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Transformative Compassion: Understanding the Attitudes, Beliefs, Values, and Experiences of Compassion within LGBTQI2S Communities using Poststructural and Queer Methodologies


Researcher bios and how their research backgrounds relate to this study

Dr. Phillip Joy is a registered dietitian with the Nova Scotia Dietetic Association (NSDA). His research interests are driven from his own experiences as part of the LGBTQQIP2SAA community. A community that is often silenced through heteronormative social and cultural discourses. His research is based on the motto “the personal is political”. This motto, borrowed from feminist traditions, has come to represent many ideas, but, to him, it reflects the core concept of his research. Our personal lives, our experiences, our bodies, and our nutritional practices are shaped by social and cultural forces in ways that are both known and unknown. This phrase compels his research to critically examine the historical context of our lives and, at the same time, to become socially disruptive when we confront differing power relations. Through the lens of poststructuralism and queer theory, his research provides both a personal and political perspective on the topic of nutrition, gender, sexuality, and health.

His research often uses arts-based methodologies, such as photography and comics, that can disrupt the foundations of nutrition and health research. Art-based approaches allow research to be expressive by involving the emotions, the senses, the creativity, and the bodies of participant. Art can challenge and subvert nutrition, sexuality, gender, and body norms while contributing to social transformation through the expression of new perspectives.

His main areas of research include: 1) LGBTQ+ nutrition, body image, and health, 2) Community advocacy and social disruption and, 3) Pedagogy, curriculum, and training

Purpose of this research project

The purpose of this research is to explore the role of compassion in the lives of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (andQuestioning), Intersex, and Two-Spirit (LGBTQI2S) peoples and communities. We seek to understand how experiences of compassion shape the lives of LGBTQI2S peoples and how compassion may be a way to societal change, and a solution tochanging heteronormative and homophobic views within society that negatively influence us and our wellbeing. With such knowledge, we hope to inform the how we, as humans regardless of sexual orientation, interact with each other, interactions that are more harmonious, gentle, and compassionate. This research will blend qualitative research rooted in poststructural and queer theoretical perspectives with arts-based knowledge mobilization methods. We seek to answer the following research questions: 1.How do LGBTQI2S peoples experience compassion? 2.How are beliefs, and values of LGBTQI2S peoples in relation to compassion personally, socially, culturally and institutionally constructed? 3.How does gender identity and sexual orientation influence attitudes, beliefs,and values about compassion?4.How has compassion shaped the lives and wellbeing of LGBTQI2S peoples?The over-arching goal of this research is to create knowledge on how compassion is integral to the lives of LGBTQI2S peoples and share this knowledge through an innovative comic book knowledge mobilization approach.


How this research will help LGBT2SQ people and communities

Our research is one of innovation in the study of compassion, as not only do we want to expand our understanding of compassion to be more inclusive of a social focus, we use art to tell the experiences and stories of compassion from the participants. One of the ways for individuals to resist, subvert, and reveal new possibilities to life is through art (Burk, 2015). Art is also a way for queer people to reveal their experiences, challenge notions of heteronormativity by becoming visible, and recreate identity categories (DiGrazia & Boucher, 2005; Skodbo, 2007). The act of telling stories of compassion teaches others about how to be compassionate and how to practice compassion (Dutton et al., 2007). In this way, our research through the stories illustrated in the comics will also help to cultivate compassion within society towards and within LGBTQI2S communities. Typical scholarly output (research papers, conference presentations) will be produced to allow other academics to build on this novel work.


Anyone who meets the inclusion criteria.


Participants will be given a $25.00 Amazon gift card after completing the interview.

Mitigation measures

All personal data will be removed during the transcription process to minimize social repercussions. All findings will be anonymized, and no personal data will be published to minimize social repercussions. A list of community service organizations will be provided to participants as part of the informed consent process and participants will be advised to contact them or their own health care professional if they need to discuss their experiences with someone about psychological or emotional discomfort.

Promoting the Study

We have reached out to our network of 2SLGBTQIA+ organizations within Nova Scotia, as well as posted on social media. We are asking nation wide organizations to help us recruit participants from other provinces.

RainbowHealthOntario @egalecanada Jul 27

Are you a social worker, counselor or healthcare professional wanting to improve 2SLGBTQI inclusion in your practic…

RainbowHealthOntario @RainbowHealthOn Jul 26

#Research seeking participants: A team of LGBTQ+ parents and researchers at the @uofg are conducting a study to lea……

RainbowHealthOntario @RainbowHealthOn Jul 23

The Rainbow Health Ontario 2022 Symposium: LGBT2SQ Health in Focus will explore issues related to disrupted eating……

RainbowHealthOntario @RainbowHealthOn Jul 22

Rainbow Health Ontario is #hiring! We are seeking a Francophone Education and Training Specialist and an Education……