The Canada-Wide 2SLGBTQQIA+ COVID-19 Survey is the largest bilingual national social health survey dedicated to Two-Spirit, Indigiqueer, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, and other sexually and gender diverse people in Canada. It is made possible through the work of a large team of researchers and community partners, and the support of Community-Based Research Centre (CBRC), Egale Canada, The Enchanté Network, and 2 Spirits in Motion Society.

The Principal Investigator for this project is Nathan Lachowsky at the University of Victoria. For more information on this research project, please contact our team via email at [email protected], by calling toll-free at 1-844-900-2279 or through social media (Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram). 

We invite you to learn more about all of the amazing people who contributed to the study, and how we are connected to our communities and these issues. Check out their profiles below.

Disponible en français.

Ronnie Ali (They/Them) - Toronto, Ontario

I acknowledge that my experiences with power, privilege and oppression are mixed: I struggle with experiences of transphobia/transmisogyny, racism, homophobia, classism, xenophobia, and mental health stigma, as an able-bodied, educated, housed, and professionally employed individual.

As a person with lived experiences of marginalization and oppression, and as a psychotherapist working in queer and trans communities, it was important to bring critical insights into the conversation about how COVID-19 has impacted our communities across the country.

 

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Vhil Castillejos (He/Him) - Toronto, Ontario

I have been involved in the 2SLGBTQ+ health and HIV sectors since 2016 in many capacities including social service programming, research, and resource development. In the past, I have worked with groups including Asian Community AIDS Services (ACAS), the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research, Ryerson University's HIV Prevention Lab, and the Gay Men's Sexual Health Alliance; and was a fellow in Toronto's second cohort of Investigaytors. I draw from my work with these groups, along with my lived experience as a young queer Filipino immigrant in Toronto, in informing my participation in this committee.

This work is important to me because, as a young queer Filipino immigrant, I understand the health and health access barriers that are faced by individuals from underserved communities, especially those who have intersecting marginalized identities (in relation to race, gender, immigration status, age, etc.). Drawing from my lived experience, I have developed a passion in serving and advocating for these marginalized communities through my work in the community, including my participation in this committee.

 

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Jeff Chalifoux (He/Him) - Edmonton, Alberta

I am an Indigenous Two Spirit Social Worker and my work centres within the 2SLGBTQ+ community at the intersections of sex/uality and substance use; a community that is impacted immensely by COVID-19. According to the binary I am born male and present male and I identify as pansexual. Lastly, I am a citizen of the Métis Nation of Cree, Scottish and Irish descent.

The impacts of COVID-19 within my community and especially with my client base have been dire and even fatal. As a social worker and Two Spirit, it is seemingly innate to assist and support our communities as best within my abilities. This work will create new knowledge that may inform future support for the betterment of the health and wellness of our communities.

 

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Cristiani de Oliveira Dias aka Cris Dias (She/Her) - Toronto, Ontario

As an enthusiastic graduate of a Community Development Work Diploma, I acquired excellent knowledge, skills and experience promoting educational youth-based programming. Additionally, as an openly bisexual woman, I also have a personal understanding of the issues and challenges that the 2SLGBTQ+ community faces and have a lifelong commitment to developing programs that provide an inclusive support system for marginalized youth.

My passion for supporting vulnerable communities began when I created a high school literature study group after coming out as bisexual. I was raised in a conservative family, and this process was challenging and overwhelming for me. However, the group acted as a safe space at the time for me to be myself unapologetically. In the small city where I was born and raised, there was no social programming to help minority groups. So, I made it my purpose to create this space for my peers and maintained it as I continued through College and, eventually, University. Now in Canada, I am still committed to supporting marginalized youth and advocating for their rights to healthy food, a safe environment, good education, and reliable support systems.

I am also a part of "2SLGBTQ+ Community Brazil to Toronto," where we support each other by promoting fundraising events, podcasting our experiences and challenges in Canada, and reflecting on the struggles of the 2SLGBTQ+ community in Brazil. Nonetheless, as an immigrant in Canada, I fight to recognize our background skills, culture, the flexibility of laws of immigration and especially for the well-being of international students. Fighting for equity and justice is what drives my work the most.

