Interview: Quantitative, Qualitative or Versatile


This is where we drag leaders in gay men's health into our Proust spotlight. Get to know your colleagues as they share their work, their passion and a little of their busy lives.

Interview with Francisco Ibáñez-Carrasco

Francisco Ibáñez-Carrasco, PhD, Director, Education & Training, Ontario HIV Treatment Network, Adjunct Lecturer, Department of Physical Therapy, University of Toronto

1.     What is your place of birth?

Santiago de Chile

2.     How did you get involved in gay men's health?

I was gay, precocious, and HIV positive at 23 years old. I didn’t get involved, I was implicated.

3.     Quantitative, qualitative or versatile?

I like to say I am versatile but I depend on others to work on the quantitative conceptualization and other aspects of research. I say I am collaborative!

4.     What social determinant of health impacts gay men the most, do you think?

Internalized stigma and homophobia. I know scientists and even queers blame everything else from housing to food insecurity, but I think that as a sexual minority we might continue to be our worst threat.

5.     What's something that everyone interested in gay men's health should read?

Foucault’s “History of Sexuality” and every single brochure on Party and Play, rough sex, pig sex, and barebacking. Compare notes.

6.     Do you have a favourite gay bar moment?

When a strapping tall brawny ferocious Dutch leather man dragged me to the catacomb of Argo’s in Amsterdam, amidst the whiplash sounds of flogs and the rattle of chains and wanted poor puny me to give it to him – Girl! Really?

7.     If you could poll 10,000 gay men, what two questions would you ask them?

What does love got to do with your health? And What will you do when the cloud bursts, the Internet collapses and you cannot hook up online no more?

8.     What is the secret to a perfect relationship?

Knowing when to say goodbye. The perfect relationship doesn’t exist. You meet, you mate, you work hard at it, you make plans, raise children, get assets, pay bills, make friends, maybe get married. A relationship runs its gorgeous course in minutes or years. Make it the best ride of your life, every single time.

9.     How would you describe your current work?

My mission is always to inspire and connect. Work is a combo between keeping myself in shape, mentally alert, social, compassionate and employed. Professionally, create actual and virtual opportunities for others to learn, to partner in research, to communicate to various stakeholders, in the last four years this has been mainly through Universities Without Walls. My research is about HIV as an episodic disability in the context of rehabilitation. It is about leaving the drama and the victimhood of HIV and being a person living with HIV behind; looking at, and measuring, models to live, work for money, exercise, thrive in the social and cultural worlds that surround us. Models that compare and contrast HIV with other episodic disabilities, and doesn’t keep it siloed. My other line of work and research is about blended learning, mixing up online, social media, and in-person, and the training of emerging academics as well as peer researchers in the many aspects of this complex venture called research.

10.  What's the last piece of writing you did on gay health?

My last creative nonfiction piece was censored and I can’t talk about it. Yup, censorship exists within our own ranks. Before that, I published in the US (easier!), in 2012, “Rehab for the Unrepentant” In “Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots? Flaming Challenges to Masculinity, Objectification, and the Desire to Conform”. Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore (Ed.) AK Press.

11.  What gay man do you most admire?

Myself

12.  Where would you like to see gay men's health in five years?

A wide and popularized understanding of our sense of inadequacy and guilt around our bodies and our sex and how it can be healed. A strong and celebratory practice of sex between generations, between sero-discordant partners, between genders, and solo (yes, solo is sex too) supported by public health and even lay media. A public health system that doesn’t continue to get fragmented into specialists and where we can find ourselves as full-fledged patients. A Canadian context where not only a few are made to care about being thrown in jail for not disclosing HIV or other conditions. A virtual environment where my sexual health experience as a 50+ man, as an immigrant, and my many other health aspects are just as considered as my being HIV positive, which seems to be the-one-and-only, the make-or-break piece of info. 

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