The Queer and Trans Research Lab Announces the Recipients of the Emerging Projects Grants

In 2021, The Queer and Trans Research Lab (QTRL) at The Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies developed the Emerging Projects Fund to provide support to University of Toronto faculty members and graduate students whose scholarly and community work attends to entrenched and emerging social and political problems affecting 2SLQBTQI+ and BIPOC lives and communities. 

We are thrilled to announce this year’s recipients: 

1) Black Gender-Expansive Youth: Exploratory Research on the Lives of Black Gender- Expansive Youth in School, Family, and Community 

Principal Investigators:                    

J. Garrett-Walker, APHD, OISE, UofT 

Lance McCready, LHAE, OISE, UofT  

Tanitia Munroe, LHAE (PhD candidate) and Senior Research Coordinator, Centre for Black Excellence, Toronto District School Board                        

Recent research has shown that 40% of 2SLGBTQI+ individuals endorsed expansive sexual identities (i.e., asexual, pansexual, and queer) outside of traditionally defined sexual identities (i.e., lesbian, gay, bisexual, heterosexual) while 34% of participants indicated an expansive gender identity (i.e., transgender, genderqueer/non-binary and “other”—agender, androgynous, or bigender). However little work has examined how Black gender expansive youth understand, conceptualize, or experience their gender at the intersection of their other identities (such as race, sexuality, religion). Their experiences of identity development and community dynamics have a long-standing history in the socio-political and cultural landscape of their educational acquisition. Black queer and trans youth are oftentimes rendered invisible within educational contexts and are also profoundly aware that if they choose to be “out,” this visibility may also add another layer of vulnerability. Research with Black 2SLGBTQI+ youth in Canada remains nascent in its scope, and what available literature does exist, lacks deep insight into the experiences of Black gender expansive youth. In collaboration with the Toronto District School Board the current study seeks to explore Black queer youth’s experiences. This study hopes to 1) gain insights into the experiences of gender expansive Black young people and 2) begin the process of developing best practices for supporting them in their schools and communities.  

2) End of the Line Press: a publisher of poetry, prose, and visual art monographs by trans, non-binary, and Two-Spirit artists 

Primary Investigators:         

Hugh O’Neill, PhD Candidate, Centre for Comparative Literature

Sarah Dowling, Assistant Professor, Centre for Comparative Literature 

Rebecca Comay, Professor, Centre for Comparative Literature and Department of Philosophy 

The first of its kind, End of the Line Press will be an independent publisher of prose, poetry, and visual arts monographs with a focus on support for emerging trans, non-binary, and Two-Spirit creators. As the organization grows in the coming years, the press will form a worker cooperative constituted by its authors, editors, designers, and artists. The primary goal is to enable and to uplift emerging authors and artists by offering editorial assistance tailored to their projects and promotional backing to advance their work and build their audiences. Established artists will provide guidance for each author to be published, thereby ensuring that they have a network of encouraging readers and designers with which to work in collaboration. Trans literature, as a nascent tradition, is making space for itself in universities and on library shelves. End of the Line Press aims to be a part of this growth and to shift the power of representation, especially in gender expression and identity, from media industries writ large to the very artists who do the creative labour yet lack institutional access and support. End of the Line Press will welcome prose of all genres, such as Young Adult novels, essay collections, memoirs, cookbooks, and short story collections.  

3) Queering Museums 

Primary Investigators:         

Patrick Keilty, PI, Associate Professor, Faculty of Information and Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies  

Sascha Priewe, Associate Vice President, Strategic Initiatives & Partnerships, Royal Ontario Museum  

Graduate Student Research Assistants from the University of Toronto (TBD) 

A collaboration between the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) and the Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies, “Queering Museums” will work with students, museum curators, scholars, and museum goers to extend the ROM’s existing mobile tours app to navigate queer stories within the museum’s permanent exhibit. Conceived broadly, “queer stories” might include hidden and unexpected stories about gender and sexuality from objects in the museum, such as Ancient Greece and Rome, Indigenous sexualities, clothing, Japanese art – or even whales, dinosaurs, mushrooms, snails, spiders, and climate change.  This project enhances student learning by hiring Research Assistants with relevant experience in developing mobile technologies, graphic design, user-experience design, research, content creation, and museum experience or public history. Students will research mobile app design, space design, information retrieval, museum navigation, and the design of digital artifacts. That research will feed directly into a design proposal for extending the ROM’s existing mobile tours app to navigate queer stories within the museum’s permanent collections and develop a prototype of the design feature within the ROM’s existing mobile tours app. “Queering Museums” thus has long-term implications for cultural heritage organizations, and research within museum studies, human-computer interaction, and user-experience design.  

4) Full Moon Fire Keeping Capacity Building in Toronto 

Primary Investigators:         

Katherine Yee (MA Student, Geography and Planning)  

Rebecca Beaulne-Stuebing (PhD Candidate, OISE)  

Dr. Angela Mashford-Pringle (Public Health) 

Dr. Michelle Daigle (Geography and Planning) 

Co-Researchers:                    

Shane Camastro (MSW Student, Indigenous Trauma and Resiliency)

Andrea Bastien (Indigenous Land Stewardship Circle) 

Marie Laing (MA graduate, OISE; Community Researcher) 

Erica Violet Lee (MA graduate, OISE; Writer and Community Organizer) 

Jordan Tabobondung (Community Educator) 

Erika Pulfer (Community Educator) 

Sheri Osden Nault (Artist and Educator) 

The Full Moon Fire Keeping Capacity Building Project will engage a research collective of Indigenous women, two spirit and LGBTQ+ indigenous people in a process of relationship building, dialogue, knowledge-sharing, and mentorship to develop community capacity for keeping of sacred fires in the context of full moon ceremonies in Toronto. The need for this project was identified by Indigenous graduate students at the University of Toronto and their communities and responds to Toronto Indigenous community needs by addressing insufficient access to safe, knowledgeable firekeepers to support sacred fires for community full moon ceremonies. The project is focused on learning from Indigenous women and two spirit people about what safety and welcoming can mean in relation to sacred fires and full moon ceremonies. The project will bring ceremony Elders, knowledge keepers, helpers, and learners together to facilitate mentorship and co-learning through stories, practice, and knowledge sharing around sacred fires. The purpose of this project is to support Indigenous women, two spirit, and LGBTQ+ indigenous people in making our own fires. By reducing barriers to access skills, knowledge, and teachings in relation to sacred fires, this research aims to build community relationships and capacity. The project will be collaboratively facilitated by Indigenous community members as co-researchers and co-learners. 

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