Dialogues on Gender, Sexuality, Health & Change

Thursday May 19 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm (Eastern Daylight Time)
plateforme virtuelle

Session Code: GAS1
Session Format: séance régulière
Session Language: anglais
Research Cluster Affiliation: Gender and Sexuality
Session Categories: Séance Régulière

This session examines the intersection of health and gender and sexuality. The sociology of gender and sexuality has demonstrated innumerably inequities within healthcare assess and treatment for women and sexual and gender diverse people – many of which have been exacerbated within the Covid-19 pandemic. These inequities are further disproportionately faced by racialized people. Health and medicalization continue to be a force of regulation of bodies and neoliberal responsibilization, while also functioning as a site of discrimination and barrier to the fostering of inclusivity and tolerance within our society. Tags: égalité et Inégalité, Genre, santé et soins, Sexualité

Organizers: Chris Tatham, University of Toronto, Paulina García-Del Moral, University of Guelph; Chairs: Chris Tatham, University of Toronto, Paulina García-Del Moral, University of Guelph


Jade Boyd, University of British Columbia

Reconsidering violence in overdose response: Mothers who use criminalized drugs in the context of a toxic drug supply

This presentation identifies key gaps in overdose prevention interventions for mothers who use criminalized drugs and the paradoxical impact of institutional practices which can increase overdose risk in the context of a toxic drug supply. This study draws on semi-structured interviews with 40 women and gender diverse persons accessing two women-only (gender diverse inclusive) low-barrier supervised consumption sites in Greater Vancouver, Canada, between 2017-2019. Analysis draws on intersectional understandings of structural, everyday, and symbolic violence. Participants’ substance use and overdose risk (e.g., injecting alone) was shaped by fear or loss of child custody/reunification. Findings indicate that punitive policies and institutional practices that equate women and gender diverse persons who use drugs as unfit parents continue to negatively shape the health and wellbeing of participants, most significantly among Indigenous participants. Gender-specific and culturally-attentive harm reduction responses, including services that support community-based initiatives to maintain parent–child relationships, may decrease overdose risk.

Julia Gruson-Wood, University of Guelph

"I Need To Know Who The Biological Father Is?" Intersectional exclusion experiences of Ontario 2SLGBTQI+ parents accessing health care

In this presentation I share findings from a two-year interdisciplinary, arts-informed, qualitative research project, Precarious Inclusion: Studying Ontario 2SLGBTQI+ Parents Experiences Childrearing in Post-Legal Parity Context. Precarious Inclusion focused on investigating what 2SLGBTQI+ parents’ current experiences of belonging and exclusion are when navigating legal, institutional, and social interactions in everyday life. The study centrally explored how intersecting identities with regards to sexuality, gender, geography, disability, class, race, Indigeneity, and ethnicity influence 2SLGBTQI+ parents’ experiences. In addition to conducting semi-structured interviews with 32 families with young children, Precarious Inclusion also included a video-making component where the research team invited 13 diversely positioned 2SLGBTQI+ families to each create a short digital story about their belonging/exclusion experiences. For this presentation, I (the Principal Investigator for Precarious Inclusion) plan to share a key finding from the interview and digital storytelling data, which is that healthcare is the most common site of 2SLGBTQI+ discrimination, cisheteronormativity, and misrecognition for our parent participants. Moreover, enactments of 2SLGBTQI+ discrimination in healthcare were often complexly intertwined with systemic racism, colonialism, and ableism. By drawing on the digital stories and interview data, I focus on three intersectional forms of discrimination in healthcare that our 2SLGBTQI+ parent participants experienced and that impacted the whole family: 1) misrecognition  as related to gender identity, sexuality, race, and parenting role; 2) textual exclusion via healthcare forms, screening questionnaires, and organizational/provincial policies; and 3) disjuncture experiences: for example, when a 2SLGBTQI+ parent has a healthcare experience that involves a friendly fertility doctor but a homo or trans phobic fertility policy. In sum, Precarious Inclusion indicates that, though necessary, accessing healthcare continues to constitute a key barrier to wellbeing for 2SLGBTQI+ parents and families. I close this presentation by synthesizing how Precarious Inclusion is intervening on healthcare practices to reduce discrimination experiences.

Rachelle Miele, Wilfrid Laurier University; Jennifer Root, Wilfrid Laurier University; Rebecca Godderis, Wilfrid Laurier University; Sonia Meerai, York University

Extending Feminist Ethics of Care: Reflections, Lessons, and Methodological Considerations for Doing Gender Research During A Pandemic

This paper presents the general experiences and methodological decision-making of an interdisciplinary research team attempting to study the impacts of Covid-19 on service delivery to survivors of gender-based violence accessing healthcare. This community-driven project, emerging from identified needs of our local healthcare organization, was originally conceptualized near the onset of the pandemic, in the summer of 2020. Our plan was to map changes in frontline practices necessitated by the fast-changing landscape of safety and ‘stay at home’ directives by drawing together frontline helping professionals (social workers, nurses, counselors, etc.) who could simultaneously benefit from the opportunity to share their experience in a focus group of their peers, while also contributing to disciplinary and practice knowledges informing service delivery in the context of a global pandemic. The initial design (a qualitative focus group study with frontline service providers) has undergone numerous modifications, under considerable discussion and evaluation by members of the research team.  This presentation will focus on the process of adjustment and justification used by the research team to meaningfully shift the design of this study by attending to issues including 1) timing, place, and context, 2) methodology, 3) methods, 4) responsibility to our community partner, 5) responsibility to survivors of gender-based violence, and 6) responsibility to each other as researchers.  An emerging framework for engaging in participant-centred research, consistent with feminist ethics of care in research, will be explored and we will highlight alignment with existing research and best practices related to working with research participants who have often been described as ‘vulnerable’ and/or ‘hard-to-reach’.

Chris Tatham, University of Toronto

Gender, Sexuality, Health & HIV Criminalization

In Canada, the disclosure of HIV has been mandated by law since 1998. In R v Cuerrier, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that people living with HIV had the legal responsibility to disclose their status to their sexual partners as any sexual interaction will result in exposure to ‘significant risk of bodily harm’.  Failure to disclose one’s status vitiated their partner’s consent and could result charges of aggravated sexual assault (with or without transmission of the virus).  In 2012, the Supreme Court clarified the law. Now, people living with HIV are legally mandated to disclose their status to their partners when there is a ‘realistic possibility of transmitting HIV’. As such, the use of condoms while having a low viral load no longer requires disclosure, from a legal perspective. This paper examines the strategies by which straight and LGBTQ women and men understand and navigate the criminalization of non-disclosure of HIV and discusses the ramifications of this legal approach upon the relationships and health of people living with HIV. This qualitative study is based upon semi-structured, open ended interviews with 75 HIV positive straight and LGBTQ women and men across Ontario.