Substance Use

Substance Use Committee Needs

The Black Gay Men’s Network next steps are to create committees based on 4 key areas identified as a priority.

By lending your expertise and lived experience to the substance use committee, you can help create a more holistic and harm reduction informed way for Black gay men to look at the use of susbtances in our lives. This includes not just risk management. Substances play an important role in many of our lives. They can help us achieve pleasure, help us cope, or are just fun! However, we need ways to discuss and share what this looks like for ourselves and our community.

Help us map out what that can look like for your peers.

Contact us to sign up and learn more

Why is this a priority?

Our pillars are founded on the themes from the participants who were part of the Ontario Black Gay Men’s Summit in 2010 and subsequent African, Caribbean, and Black (ACB) same-gender loving meetings that occurred in October 2018 and March 2019.

These are:

● Culture & knowledge production

● Sexual health & pleasure

● Substance use, and

● Mentoring


Black gay men in Ontario have identified several barriers to successfully addressing the negative outcomes of problematic substance use including overdoses, sexual risk-taking, high rates of HIV and STI transmission, mental health, and coping. We’ve also noted that it’s difficult to find harm-reduction messaging that goes beyond just abstinence. Managing or enjoyment of substances is often not a part of our conversations.

Participants highlighted significant gaps in capacity to provide informed, culturally safe, non-judgemental, and de-stigmatizing support among front-line organizations and their workers. They also identified the importance of context about the shame and stigma associated with substance use and related barriers to disclosure and support.

What could the work on this committee look like?

There are many ways that improving harm reduction messaging that goes beyond just abstinence to speak better to Black gay men’s needs and desires can take shape in many ways. Examples include:

  • Further defining BGMN’s approach to substance use
  • Creating interventions, programming, and events that help address stigma as well as safe use
  • Addressing party and play (PNP) amongst gay black men
  • Working with current organizations to create more holistic messaging that speaks to our community
  • Helping service providers increase their cultural capacity to effectively interact with Black gay men about substance use
  • Providing ways to access a wide range of harm reduction services that range from abstinence, decreased usage, and safer use.
  • Adopting community-based research approaches to have a meaningful impact on health literacy
  • Development of more responsive programming
  • Increase participation in emerging research to deepen the understanding of substance use in the community.
  • Create spaces for deeper conversations about substance use in the organizations represented in the room.