 

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Yasmine El Addouli (She/Her) - Montréal, Québec

I am a French registered nurse currently completing a master's degree in public health (global health option) at the University of Montreal. As a woman of colour, I am fully aware that being part of some communities/minorities worsen the impact of crises such as the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition to the exacerbation of violence and discrimination, we are more exposed to social, economic and health issues.

As a future professional in global health, I want to dedicate my career to Human Rights and health iniquities reduction. I am very honoured to be a part of this project, and I truly believe community empowerment is a key: understanding how the pandemic hit us is essential if we want to raise people’s awareness and find ways to attenuate or prevent these effects.

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Luke Esteban Gosselin (He/Him) - Québec

I am nonbinary transmasculine.

Because of the pandemic, it is becoming more relevant how the LGBTQ+ community is isolated and invisible. People had already a hard time gaining access to care and help in normal time, and this is exacerbated in these last few months.

We need to know what is happening and how COVID-19 is affecting us. I speak from a place of privilege despite my transness; I use it to give a way for those of us who have to fight every day to be seen and heard.

I believe everyone has the chance to help others in small ways. This is mine.

     

Jason Garcia (They/Them) - Edmonton, Alberta / Toronto, Ontario

I'm a Latinx queer non-binary, racialized young professional who strives to honour critical social justice praxes, taking much inspiration from transformative healing justice work, in whatever ways that I can in the capacities that I am able.

I'm grateful that these aspects of my identity, at best, can be insightful sources of knowledge and strength at the personal and political levels of consciousness. Yet, at a deeper level, additional layers of my positionality and lived experiences include the following: being multilingual, fat, a child of immigrants, ADHD diagnosed & mad-identified, a survivor of sexual assault and relationship violence, etc. These additional layers are very real, multifaceted perspectives that can offer a deep sense of insight in navigating not only my place within the LGBTQ2S+ community, but also, the world at-large. Unsurprisingly, this is the reality for so many other queer folks.

I do not come with a single identity. Queer people do not come with a single identity. Oftentimes, being complex beings can bring forth a sense of shame, isolation and disconnection from our wider community not just from the outside in, but as well as within our own communities, and at times, even our own internalized sense of self.

My hope is, bringing this visibility forward, and leaning in more intentionally to share space with fellow, multi-layered queer folks, can bring forth meaningful opportunities to identify the many ways this study can capture the lived experiences of all types of queer people in our communities.

We are all people with very real experiences in navigating, and perhaps even coping, with novel coronavirus. It is crucial that queer people feel they are very much able to communicate their experiences as honestly as possible without judgement with the hopes for further compassion and change.

As social worker and advocate Brené Brown often reminds us: "shame thrives in secrecy, silence and judgement"—it is crucial that we do our very best to allow our community to alleviate any shame, including the traumas often associated being multi-faceted queer people, where possible.

In the times of a pandemic, now more than ever, is there the need for further compassion and empathetic understanding of each other's lived experiences, including our own. As a community, we cannot thrive without leaning into these truths, striving for our own freedom and liberation.

 

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Nicole Jones-Abad (She/Her, They/Them) - Edmonton/ Amiskwaciy

I fall within the LGBTQ2S+ umbrella. Specifically, I am a latinx, neurodivergent, disabled, racialized trans-femme person of colour who is a guest to the land I’m on. In terms of sexual orientation, I use terms such as bisexual, pansexual and queer. A big part of my life right now is doing work within the queer and trans community, through research, and also through grassroots organizing.

I decided to apply for this opportunity because since the pandemic started, I’ve seen how hard it's been on people within the queer and trans community, especially for those that are QTBIPOC (Queer, Trans, Black , Indigenous, People of Colour). I have hopes for this project and I want to join the other advisors in helping guide it.

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Ryan Khungay (He/Him) - Coast Salish Territory of the Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ Nations / Victoria, BC

I identify as a cisgender, gay, South-Asian male who is a son to immigrant parents. I am an uninvited settler on Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ Nations' territories (Victoria, BC) and previously I have lived the majority of my life as an uninvited visitor on the Secwe̓pemc Peoples' traditional territory, also known as Kamloops, BC.

