Current Research Projects

Examining Contextual and Sociocultural Factors Affecting Implementation, Expansion, and Sustainability of Online Sexual Health Initiatives

I am currently developing a qualitative study with decision makers, administrators, and service providers who have been involved with the development and implementation of GetCheckedOnline (GCO) – an internet-based testing service for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in British Columbia. The aim is to understand the ways in which context and other sociocultural factors affect the implementation and scale-up of innovative online sexual health interventions.

Perceptions of Utility and Acceptability of Online HIV/STI Risk Self-Assessment Tools

This project examines potential users and service providers’ perceptions of online HIV/STI self-assessment tools, also known as “risk calculators,” in Vancouver, British Columbia. Specifically, I am exploring how potential users (youth and gay men) and service providers perceive the design and effectiveness of these online tools, and what characteristics make them appropriate in the prevention and treatment of HIV and other STIs.

Sex Workers and Other Street Informal Vendors in Mexico City

Lastly, I am also completing a project on precarious informal labour, particularly examining the ways in which on-street trans sex workers both are informal vendors and work alongside other street labourers in Mexico City.

Completed Research Projects

Sex Work and Transgender Politics in Contemporary Mexico

My doctoral dissertation was a feminist ethnography about on-street sex work and transgender politics in Mexico City. I employed an intersecting critical trans and sexual labour lens to understand the lives and livelihoods of low-income trans street vendors, mostly of sexual services, and the socio-legal demands of mainstream trans activism in Mexico. Based on ethnographic research conducted between 2009 and 2014, I found that the sociopolitical concerns and everyday lives of trans women were shaped by socioeconomic standing and employment background. For many low-income trans women, on-street sex work and informal labour had a central place in their livelihood strategies. However, on-street informal sex work was not considered to be critical to formal trans activist demands for legal rights and social recognition. I thus claimed that not only gender but class and sexual labour concerns should be taken into account to understand the socioeconomic realities and livelihoods of transpeople in Mexico, and particularly of low-income trans women in Mexico City.

A key takeaway from my research with trans sex workers and trans activists in Mexico City was that to adequately advance transpeople’s rights and social justice, sex workers’ struggles and rights should be considered. My research also pointed towards street vendors as a group of unexpected but possibly promising allies in the important struggles for socio-legal recognition of transpeople and sex workers in Mexico. By providing insights into the dynamics of social class and informal on-street labour shaping low-income trans women’s lives in Mexico City, my dissertation contributes to reconsider common views about the key issues that affect transpeople today.

Strip Trade, Whore Stigma and Pole Dancing Classes

My master’s research focused on mostly non-sex worker women who were titillated by the prospect of acting like, but not being, strippers or exotic dancers in Vancouver, Canada. In particular, I examined the effects of the whore stigma on pole-dance students, and what this relentless female-gendered sex-work stigma means for the broader struggles for respect of strip- and other sex-trade workers.


last updated: June 11, 2018