Part of my work at the Stigma and Resilience Among Vulnerable Youth Centre (SARAVYC) involves thinking about how health research can better account for the multiplicity of youth identities and experiences, especially when it comes to gender diversity. I am excited that a paper I wrote with a few different colleagues is part of this year’s first issue of Nursing Inquiry, which is a crucial special issue on going “Beyond gender binaries.” Even more fantastic, the issue will be available open access all year!
The paper is entitled “I would have preferred more options”: accounting for non-binary youth in health research and here is the abstract:
As a research team focused on vulnerable youth, we increasingly need to find ways to acknowledge non-binary genders in health research. Youth have become more vocal about expanding notions of gender beyond traditional categories of boy/man and girl/woman. Integrating non-binary identities into established research processes is a complex undertaking in a culture that often assumes gender is a binary variable. In this article, we present the challenges at every stage of the research process and questions we have asked ourselves to consider non-binary genders in our work. As researchers, how do we interrogate the assumptions that have made non-binary lives invisible? What challenges arise when attempting to transform research practices to incorporate non-binary genders? Why is it crucial that researchers consider these questions at each step of the research process? We draw on our own research experiences to highlight points of tensions and possibilities for change. Improving access to inclusive health-care for non-binary people, and non-binary youth in particular, is part of creating a more equitable healthcare system. We argue that increased and improved access to inclusive health-care can be supported by research that acknowledges and includes people of all genders.
I am very excited to be collaborating with the amazing Lorna Jowett on a special issue of Slayage (the peer-reviewed journal of the Whedon Studies Association) focused on queerness – in all its varied, beautiful, and complex meanings! See below for the full Call For Papers:
Queering the Whedonverses—a Slayage special issue
Over the last 15 years, Slayage: The Journal of Whedon Studies and other publications have featured a range of writing and scholarship about queer issues, identity and representations related to the Whedonverses but there has not yet been a publication dedicated solely to queer Whedon studies. A renewed interest in feminism and queer identities in mainstream culture and academia, alongside greater public recognition for LGBTQ issues and more attention being paid to popular culture across media: all suggest that the time is right for a concentrated examination of the Whedonverses from the perspective of queer theory and queer identities as they overlap but also differ, in all their complexity as they exist within an intersectional world. The editors of this Slayage special issue thus invite proposals for papers on any aspect of queerness and the Whedonverses, in specific national or international contexts.
Contributions may focus on, but are not restricted to:
- Queer sex and sexualities
- Queer bodies
- Queering as a discourse or position of subversion or “troubling” normativity
- Queer studies, the Whedonverses, and the academy
- Teaching queer studies via Whedonverse texts
- Subject-specific approaches to queering the Whedonverses
- Intersectional approaches to queerness within the Whedonverses
- Production and creation
- Acting and performance
- Audiences, reception, consumption
- Fan activity and production
- Formats, platforms and media—are some more open to being queered than others?
- Aesthetics (including sound and music)
- Comparative studies of Whedonverse productions, or the Whedonverses and, e.g., the Marvel Universe
- Genres and genre-queering: comedy, musical, melodrama, horror, Gothic, action, science fiction, superheroes
- Tropes, stereotypes and the same old stories
- Cult and mainstream, high and low culture, taste and ‘quality’
Send a 200-300 word proposal and a short bio by 16 December 2016 to Lorna Jowett (email@example.com) and Hélène Frohard-Dourlent (firstname.lastname@example.org), who will notify you early in January 2017 if your proposal is accepted. If your proposal is accepted please note that a first draft will be due in April 2017.
The Vancouver Sun just published an opinion piece that I wrote recently regarding the cuts in the proposed 2016-17 budget for the Vancouver School Board.
The School Board is proposing to cut its two diversity mentor positions as a result of consistent underfunding by the province. Much remains to be done in terms of implementing the updated Sexual Orientation and Gender Identities policy that the Board passed in 2014 and support educators, students and families – cutting the anti-homophobia diversity mentor threatens this work.
