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Panel 1: Relationships with food and disrupted eating behaviours in LGBT2SQ communities

picture of Farzana Doctor

Moderator: Farzana Doctor (she/her)

Farzana is a Tkaronto-based author, activist and registered social worker who has been working with individuals and couples since 1993. She has written four critically acclaimed novels and her latest, Seven, which Ms. Magazine described as “fully feminist and ambitiously bold”, addresses female genital mutilation/ cutting in her Dawoodi Bohra community.



Presenter: Terrence Rodriguez (he/him), REX Pride Program and Specialized Supports Coordinator, Rexdale Community Health Centre

Terrence is a transgender Female to Male, Latinx/European, first-generation immigrant, social worker, born and raised in the Rexdale/ North Etobicoke community.

Description: I will be speaking from personal experience on how the health care system has very restrictive criteria for gender-affirming surgeries for the trans people that have a high BMI. This is continuing to be an issue for the community as it creates a barrier to access life-altering and saving surgeries.

Participant Learning Objectives:

  • Systemic barriers in healthcare
  • Socio-economic and cultural influences,
  • Eating as a coping mechanism


Presenter: Tatiana Ferguson (she/her), Project Manager, Black Queer Youth Collective

Tatiana Ferguson is a leader in equity and inclusion and a founding member of the Black Queer Youth Collective, a grassroots group dedicated to identifying and responding to the needs of Black Queer and Trans youth in Toronto. Tatiana coordinates and facilitates capacity building activities for organizational and systemic change.

Description: This presentation will share lessons learned from delivering a virtual program and financial aid to Black queer and trans youth in Toronto. The BQYC COVID-19 Assistance Project was a nine-month emergency relief project for Black queer and trans individuals who required assistance to cover basic needs and household items due to job loss or unemployment during the pandemic. The project worked to combat hunger and prevent the spread of the coronavirus within the Black community while simultaneously providing virtual peer support to help reduce stress and social isolation.

Participant Learning Objectives:

  • Presentation will highlight risk factors that contribute to disordered eating among Black queer and trans youth.
  • Discuss the importance of having access to culturally appropriate food in promoting the health and wellbeing of Black queer and trans youth.
  • Share promising practices for health promotion among Black queer and trans youth.


Presenters: Dr. Phillip Joy (he/him), Assistant Professor, Mount Saint Vincent University & Megan White, Research Assistant, Mount Saint Vincent University

Phillip Joy

Dr. Phillip Joy is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Applied Human Nutrition at Mount Saint Vincent University and a registered dietitian. His research focus is on the nutritional health of 2SLGBTQ+ communities and compassionate care. He is a part of the LGBT2SQ communities and uses qualitative and arts-based methodologies in his research.

Megan is a Masters student in Interdisciplinary Studies and Registered Nurse. Megan is team member of this research that explores eating disorders within 2SLGBTQ+ groups in collaboration with Eating Disorders Nova Scotia. Megan identifies as mixed-race Indigenous, a member of the LGBTQ2S+ community, and as a survivor of anorexia.

Description: 2SLGBTQ+ individuals experience disproportionately high rates of eating disorders, patterns of disordered eating, and body dissatisfaction. Treatment programs, however, are overwhelmingly targeted toward a very narrow segment of those experiencing disordered eating, namely straight, cisgender, white women. Heteronormativity is ingrained in the policies and practices of healthcare systems and can lead to homophobia, stigmatization, and marginalization of LGBTQ+ individuals. This often creates challenges in accessing and utilizing health services for this population and contributes to health disparities. We aimed to explore the experiences of 2SLGBTQ+ individuals during treatment and to identify their beliefs about how treatments programs and service providers can better support for 2SLGBTQ+ individuals.

In this panel, we will discuss recommendations that will help 2SLGBTQ+ individuals with eating disorders feel safe, seen, and supported.

Participant Learning Objectives:

  • The role of gender dysphoria in eating disorders and eating disorders recovery.
  • The ways that health service providers can better support 2SLGBTQ+ individuals with eating disorders, including the 101-level basics of queer experience such as terminology, pronouns, and gender expression.
  • The importance of diversity within eating disorders recovery programs and the importance of peer-to-peer interaction.


Presenters: Shaiden Keaney (xe/xem/xyr) MSW, RSW, Therapist and Facilitator, ROCK – Reach Out Centre for Kids & Hannah Coakley (they/she), MSPH, RDN, Dietician and Facilitator, Pando Wellness

Shaiden Keaney is a therapist whose mental health practices include community-based and somatic approaches to trauma and stress. Shaiden is an award-winning academic and community organizer. Xyr work brings focus to the unique mental health needs of Two Spirit and LGBTQIA+ youth.

Picture of Hannah Coakley

Hannah Coakley is an American dietitian & activist who specializes in eating disorder recovery & food justice/access. Their work centers folks with non-dominant systemic identities & operates within an anti-racist, trauma-informed lens.

Description: Embrace and Empower (E+E) is an eight-week community program that integrates an interdisciplinary approach, queer and trans representation, creative expression, mindfulness, community-building and education in service of eating disorder prevention for Two-Spirit and LGBTQIA+ youth. This presentation will provide a brief overview of the program’s guiding principles, outline and program outcomes.

Participants will receive the E+E outline and specific examples of themes and activities that are used in the E+E program. Further, we will discuss lessons learned & the ways that youth feedback has shaped our approach to the program going forward.

Participant Learning Objectives:

  • Learn the E+E guiding principles (interdisciplinarity, queer and trans representation, creative expression, mindfulness, community-building and education)
  • Learn how these principles guide and contribute to eating disorder prevention
  • Learn one expressive arts intervention for eating disorder prevention for Two-Spirit and LGBTQIA+ youth

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