine what questions we are going to ask. Then, you would speak to two or three of your peers, in a series of informal interviews. Each interview would take roughly 30 minutes, and you would need to take some notes to bring back to the second session.

Approximately 6 weeks later, you’d be asked to attend an evening debrief session where we will, as a group, discuss the themes emerging from your research.

Why is SX doing this?

SX is a health and wellbeing service for gay and bisexual men. We aim to improve the sexual, physical and mental health and wellbeing of all men who have sex with men.

Gay and bisexual men in Lothian continue to be affected by many issues including poor sexual health, poor mental health, a lack of confidence in sex we have, drug and alcohol misuse and much more. As part of our community, SX wants to ensure that the voices of men are heard and able to influence the work we do.

Interested?

If you are able to help, or have a question about how Our Voice will work, simply email ross.fairgrieve@s-x.scot or phone 0131 650 3250 for more information.