Research

  • Facilitators of and Barriers to Accessing Reproductive Care in Canada for Same-Sex Male Couples and Single Men

    Increasingly in Canada, same-sex male couples (SSMC) and single men (SM) are using assisted reproductive technologies (ART) such as egg donation, in-vitro fertilization and surrogacy, in order to have children. For men in particular, there are significant considerations involved when undergoing the process of third-party reproduction via ART. For example, intended parent(s) must decide upon who will be the egg donor and surrogate, choose which partner will have a genetic link to the child if in a relationship, choose when and where to receive ART, decide upon a healthcare provider and legal advisers, as well as reconcile how personal lives and social networks might change upon having a child(ren). These considerations are in addition to the substantial amount of time, effort, and financial resources required when using ART. Despite an increase in the use of reproductive care by this specific demographic, the research on men's experience of accessing ART in Canada is lacking. Reproductive healthcare services have yet to optimize the clinical care model for SSMC and SM wanting to start their families. Therefore, it is paramount that research is done to understand the experience of men accessing reproductive care in a Canadian context. Through this study, I hope to explore the psycho-social aspects related to same-sex male couples and single men who are currently using, or have previously used, ART in Canada to have children. The objectives of the study include: (1) to understand how men perceive the experience of using ART, and determine what proportion of men have a positive experience; (2) to determine what factors influence the overall experience of men using ART; and (3) to understand what influences decisions made throughout the ART process. The research plan for this study is to conduct an anonymous, online survey, in order to assess men's experiences of using ART in Canada.

  • Pre-Surgical Mental Health Readiness Assessments for Gender Confirming Surgeries: A Survey of Canadian Practices

    The aim of this survey study is to determine the practices and decision-making of pre-surgical assessors for gender confirming surgeries across Canada. There are flexible clinical guidelines available, set by the World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH), however, the extent of flexibility in these guidelines necessarily indicates that individuals interpret and follow them in divergent ways. Pre-surgical requirements for gender confirming surgeries in Canada are changing rapidly, and it is important to gauge practitioner attitudes and practices as a starting point to inform practice. This is the link to the survey: https://qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_6EDu2Ds3VqajJel

  • Street Youth and Social Schemas

    The purpose of this study is to explore areas of street youth's lives of which very little is known. For example, little is known about their family lives, their school experiences, their experiences with the police, their lives on the street, and how these experiences impact the attitudes they develop, and the way they understand the world. We hope to understand how all of these factors might influence how often they use drugs and alcohol, and to what extent they are involved in behaviour that contravenes the law.

  • LGBTQ+ Parents’ Experiences Discussing Sex and Sexuality with their Children

    The purpose of this research project is to explore the experiences of LGBTQ+ parents discussing sex and sexuality with their children, and how stereotypes about sexuality and the LGBTQ+ community affect LGBTQ+ parents’ discussions with their children. From the results of the study, the current research project also aims to develop a comprehensive list of LGBTQ+ inclusive resources for parents to use in sexuality education with their children, or for organizations involved in parenting classes to provide to participants. Background Rationale: Sexuality and sexual health education have become increasingly discussed topics in Ontario with the introduction of the new Health and Physical Education Curriculum (Ontario Ministry of Training and Education, 2015). This new curriculum was implemented in 2015 and resulted in a lot of backlash from parents in Ontario (Csanady, 2016; Vella, 2018). For example, many parents were concerned that this new curriculum introduced “too much, too soon”, and that parents should be the primary sex educators for children, not schools (Hall & Bateman, 2015; Vella, 2018). Despite the widespread conflict about sexual health education for young people, the research conducted on how parents talk about sexuality, sex, and sexual health with their children has been siloed and primarily focused on mothers and fathers in heterosexual couplings (see summary below, as well as Walker, 2001). Although we have extensive information on positive psychological and social outcomes for children of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) parents (e.g., Fedewa, Black, & Ahn, 2015), there is a lack of information on how LGBTQ+ parents speak about sex and sexuality with their children. It is important to understand how LGBTQ+ parents talk to their children about sex and sexuality as LGBTQ+ families may have a unique perspective on these topics are approached. Additionally, sexual health education has been found to have many lifetime benefits for young people (e.g., Brugman, Caron, & Rademakers, 2010; Crosby, Hanson, & Rager, 2009; Kohler, Manhart, & Lafferty, 2008). Research plan and methods: The proposed research is a mixed-methods investigation using an online Qualtrics survey of 50-100 LGBTQ+ parents followed by an optional interview. From the larger group of qualitative survey participants, 7-12 individuals will be selected as a sub-sample to participate in in-depth, semi-structured interviews. Questions similar to the online qualitative survey will be asked, although they will go in more depth and seek to further explore the experiences of LGBTQ+ parents speaking with their children about sex and sexuality.

  • Creating Visibility: Considering LGBT Older Adults in the Informal Canadian Caregiving Context

    Canada is now categorized as an aging nation, with an increasing proportion of diverse older adults in the population. Using the most recent 2016 Census data and considering the fact that LGB members make up 2-8% of the American population, a figure of between 118,712 and 474,850 LGB older adults can be extrapolated for Canada. However, transgender individuals were not included in the census data and therefore extrapolations cannot be made for this group. The literature suggests that significant health disparities exist between heterosexual/cisgender older adults and their LGB counterparts, although there is also a great deal of resilience found among LGBT individuals. It is important to note that transgender older adults have worse mental and physical health and are often not well represented in research samples. Some of these negative effects may be offset by social support, which primarily consists of families of choice rather than biological family among LGBT older adults. Research demonstrates that older LGBT individuals may rely more on informal caregiving supports than non-LGBT individuals, because of stigma and discrimination in formal health care settings. As such, “families of choice” are often on the front lines caring for aging LGBT persons. It is therefore important to explore caregiving and care receiving relationships, and general access to health and care services among LGBT older adults. However, this research field remains limited in Canada.