I am really excited to be involved in this study! It is important to me based on the intersections of my lived experiences and it aligns with my passions for social justice and decolonial equity work. As a racialized gay man, and also as someone who has worked as a social worker in medical services for a number of years, I have had significant experiences of both personally encountering and witnessing racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, and transphobia within settings that are intended to provide equitable healthcare to all. The challenges that LGBTQ2S+ folks with diverse intersecting identities face are often erased in discourses that inform healthcare policy. Therefore, I am hopeful that I can bring a nuanced lens to help inform this important study that will in turn help folks access healthcare in ways that are less oppressive.

 

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Lionel Lehouillier (He/Him, They/Them) - Gatineau, Québec

I love working for my communities. As a trans queer non binary neurodivergent francophone, I feel like I'm connected to so many different groups and am fascinated by intersectionality as a concept and reality. I also recognize that I am privileged enough to have a voice and I try to use it as much as possible to empower others, also while living as a settler on unceded territory. I see this opportunity as a concrete way of helping and empowering my community and queer relations.

The 2SLGBTQ+ community was already marginalized before COVID-19 hit us. The pandemic has underlined very brightly the inequalities that were already there. Health services, already very problematic, inaccessible and unadapted to trans and non-binary people became simply impossible to navigate. This project is important for me because it specifically targets those disparities and addresses them.

 

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Keiran Letwiniuk (He/Him) - Kenora, Ontario

I am a queer, disabled, transgender male with Metis and Ukrainian heritage. All of these parts of me give me a unique perspective on these issues.

I have always been passionate about helping other 2SLGBTQ people. I want to be a voice for my community and help create positive and long lasting changes, especially when it comes to health care needs for 2SLGBTQ and other marginalized populations.

     

Jonathon Potskin (He/Him) - Vancouver, BC

As a Two Spirit researcher I wanted to be able to bring my experience to the table.

It is important to me that we create inclusivity within our communities.

 



Karen L. Blair (She/Her) - Peterborough, Ontario

My students and I began studying LGBTQ+ experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic in late March 2020 and quickly identified a number of ways in which LGBTQ+ individuals in Canada and around the globe were being uniquely impacted by the pandemic. I wanted to be involved in this national study because it will provide us with a clearer picture of how LGBTQ+ Canadians have been impacted by COVID-19 and will allow for a more meticulous examination of how specific intersections of identity relate to mental and physical well-being throughout the pandemic. We can now see that the pandemic will be with us for some time and the more we can understand about how different groups are impacted by the pandemic, the better prepared we can be to support everyone. 

     

Aaron Devor (He/Him) - University of Victoria, BC

I have been a member of LGBTQ2I+ communities for more than 50 years, first in the LGQ spectrum, and more recently as trans. I was an activist in queer communities in the 1970s and 1980s. I have been a researcher with gender-diverse communities since the mid-1980s. In 2011, I founded the Transgender Archives at the University of Victoria. In 2014, I founded the Moving Trans History Forward conferences. In 2016, I founded the Chair in Transgender Studies, also at the University of Victoria. Ethnically, I am Jewish with ancestors from the Baltics and Germany.

I am guided by the Jewish social justice concept of Tikkun Olam (Repair of the World). Rabbi Tarfon, wrote in Pirke Avot (Wisdom of the Elders) 2:21 "It is not your responsibility to finish the work of perfecting the world, but you are not free to desist from it either."

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Daniel Grace (He/Him) - Toronto, Ontario

I am a queer medical sociologist who conducts research with diverse sexual and gender minority communities. I am committed to advancing the social and structural determinants of health for sexual and gender minorities.

 

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Francisco Ibáñez-​Carrasco (He/Him) - Toronto, Ontario

Born in Santiago, Chile, I came to Canada in 1985 and acquired HIV, started his AIDS activism in 1989, got a PhD in Education in 1999. I worked in the HIV field until 2019 as educator and community based researcher in non-profits and universities. I have published fiction and nonfiction in the US and Canada. My memoirs, “Giving It Raw” came out in 2015. I am an Assistant Professor, Learning Innovations, at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto.

