Pride Foundation scholars have long been leaders in their communities. They often face insurmountable circumstances and challenges. Nevertheless, they are fighting spirits who continue to overcome adversity.
Ryan G. Robinson exemplifies all of the traits of a Pride Foundation scholar: smart, tenacious, dedicated, and hopeful. Using his life experiences, coupled with his professional expertise, he is taking on complex research that he hopes will serve the LGBTQ community.
A California transplant, Ryan is currently in his fifth year at the University of Oregon, where he will receive his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology. He was encouraged to apply for a Pride Foundation Scholarship by a fellow Pride Foundation Scholar. In addition to his research, he is currently an instructor in the Counseling Psychology and Human Services department, and a therapist at a local counseling clinic in Eugene.
The goal of his research is to identify potential risk and protective factors amongst men who have sex with men (MSM) in communities of color. Due to the intersection of multiple minority identities, researchers have found that MSM of color may experience unique stressors compared to their heterosexual peers and non-ethnic minority LGBTQ. More research is needed to better understand the constellation of stressors this population may encounter, their relationship to negative health outcomes and possible protective factors that this population may utilize. Ryan says the research will allow him to “learn about experiences of individuals that identify as both ethnic/racial minorities and men who have sex with men.” He further states that current Counseling Psychology reviews and research is limited when it comes to prevention and support models for the LGBTQ community and that the research is even more limited for gay men of color.
For Ryan, his research came from a personal place. Having grown up bi-racial and gay, he says he constantly questioned where he belonged. In a moment of candor he reflects on a time when he was younger, “I wondered why my skin color was different from my mom, and as I got older I questioned if I should be hanging out with the African American or Asian American kids. My life became even more complicated when I began to question my sexuality.” Growing up isolated and confused, he wondered if others had similar experiences. For Ryan, he says his life experiences have directly shaped his research, but also inspired him to find answers so that others like him will feel less alone.
To conduct his research, Ryan has compiled an online questionnaire that takes roughly fifteen minutes to complete. His goal is to have 200 survey participants. For some incentive he will be donating to one of three LGBTQ focused non-profits as well as conducting a drawing to win an I-Pad. “I wanted my research to not only help the community in the long term, but also as a way to give back now. The generosity my community has shown me has inspired me to find a creative way to give.”
Ryan says that individuals must identify as an ethnic/racial minority, as an MSM, and also be between the ages of 18-29 to participate in the study. If folks would like to participate in the survey, they can do so here. You may also help in the recruitment process by sending the link below to potential participants. Feel free to send the following survey link to LGBTQ organizations, social media outlets, colleagues, and friends: https://oregon.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_1LxSbTOKMsywoW9.
If you have any questions concerning this research study, Ryan is encouraging potential participants to contact him directly. This study has been reviewed and approved by the University of Oregon Research Compliance Services. For more information about the rights of research participants, you may email the office at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (541) 346-2510.
Jett is Pride Foundation’s Regional Development Organizer in Oregon. Email Jett.