Hamiltonians at Pride welcome 'ground-breaking' national LGBTQ survey on chronic health

·2 min read
Richard Bearfoot-Bertin and Kiley Clowes say they hope the survey will raise more awareness for people with chronic health issues and spur all levels of government to offer up support. (Bobby Hristova/CBC - image credit)
Richard Bearfoot-Bertin and Kiley Clowes say they hope the survey will raise more awareness for people with chronic health issues and spur all levels of government to offer up support. (Bobby Hristova/CBC - image credit)

Kiley Clowes said they've had asthma since Grade 6.

The Hamiltonian is now is 28 but the asthma hasn't gotten any better.

"I'm on a pumper meant for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease," Clowes told CBC Hamilton Friday.

"Without coverage, I'm paying $200 every month to breathe."

Clowes also recently got COVID-19, which has set them back even further.

"They told me the next step is oxygen tanks. I could've had it dealt with a long time ago if I had the money for it," Clowes said.

That's why Clowes welcomes a new national survey being promoted at this weekend's Hamilton Pride event.

Vancouver-based organization Community-Based Research Centre (CBRC) has a booth set up in the Hamilton Convention Centre, one of a dozen or so Pride events across the country researchers are attending to promote the Our Health survey.

CBRC, which is collaborating with Egale Canada, The Enchanté Network, and 2 Spirits in Motion Society on the study, calls it "ground-breaking" and the "largest multi-lingual community health survey dedicated to Two-Spirit, Indigiqueer, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, and other sexually and gender diverse people in Canada."

Focus on chronic health issues 

The survey asks participants questions about their health, sex lives, relationships, how the pandemic has impacted people and more.

The goal is to inform politicians about community challenges and needs, according to the survey website.

"It's the first time we're looking at chronic health impacts nationally in gender-diverse and sexually-diverse people," Chris Draenos, a CBRC research manager, told CBC Hamilton.

"For example, queer women are more likely to have muscular-skeletal issues but we don't really have an understanding of ... what the actual prevalence is so this is the first time we're going to get that data in Canada."

Bobby Hristova/CBC
Bobby Hristova/CBC

Draenos said the survey will also measure levels of COVID-19 within the LGBTQ community.

There's a $10 honorarium for participants and those who agree to take a COVID-19 antibody test will receive one in the mail.

Draenos said the group is also hosting the Sex Now survey, a long-running survey focused on sex and health in LGBTQ communities.

Participants of that survey will also get the option of completing an HIV self-test as part of the study.

Bobby Hristova/CBC
Bobby Hristova/CBC

Draenos said so far over 4,000 people have participated in the Our Health survey nationwide.

Lloyd Windecker, a volunteer with Hamilton Pride, said the survey is long overdue, but he's happy it's happening now.

"I feel there should be more help out there," he said.

Clowes also hopes it'll help them.

"We need more programs, more affordability ... and more education."

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