Leisure activities, such as sports and living an active life are crucial to physical health and lower the risk of heart disease, brain accidents and certain cancers, but they also improve psychological health by reducing stress and depression. When practiced as part of a group, leisure activities allow one to meet new people, make friends and develop a personal support network.
Regularly visiting gay community establishments is a main leisure activity for some gay men. Some go to have a good time with friends, to participate in an activity or to meet new people. 55% of gay men go to a gay establishment more than once a year to participate in an activity. Seeing as how the Internet has developed since this survey was done, nowadays there are quite probably more visits to social networks, an activity generally engaged in alone, than at the time of the survey.
Taking part in an association (sports, music, etc.) is a common leisure activity for the Swiss population. While this holds up for men in the general population throughout their lives, this is not the case for gay men, particularly young gay men. This situation is truly the reflection of the uneasiness that many gays feel about their sexual orientation in adolescence and the obvious homophobia present in many group sports in particular. This phenomenon further underscores the social isolation that many gay men feel. 60% of gay men live alone and likely have time to partake in group activities. This is why gay men and LGBT associations created meet-up groups for young LGBT people such as Totem and community sports groups such as Dialogai’s group for Gay Hikers and H2O, a swimming group open to all. Nevertheless, as we can see, these activities must become better known and awareness-raising to reduce homophobia in schools and group sports such as in neighborhood and recreation centers should also be increased.