What Sexual and Gender Minority Youth Need to Become Resilient
As a gay man, Dr. André P. Grace, Canada Research Chair in Sexual and Gender Minority Studies, says he is troubled by the fact that, while he can legally marry in Canada, he still cannot go into a public washroom without seeing the word “faggot” scrawled on walls and stalls. Grace sees a disconnect between Canada’s supportive laws and the harsh daily realities encountered by sexual and gender minority (SGM) youth, who often experience hate incidents and crimes in their schools and in malls, parks and other public areas.
Sexual and gender minorities include lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, two-spirit Aboriginal and intersexual people. Like other minorities, they are protected by Canada’s legal system. But Grace believes that, despite these protections, SGM youth are often failed by the institutions meant to care for them, such as schools and hospitals.
Grace and his research team at the University of Alberta are addressing the need for greater connections among research, policy and practice relating to SGM youth in Canada. He seeks to enable people working in education and health care to join forces in helping SGM youth become more resilient. Under his guidance, these professionals are putting their heads together to create, monitor and evaluate ethical practices, programs, strategies and interventions to make concrete, positive differences in the lives of SGM youth.
Grace’s unique approach is addressing the inequality often experienced by SGM youth, while recognizing them as young Canadians who deserve the same respect, accommodation and opportunities as everyone else.