Programming Connection

Totally Outright 

Health Initiative for Men (HiM)
British Columbia
2014

What is the program?

Totally Outright is a 40-hour leadership program for young gay, bisexual, trans and queer (GBTQ) men who show promise as future community leaders and volunteers. The program is conducted as an intensive yet fun and interactive 40-hour course that includes a series of workshops, a fieldwork assignment, a group project and social activities. It offers participants the chance to build communication skills, practice outreach techniques and strategize solutions for challenges faced by GBTQ men.

By investing in training the young men who participate, the program not only forms future leaders but also heightens the self-esteem of participants, reinforcing their resiliency and better equipping them to make healthy decisions about sex, relationships and substance use. Totally Outright is not intended to be a support program; rather, it is a skills-building course. Men who may need more support in their lives are often referred to appropriate programs.

The program’s key objectives are to:

  • build a corps of sex-savvy youth leaders who can disseminate the knowledge they’ve learned and lead by example
  • strengthen GBTQ men’s health and well-being through trusted, tailored, targeted research-based health promotion services
  • train a group of potential volunteers or employees who are interested in improving GBTQ men’s health
  • foster meaningful and productive relationships among GBTQ men
  • lower rates of HIV in the GBTQ men’s community

The program, which graduates 20–25 men each year, was created and evaluated by the Community Based Research Centre (CBRC) and then further developed by Health Initiative for Men (HIM), a Vancouver-based community organization dedicated to strengthening the health and well-being of GBTQ men through a sex-positive integrated approach to health. Since 2005, when Totally Outright was first offered in Vancouver, the program has been adapted by the AIDS Committee of Toronto and by Rainbow Resource Centre in Winnipeg. Organizations in other cities have also expressed an interest in the program.