Understanding the Long-Term Health Effects of Family Rejection on Queer and Transgender Women

Participants

- Queer &/or trans women- Aged 25-45- With personal experience of family rejection based on your gender identity, gender expression, and/or sexual orientation (at least 5 years ago)- Living in the GTA or able to reach the GTA for the study

Purpose

The objective of this research is to better understand the long-term impact of identity-based family rejection on the lives of queer and transgender women, and the ways family rejection impacts the life course trajectories of queer and transgender women.

Family rejection as a result of sexual and/or gender identity, and/or gender expression is a risk factor unique to queer (non-heterosexual) and transgender[1] women, compared to their heterosexual and cisgender counterparts. The immediate and short-term effects of identity-based family rejection on queer and transgender women are well established; this type of rejection can cause exacerbated levels of depression and suicidality increased substance use, lower levels of life satisfaction, increased sexual risk behaviours, legal problems, and is a leading cause of homelessness among queer and transgender youth. For some queer and transgender women, family rejection experiences can be severe, including verbal and/or physical assault from family members based on sexual and/or gender identity. The U.S. National Transgender Discrimination Survey (n=6456) found that transgender women were more likely to experience a higher severity of family rejection compared to transgender men, putting them at a higher risk for detrimental health outcomes.

The negative effects associated with identity-based family rejection may be caused by several reasons: family rejection itself is a stressor that can have direct negative impacts on mental health, economic security, and attendant health behaviours. It can also deprive queer and transgender women from the positive buffering effects of familial and close social support. Despite having knowledge of the short-term effects of identity-based family rejection on queer and transgender women, as well as the potential mediating pathways, we are only aware of one study that has examined the association between identity-based family rejection and health outcomes in adulthood for sexual minority women, which was based in Vietnam and none regarding transgender women.

To address this gap, we propose to explore the long-term effects of identity-based family rejection on queer and transgender women.

1. Examine the health trajectories of queer and transgender women who have experienced family rejection as a result of their sexual and/or gender identity, and/or gender expression.
2. Document the perspectives of queer and transgender women who have experienced family rejection as a result of their sexual and/or gender identity, and/or gender expression, regarding the relationship between their health trajectories and their experiences of rejection.

The main research questions include:
1. What are the long-term mental and physical health effects of identity-based family rejection on queer and transgender women?
2. How do experiences of identity-based family rejection shape the life course trajectories of queer and transgender women?

How will this research help LGBT people and communities?

The knowledge gained from this research will have the potential to inform physical and mental health interventions for queer and transgender women, especially those who have experienced identity-based family rejection. The findings of this study will also be used to facilitate future research regarding the long-term impact and effects of identity-based family rejection on the health and well-being of queer and transgender women. The findings may be used to directly inform another phase of research locally, nationally, and/or internationally.

Compensation

Participants will be compensated for their time and expertise with a $25 honorarium and two TTC tokens.

What mitigation measures are in place to reduce potential distress caused to participants as a result of being part of the research study?

Participants will be thoroughly informed that their participation is completely voluntary and their right to skip any questions they find distressing or any questions they wish to not answer. The research team has mental health training, Applied Suicide Intervention Skills, and extensive experience working with LGBTQ2S individuals experiencing homelessness.

When do you anticipate that this study's findings will be available?

2019-04-01

Contact

Name: Max Ferguson

Email: Max.Ferguson@camh.ca

Website: https://www.camh.ca/en/science-and-research/science-and-research-staff-directory/alexabramovich

Investigator

Dr. Alex Abramovich

Funded By

Women’s College Hospital

Deadline

2019-01-01

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