SARAVYC Research Symposium-April 25


Our interdisciplinary team will be sharing quantitative and qualitative outcomes from long term trends analysis as well as more recent qualitative insights into LGBTQ youth environments and schools.

Please RSVP to  Light refreshments will be served.

April 25, 2016


Room T206

3rd Floor, UBC Hospital


Presentations include:

Disordered Eating among Massachusetts Heterosexual and Sexual Minority Adolescents over the last 15 years- Dr. Ryan Watson

Sexual minority (i.e., lesbian, gay, bisexual) youth report higher rates of disordered eating compared to heterosexuals: many report purging, fasting, and/or taking diet pills to lose weight, and these patterns of disordered eating have been linked to physiological and psychological problems for all youth. Despite these disparities being well documented, no studies have traced the trends in disordered eating over time and considered whether the disparities are narrowing or widening across sexual orientations. We considered the trends in disordered eating behaviors (purging, fasting, and using diet pills to lose weight) over the span of 14 years. Given the immediate and long term effects associated with disordered eating behaviors, it is important for researchers and clinicians to continue to explore that interventions and strategies are working in reducing disordered eating for sexual minority youth.


“Muddling through together”: educators navigating cisnormativity while working with trans and gender-nonconforming studentsDr. Hélène Frohard-Dourlent

There has been increased attention on transgender and gender-nonconforming youth and the obstacles that they face in schools, especially in terms of peer harassment and access to washrooms. Yet little is known about those who can potentially help create more hospitable school cultures for these students, including teachers, administrators, and counsellors. Drawing on 62 interviews conducted with school staff in four school districts in British Columbia, I illuminate the role that cisnormativity, or the belief that the fixed and binary nature of gender is an unchangeable fact, plays in shaping the way that educators respond to the presence of trans and gender-nonconforming students and make sense of their experiences. I highlight both the constraints that educators encounter, and moments in their stories of educators that offer some potential for disruption and resistance. These moments are an invitation to consider what it could look like to move beyond accommodating individuals and instead to shift school cultures to make them more hospitable to students in all of the complexities of their gendered embodiments.


Sexual Health Behaviours among Sexual Minority and Heterosexual Youth in British Columbia: Trends and Disparities, 1998-2013- Dr. Jones Adjei

Eventhough teen pregnancy rates in Canada and the United States have been declining over the past two decades, the rates for adolescents who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) in both countries may have been increasing. Using data from the province-wide surveys from over 15 years of the British Columbia Adolescent Health Survey, we investigate whether the trends and disparities in sexual health behaviours (i.e. lifetime sexual intercourse, condom use at last sex, and lifetime pregnancy involvement) have changed for different sexual orientation groups over time. While there are see there are some improvements in sexual health disparities between sexual minority and heterosexual youth in British Columbia, disparities for condom use and pregnancy remain.


Over the rainbow: LGBTQ and symbolic navigation- Jennifer Wolowic, ABD

While rainbows and safe space stickers have been a part of health care and school interventions promoting LGBTQ youth health and well-being, little research has been published describing how youth perceive and use the symbol. As part of a larger study on LGBTQ youth wellness, we explored youth perceptions of the rainbow and other symbols in creating supportive environments.   Interviews with 66 youth from different urban and rural communities in three states/provinces revealed how and potentially why youth use the rainbow symbolism as part of navigating their environment and social interactions as well as its limitations.

Is it getting better in Canada? Fostering resilience among LGBTQ youth and Families- Dr. Elizabeth Saewyc

Family relationship can be important sources of resilience for all youth, but LGBTQ youth have faced lower levels of support from parents and and families than their straight peers. With the changes in society, is this getting better for LGBTQ youth in Canada? Using teh same new research methods to test trends described in the other presentations, including whether the gap is narrowing or widening, we examine what’s happening in terms of family support for sexual minority youth in BC over 15 years.


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