Read the full piece here: http://vancouversun.com/opinion/opinion-vsb-need-diversity-mentors
My wonderful colleague Katherine Lyon and I have recently published an article on the perceptions and experiences of common-law same-sex couples in a societal context (Canada) where same-sex marriage has now been legal for over a decade. We were curious about the social impact of this legal development, especially in the context of debates within the queer community about the value of marriage as a normative institution.
The article is entitled “‘Let’s Talk about the Institution’: Same-Sex Common-Law Partners Negotiating Marriage Equality and Relationship Legitimacy” and here is the abstract:
The 2005 Canada-wide legalization of same-sex marriage provided same-sex couples with access to an institution they had previous been excluded from. Yet not all couples choose to marry. In this paper, we examine why this is the case, considering the role of personal, political, and historical factors. We draw on 22 interviews with people in common-law same-sex relationships in Toronto to examine how they understand their relationship within the new context of marriage equality. We find that participants feel they are held accountable to marriage as a default relationship legitimacy norm, indicating that this new institutional access is accompanied by a set of social expectations. Despite their awareness of the need to navigate a social context favoring marriage, participants individualize their relationship decisions as personal rather than political. Participants often contradict themselves as they articulate what marriage means to them, suggesting that, in this period of legal and social transition, people are negotiating multiple meanings, societal messages, and traditions when it comes to making sense of their relationship. We discuss the implications of these findings for LGBQ activism and the framing of sexuality-based inequalities in Canadian society.
Légalisé en 2005 au Canada, le mariage entre couples de même sexe a permis à ces couples de gagner accès à une institution dont ils étaient auparavant exclus. Pourtant, certains couples font le choix de ne pas se marier. Cet article analyse les raisons de ce choix, en examinant le rôle de facteurs personnels, politiques, et historiques. Nous utilisons 22 entretiens avec des personnes qui ont des conjoints de fait du même sexe qu’elles, afin d’étudier la façon dont ces personnes font sens de leur relation dans ce nouveau contexte où le mariage leur est légalement accessible. Nous découvrons que nos participant(e)s ont le sentiment de devoir se positionner par rapport à la légitimité normative du mariage ; cela suggère que l’accès à cette nouvelle institution s’accompagne d’un certain nombre d’attentes sociales. Malgré le fait que nos participant(e)s se rendent compte qu’ils ou elles doivent naviguer un contexte social qui favorisent le mariage, ils ou elles individualisent les décisions prises en lien avec leur relation comme si celles-ci étaient uniquement personnelles et non pas politiques. De plus, les participant(e)s se contredisent souvent lorsqu’ils ou elles expliquent ce que le mariage signifie pour eux ou elles. Ces contradictions suggèrent que, en cette période de transition légale et sociale, les gens se retrouvent à composer avec de multiples systèmes de pensée, messages sociétaux ainsi que traditions afin de faire sens de leur relation. Pour conclure, nous discutons des implications de ces résultats pour le militantisme LGBQ ainsi que pour la compréhension des inégalités sur la base de la sexualité dans la société canadienne.
For a list of media coverage about this article, click here.
The Canadian Trans Youth Health Survey is a project that I have been working on for a number of years as part of my work with SARAVYC, so it is exciting to finally see the report published! It is available to everyone in English et en français. Ce n’est pas souvent que j’ai l’occasion de contribuer à une publication dans ma langue natale.
It is the first report of its size and kind in Canada, and it is already being taken up by organizations advocating for the health and well-being of trans youth, which is incredibly encouraging. Many more publications will come out of the data survey, including regional community-friendly reports.
This article is the first one that includes data from my doctoral research. It is both exciting and a little scary to let out some this data into the world as I continue to work on my dissertation!
The article is entitled “‘I don’t care what’s under your clothes’: the discursive positioning of educators working with trans and gender-nonconforming students,” and here is the abstract:
This paper examines the meanings educators produce about their experiences working with trans and gender-nonconforming students, and the effects of this discursive process. In this paper, I draw on 62 interviews with school staff conducted in British Columbia to examine how educators understand their role in an institutional context (a school) that is shaped by systems of power that legitimise and enforce sexual and gender conformity. By drawing on the dominant narratives available to them, educators recounted their experiences through discursive resources that tend to distance them from the institutional systems of power they were operating within. Four specific discursive resources through which the educators’ experiences became intelligible are described: (1) relying on bullying discourses, (2) framing themselves as open-minded individuals, (3) emphasising external institutional obstacles and (4) acknowledging their complicity in systems of power. Through these discursive framings, the role that educators themselves play in shaping the field of legibility and legitimacy in schools is downplayed, thus limiting the potential to resist and displace existing systems of power and generate systemic transformations.