 

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Beth Jackson (She/Her) - Ottawa, Ontario

I am a white, cisgender, gender non-conforming, lesbian/queer woman. I have worked to advance health equity for over 30 years: in the late 1980s-early 1990s in Winnipeg, I worked with sex trade workers, housing advocates and colleges/universities on HIV/AIDS prevention and support; in the late 1990s-early 2000s in Toronto, I worked with street-involved youth on supportive services, and with a national research group focused on gender equity in health care reform; and since 2007, I’ve focused my efforts on strengthening equity in evidence, policy and programs in the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) (Ottawa). In my 13 years at PHAC I’ve led work on the measurement and monitoring of health inequalities in Canada, and the social determinants of health and health inequities for 2SLGBTQ+, Indigenous, Black, and immigrant populations, and others marginalized by inequitable health and social systems (for example).

 

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Rod Knight (He/Him) - Vancouver, British Columbia

I live and work on unceded Indigenous territories, including the territories of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) First Nations. I am a gay cisgender white settler. I would like to identify ways to make the lives of LGBTQ2I+ people better.

 

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Nathan Lachowsky (He/Him) - Victoria, British Columbia, traditional territory of the Lekwungen peoples, and the Songhees, Esquimalt and W̱SÁNEĆ nations

I am a gay/queer cis man with Ukrainian and British heritage. I am proud and humbled to co-lead research with communities that I am a part of. I acknowledge my educational, economic, and others privileges, and view these as a call to action to better the lives of those in our communities who are most marginalized. It has never been easy being different. Before COVID-19, our communities already faced systemic discrimination and numerous health and social inequalities. During COVID-19, the government has failed to collect and report data that illuminates the unique experiences of our communities. This study aims to fill the gap. 

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Matthew Numer (He/Him) - Halifax, Nova Scotia

I'm a cisgender gay man located in Halifax. I've been working and advocating in the field of HIV and queer health for most of my career.

I think it is important to recognize and understand how diverse communities are impacted by Covid-19, particularly in relation to health and well-being.

 

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Margaret Robinson (She/Her) - Sesetkuk, Mi’kmaki

I approach work with LGBTQ2I+ communities as an insider researcher. I’m an L’nuskw scholar from Eskikewa’kik Nova Scotia and a member of Lennox Island First Nation. I identify as two-spirit, queer, and bisexual. I conduct health research with sexual and gender minority communities, drawing on my background as a bisexual activist and community-builder, and as a journalist for the queer press. I work at Dalhousie University where I hold a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Reconciliation, Gender, and Identity.

Queer and Indigenous communities bring a lot of wisdom to COVID-related work because this isn’t our first pandemic. We know the importance of love, culture, and celebration for keeping our communities well. This work matters to me as a Mi’kmaw woman because colonialism has long overburdened Indigenous communities with infectious disease. It also matters to me as a bisexual, since bi people are still stigmatized as vectors for disease transmission. I approach this work with a commitment to reduce stigma and to privilege lived experience.

 

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Kristopher Wells (He/Him) - Edmonton, Alberta

I have been a researcher, educator, and advocate on LGBTQ2 issues for over 20+ years, including extensive work supporting LGBTQ youth, curriculum, policy, and gay-straight alliances. Currently, I serve as the Co-Editor of the Journal of LGBT Youth.

Paying attention to diversity, equity and human rights are critical in reducing disparities, promoting equality, and improving health outcomes for our community.

 

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Tobias Wiggins (He/Him) - Calgary, Alberta

I am an assistant professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Athabasca University (AU). My research centers transgender mental health, queer visual culture, clinical transphobia, community-based wellness, and psychoanalysis. Broadly, my work aims to address the continued psychiatric pathologization of gender variance and to support the efficacy of trans-competent medical care. At AU, I coordinate the University Certificate in Counselling Women, an interdisciplinary program which applies feminist theory to the practice of counselling. My recent research has been published in the Transgender Studies Quarterly and the anthology Sex, Sexuality and Trans Identities: Clinical Guidance for Psychotherapists and Counselors.

 

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