Those invited to participate in this research project are those who identify as a woman, as LGBTQ+, are between the ages of 19-29, have gone to public high school in Toronto, and currently live in Toronto.
The high school classroom is a formative space for young women in Canada to learn about sexuality and sexual health (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2003). However, researchers have noted that many high school sex education curricula uphold strict definitions of gender roles and ignore non-normative sexualities (McNeill, 2013; Bay-Cheng, 2003). This oversight provokes the question of where young women who are outside of society’s heteronormative expectations of gender and sexuality, learn about sexual health. The purpose of this research project is to examine and explore the spaces in which LGBTQ women learn about sexual health in Toronto. I will seek to determine: (1) How LGBTQ women in Toronto gain sexual health education that is relevant to their lives, (2) Where these educational experiences take place, both inside and outside of conventional educational spaces, and (3) If the spaces themselves affect the ways in which sexual health education is received. For example, are women learning about sexual health from the Internet and/or through community organizations? If they are learning about sexual health at school, does the environment of the school affect the way sexual health education is received? My project will shed light on these issues.
How will this research help LGBT people and communities?
Within Canadian sexual health programs, disparities exist as sexual health is particularly threatened for LGBTQ youth who face homonegativity and heterosexist bias within school settings (Maticka-Tyndale, 2008). While these disparities have been established, there is a lack of knowledge about how such disparities go on to affect the later lives of members of the LGBTQ community, and especially queer women, when it comes to their sexual health education. This analysis of spaces of education will expand our knowledge of how and where LGBTQ women learn about sexual health, which will contribute to broader ongoing conversations and current political debates surrounding sexual health education in Ontario. The project hopes to add to this conversation of LGBTQ sexual health needs, with the greater goal of improving sexual health education of queer women.
The compensation for participating in the research project is $20, which will be given at the time of the interview.
Name: Clio Fregoli