Sexualities is a journal that I love; they’re always publishing fascinating articles and the journal is such an incredible resource for people working in the field of sexuality/gender. So I am pretty excited that they have just published one of my manuscripts!
This article is an analysis of how readers reacted to the character of Buffy going ‘heteroflexible’ by sleeping with another woman. It’s a follow-up on an article I wrote on how the storyline was handled by Whedon and his team, which was published in Sexual Rhetoric in the Works of Joss Whedon. I originally presented this new paper at the 4th Slayage Conference on the Whedonverses in 2010 (one of the best conference to attend if you want to see convivial academic collaboration and support), where it won the Mr. Pointy Award for best conference paper.
The article is entitled “When the heterosexual script goes flexible: Public reactions to female heteroflexibility in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic books,” and here is the abstract:
The phenomenon of heteroflexibility, wherein a heterosexual character engages in same-sex intimacy, provides a good example of how modern narratives of sexuality can contain promises of subversion yet also shore up heteronormative schemas. To fully understand how the notion of heteroflexibility functions to broaden and/or restrict our understandings of (female) sexuality, we need to examine how these narratives are taken up by the audience. This article explores this tension by analysing how readers reacted to a heteroflexible storyline featured in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic books. By examining how this story was interpreted, rejected and/or embraced by readers, I show that readers who disliked the heteroflexible storyline as well as those who enjoyed it draw on liberal discourses that obscure how heteronormativity operates. This in turn limits heteroflexibility’s potential for disrupting dominant heteronormative discourses.
An article I co-authored with Kristi Kenyon and Dr. Wendy Roth was just published in the latest issue of the Canadian Journal of Higher Education. It is always a great feeling to see an article finally in print, but this one is particularly satisfying because we had been working on it since the end of the first year of my Master’s! It is on a topic (international students) totally different from the work that I usually do, but one that I find fascinating, especially as someone who would identify as an ‘in-between’ international student.
The article is entitled “The Ambiguities of International Student Status: American Undergraduate Students in Canada“, and here is the abstract:
As Canadian universities seek to attract more international students, one of the largest groups of international students has received little programmatic attention: Americans. Relying on 120 qualitative interviews with undergraduates at the University of British Columbia, we ask how the experiences of these American students differ from those of other international students, and how well international student services meet the group’s needs. Although American students resemble domestic students in some respects, they face similar adaptational challenges as other international students in others. Yet American students are often less prepared to meet those challenges because of low expectations of cultural and institutional difference, and because they do not see themselves as part of the international student community toward which services are directed. By targeting services on the basis of broad administrative categories created for financial purposes, the university reduces the take-up of the very services students need.
You can read the full text of the article here.
An article of mine was published today in the Journal of LGBT Youth. This is my first peer-reviewed publication in a professional journal, so it is a little landmark of its own. In it, I discuss the implications of an anti-homophobia education program that I was involved in while living in Paris. This was a really important article for me in terms of personal and academic growth, as it allowed to reflect critically on my experience as an activist in the field of anti-homophobia education. I think connecting practice to theory is an invaluable exercise when you work in an area where social change matters so much.
The article is entitled “Working to ‘Increase Respect and Reduce Stigma’: Thinking Through the Possibilities and Limits of an Antihomophobia Education Program in Paris.” Here is the abstract:
Drawing on the author’s volunteer experience, this article uses the insights of queer pedagogy to review the rationale and practices of a French antihomophobia education (AHE) program. This analysis further serves to question three foundational aspects of AHE, namely the role of dialogue, identity politics, and the impetus of normalization. Although AHE opens up possibilities for creating more positive school cultures (for queer youth and others), it is essential to recognize how this work can shore up the heteronormative foundations that it hopes to unsettle, so that we can learn from current limitations and implement more effective models of intervention.
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