The program Être gay ensemble (Being Gay Together) was launched in 2004 following very positive feedback from participants in the focus groups. Focus group participants said they thought it would be useful to talk in a group format with qualified moderators about subjects related to gay life, health, and well-being.
Our main goal of the program is to communicate information and skills to improve the health and quality of life of participants. The secondary goal is to help develop a network for social support and , friendship ps, and among participants.
The program includes a series of multiple activities, some free orand others at a price, such as small conversation groups, conferences, debates, talk shows, hiking groups, sports groups, massage or bondage workshops and meditation groups.
The pilot program was assessed by Margrit Schmidt, scientific partner from the University of Zurich for the two first years (2004-2005). The assessment gave mixed findings. Generally, activity participants said they were satisfied but activity participation remained low, especially in small-group activities. Many activities had to be canceled due to a lack of participants. Large-group activities such as interactive theater and talk-shows were the most successful.
A person who is the midst of great mental suffering probably needs individual therapy to be in a position to determine what group therapy might be able to give him. In the future, thematic or therapeutic groups, will be put in place in Checkpoint and should encourage gay men to participate in social activities and thus prevent mental disorders.
Regarding the form, the disappearance of many community activities in Dialogai such as the Wednesday dinner, for example, makes promoting activities and interacting with the community more difficult. Furthermore, the migration of the gay community towards virtual meeting spaces and social media and the disappearance of bars and other meeting spots is a further challenge to community work and health promotion.
These issues have yet to be resolved. There are two options being considered for the future of the program. Firstly, talking groups and therapeutic workshops could be offered by the Checkpoint group to complement individual therapy in light of the most common difficulties dealt with by the psychological service. Secondly, there could be further offers in tandem with establishments such as sports clubs, gyms and adult education centers to help gay men participate in social activities open to everyone.