Researching for LGBTQ Health

Change

As community-based researchers, it is important to us to work in partnership with communities to use our research results to create positive change (also called knowledge translation) (1). In this way, we aim to use our research to improve LGBTQ health and access to health services. How we accomplish this may look different for each project, depending on the results of the research and what opportunities present themselves. However, we always ensure that we present our research findings to the communities that our research is about, so that our research enhances not just academic knowledge but also community knowledge. Knowledge translation activities may include:

  • Creating new community resources, if our research reveals that LGBTQ people don’t have access to information they need
  • Developing resources and training for service providers, if our research reveals that providers lack knowledge necessary to provide good care to LGBTQ people
  • Using our research to shape policy relevant to LGBTQ people

Here are some of the activities and resources we have created in collaboration with our project partners:

LGBTQ Parenting Resources

  • Adoption brochure – for LGBTQ people considering adoption
  • Booklet for adoption workers about LGBTQ adoption
  • Family Tree Poster – A poster celebrating the diversity of family structures and increasing the visibility of diverse families

Access these resources

Resources for Bisexual People

Our pilot project on bisexual mental health identified the need for more opportunities for bisexual people to connect with one another and access social support. Based on this information, our project partners developed the following resources:

  • An Ontario-wide bisexual listserv to connect bisexual people throughout Ontario with one another. Join and search ‘biOntario’
  • A support and educational group for bisexual people in the Toronto area. ‘The B Side: Exploring Bisexuality’ is run out of the Sherbourne Health Centre. Information

Training

Our research results have been combined with expertise from our partner organizations to create training sessions for service providers. Some of these include:

  • Workshops across Ontario with Adoption workers about working with LGBTQ families (Hamilton, Guelph, Sudbury, Ancaster, Ottawa, Toronto)
  • Workshop at the Adoption Resource Exchange about LGBTQ adoption
  • Workshops at fertility clinics about LGBTQ families – so far approximately 15 organizations in Ontario have received this training
  • Please contact us if you are interested in any of these training sessions (Email: lgbtq.health@camh.ca)
  • An educational intervention addressing values and attitudes of primary health care providers working with people with lived experiences of mental health and substance use issues has been developed. This training intervention will be delivered to nursing students at Toronto universities during the 2013-2014 academic year

Influencing Policy

Policy related to Assisted Human Reproduction/Fertility Services:

Drawing on her expertise and results from our research projects, project partner Rachel Epstein of the LGBTQ Parenting Network contacted the Assisted Human Reproductive Agency of Canada (AHRAC) concerning the impact of the Assisted Human Reproduction Act (AHRA) on LGBTQ parents. Several actions resulted from this:

  • The formation of the Assisted Human Reproduction Act (AHRA) / LGBTQ Working Group – a group of LGBTQ community members, researchers and service providers with a shared concern about the impact of the AHRA on LGBTQ people
  • The production by this working group of a position paper on the AHRA and its impact on LGBTQ communities
  • Rachel Epstein now sits on several committees of the AHRA, including the editorial committee, the multiple births committee, and the patient committee

In 2008, the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services created an Expert Panel on Infertility and Adoption to with the goal of improving access to adoption and fertility services for Ontarians. Our research team submitted a policy brief to this panel and Rachel Epstein and Dr. Lori Ross were invited to present to the panel. Our research findings were cited in the panel’s final document, Raising Expectations: Recommendations of the Expert Panel on Infertility and Adoption.

Legal

Dr. Lori Ross acted as an expert witness (speaking about the results of the MOMs study) in a charter case challenging the requirement that non-biological mothers go through the process of second-parent adoption before they can have legally recognized relationships with their children (Rutherford et al. v. Deputy Registrar General for the Province of Ontario, 2006). Project partner Rachel Epstein was also an Applicant in this case, which successfully eliminated this requirement for same-sex parents who conceive using unknown donor insemination.

Learn more about family law in relation to LGBTQ people and assisted human reproduction.


Note:

1. “Knowledge translation (KT) is defined as a dynamic and iterative process that includes synthesis, dissemination, exchange and ethically-sound application of knowledge to improve the health of Canadians, provide more effective health services and products and strengthen the health care system. This process takes place within a complex system of interactions between researchers and knowledge users which may vary in intensity, complexity and level of engagement depending on the nature of the research and the findings as well as the needs of the particular knowledge user”.
( Source)