  • Toward a Practice Framework for Sexual and Gender Minority Forced Migrants Acculturating into Canadian Society

    Through individual interviews, this study aims to achieve two objectives. The first objective of this study is to illuminate how LGBTQ-affirmative mental health care providers and refugee mental health providers describe their readiness to support LGBTQ forced migrants in Canada. The second objective is to learn what therapeutic approaches best support LGBTQ forced migrants’ mental health and wellbeing. The specific aims of the study are to a) identify gaps in knowledge, attitudes, and skills in serving LGBTQ refugees/forced migrants; b) uncover emerging best practices for serving LGBTQ refugees/forced migrants that can be shared with a diverse array of mental health practitioners; and c) understand from LGBTQ refugees/forced migrants who have received treatment from mental health providers what factors facilitated and/or hindered their mental health and wellbeing. These objectives and aims will be achieved through triangulating the insights, expertise, and experiences with four subsample groups: 1) LGBTQ-affirmative mental health providers with no experience serving refugees; 2) refugee mental health providers with no experience serving LGBTQ individuals; 3) mental health providers who have experience serving LGBTQ refugees/forced migrants; and 4) LGBTQ forced migrants themselves who have received treatment from mental health providers. Samples will be recruited across Canada.

  • Canadian Trans Youth Health Survey 2018

    Many studies address lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) health outcomes, however it is common for these studies to overlook the "T,” or transgender, portion of this population. In light of this, the Stigma and Resilience Among Vulnerable Youth Centre (SARAVYC) conducted the first-ever Canadian Trans Youth Health Survey in 2013/14 – a national, online survey focused on the health of trans and non-binary youth in Canada. Findings suggested that transgender and non-binary youth are particularly vulnerable to sexual harassment, violence, mental health issues, and other health challenges. The objective of this study is to develop an understanding of trans and non-binary youth’s physical and emotional health, as well as risks to their health and well-being. This study will help us understand how (and if) various health outcomes for trans youth differ from their heteronormative, gender-normative, and gay, lesbian and bisexual peers’ health outcomes. Results will also help show how the home, community, and school environments can contribute to health issues or wellness for trans and non-binary youth. Data from this survey will also be used to measure changes (if any) over the past 5 years since the first survey was conducted. The results will provide information that will help to improve health services, health policies and raise awareness of the health needs of trans and non-binary youth.

  • Development and Validation of Sexual Quality of Life Questionnaire for Men-Who-Have-Sex-with-Men with Prostate Cancer

    The purpose of this study is to develop a sexual function survey specific for men who have sex with men (MSM) and others with prostates, and who have also been diagnosed with prostate cancer. This survey will be used to further research on MSM and other people with prostates who have prostate cancer, and help such men make treatment decisions. Our goal is to reach 200 participants for this phase before we analyze results for producing a more refined assessment tool for the final phase of our study.

  • PEERS: Peers Examining Experiences in Research Study

    There is a movement towards increased community engagement and participation in research. Both funders of research and communities recommend meaningful engagement of communities under study throughout the research process. One mechanism of engagement is the inclusion of peer researchers. Peer researchers are researchers whose lived experience with a subject being studied is a requirement of their employment with a research project. Peer researchers may enhance the research through their lived experience. The engagement of peer researchers is also intended to benefit both the peers and the communities to which they belong. However, despite being widely recommended, there has been very little research on the process, context, and outcomes of peer researcher engagement. Peers Examining Experiences in Research Study (PEERS) is a qualitative, community-based project that aims to address this question. PEERS is a team of academic, community-based, and peer researchers who are examining how peer researchers experience their involvement in research with four communities: • lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and two-spirit (LGBTQ2S+) communities • racialized communities • communities of people who use drugs • consumer/survivor/mad/mental health service user communities The objectives of this research are to: a) examine how peer researchers experience involvement in the context of participatory research. b) determine how peer researchers experience benefit and/or harms from their involvement in participatory research. c) Identify similarities and differences in experiences of inclusion, benefit, and harm between four communities whose members are commonly engaged as peer researchers: LGBTQ2S+ communities; racialized communities; communities of people who use drugs; and consumer/survivor/mad/mental health service user communities. d) identify and disseminate research practices that attend to important differences between communities to best achieve the emancipatory aims of participatory methods. We will use our findings to make recommendations for participatory research in general, as well as research with these four communities specifically, to maximize the meaningful involvement of peer researchers.

  • Engage: Advancing Gay and Bisexual Men’s Sexual Health

    Engage is a 5-year Canadian collaboration between researchers and community-based organizations on HIV and sexual health among gay, bisexual, and queer men, including trans men and other men who have sex with men (gbMSM) in Canada. Its three primary aims are to provide research evidence to inform HIV and STBBI prevention initiatives for Canadian gbMSM, build capacity for a pan-Canadian network on HIV and sexual health research for gbMSM, and integrate community engagement into all stages of the project to enhance community-researcher collaboration and bidirectional knowledge exchange.