Summit 2021: Disrupt and Reconstruct

October 27-29, 2021

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Summit 2021: Disrupt and Reconstruct

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused huge disruptions and innovations, alongside significant loss, preventable death and increased criminalization. Measures previously thought impossible – large-scale income supports, stay-at-home orders, restrictions on travel – were swiftly implemented. Now, as vaccination rates rise and cases fall across Canada, a growing sense of optimism is emerging about a “return to normal.” Yet reactions range as restrictions ease, depending on what our lives looked like before and during the pandemic.

For many gay, bi, trans, Two-Spirit and queer (GBT2Q) people, that reclamation of the status quo does not inspire hope. We’ve spent decades pushing back against a so-called “universal” health care system that has often failed our communities – even more so for those of us impacted by systemic and intersecting oppression based on race, income, ability and more. The pandemic, in many ways, amplified the injustices and inequities embedded within our systems and society. Rather than a “return to normal,” we must leverage the disruption caused by COVID-19 to re-imagine a system that addresses the gaps in care that existed before the pandemic and were heightened during it.

This includes addressing persisting gaps like:

  • The uneven coverage of, and access to, critically important care, including medications to treat and prevent HIV/STBBIs, gender-affirming care, mental health and harm reduction services, and more.
  • The lack of cultural competency in our healthcare system, including providers who often know little to nothing about our bodies, sexual relationships and drug use, and who are unable to understand the importance of our pronouns and partners. 

As advocates, community-based organizations and researchers, we’ve attempted to push for change on structural barriers and social determinants before, and we are long overdue for widespread, systemic change. As we head into a “post-pandemic” era, coupled with reinvigorated calls for racial justice, truth and reconciliation, many Two-Spirit, queer, trans and non-binary people are mobilizing to disrupt the systems that have failed our communities. As long as Canada’s health care system continues to prioritize some bodies over others, health equity will remain a foundational challenge to address.

At Summit 2021, we prioritize how we achieve equity in health care for our communities. If there are no limits in this reimagined system, what programming or services can be envisioned to address HIV/STBBIs, mental health, substance use, and other health and social issues that do not reinforce existing disparities? Summit 2021 challenges participants to lean into the disruption of the pandemic as an opportunity to rewrite routines of care and deconstruct systems that continue to leave out or deprioritize communities.

The oft-used pandemic rallying cry of “building back better” can only happen when we confront structural discrimination and stigma in order to achieve an inclusive and equitable vision of health and wellbeing for everyone in our communities.



Summit 2021: Virtual Format

Building on last year’s successful virtual edition, Summit 2021 will be hosted again online on October 27-29. Each conference day will include approximately 4 hours of virtual programming to facilitate live participation across Canada.

CBRC is committed to providing an inclusive and accessible Summit in order to support participation for everyone. This commitment includes offering free registration for the virtual Summit and providing simultaneous interpretation (e.g., English to French, French to English) and captioning services.

Registration for the virtual Summit is now open, visit to register. Registration for the pre-Summit webinar series on October 18-26 will be released in early October. Sign up to the CBRC mailing list to stay on top of updates!

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Information on Submitting Presentation Proposals for Summit 2021

Everyone and anyone is welcome to submit a presentation proposal for Summit 2021. Submissions may include, but are not limited to, short oral presentations, panels, workshops, roundtable discussions or an alternate format that you propose. We especially encourage submissions that answer the questions:

  • What disruptions and reconstructions are needed to address persisting disparities experienced by GBT2Q communities, and inequities within GBT2Q communities?
  • How are GBT2Q communities resisting inequities and taking care of each other? What is needed to strengthen community-led initiatives for health and social equity?
  • How can community-based organizations, healthcare providers, researchers, and decision-makers be informed by people with lived experience, and work together to achieve a more equitable future?

We welcome proposals that identify community needs, promising interventions or practices in healthcare and social services that support the wellbeing of diverse GBT2Q communities. Submissions can be based upon research, programming, policy initiatives, advocacy, activism, art-based approaches, grassroots responses, and/or community-based actions engaging GBT2Q people in Canada or abroad. We encourage GBT2Q people with diverse lived experience to submit a proposal, and in particular, Indigenous, Black, and racialized individuals, and other underserved and underrepresented people in our communities, including but not limited to people living with HIV, drug users, sex workers, disabled folks, and people who are not “out”.

The following is a list of topics and issues you may consider in the context of Summit 2021:

  • Health care and community services:
    • Anti-racism and decolonizing policies, practices, and initiatives.
    • HIV and other sexually transmitted and blood-borne infection (STBBI) prevention, care, treatment, and support services.
    • Mental health services (e.g. counselling, suicide prevention).
    • Gender-affirming treatment, care, and support services.
    • Harm reduction, substance use, and addictions services.
    • Access and accessibility of services to support social determinants of health (e.g. housing, income support).
    • Inter/multi-sectoral collaborations that address community health and social needs.
  • Impacts of COVID-19 and related programs, services, and supports:
    • Mental, physical, sexual, and social health impacts of COVID-19.
    • Innovation and adaptation of programs and services due to COVID-19 (e.g. virtual counselling and support groups, online interventions, home/self-testing for HIV).
    • Mutual aid and other forms of grassroots, community-based organizing to respond to gaps in care and/or system failures.
  • Barriers and enablers to GBT2Q health equity:
    • Cultural competency among healthcare and other service providers.
    • Racism towards Black, Indigenous, and other racialized GBT2Q people within the healthcare system or queer or trans communities.
    • Internalized stigma (e.g. sexuality, gender, HIV, race, disability).
    • Community awareness, empowerment, leadership, and mobilization.

Submissions on other topics related to GBT2Q health are also welcome. If you have any questions regarding the Summit, including whether your proposal idea aligns with the conference’s theme, please contact us at [email protected].

Successful submissions will be featured in the Summit 2021 program and may include authors’ names (pseudonyms are accepted), affiliations, and a maximum 250-word description of their presentation or session. Presenters are not required to use their legal names, and may request to have their presentation removed from any published media from Summit 2021 proceedings.

The Call for Submissions for Summit 2021 is now closed.

Presentation Formats

1. Short Oral Presentation: 8-minute individual presentation & participation in facilitated panel discussion (total 60 minutes)

Ideal for research and evaluation findings, program or campaign reviews, and project results. The Programming Committee will group accepted proposals thematically into panels with 4 different presentations. Due to the virtual format, all presenters/panelists will be asked to prepare a brief, pre-recorded oral presentation (maximum 8 minutes) and will participate in a live facilitated Q&A session on the panel topic with panelists and audience members.

2. Workshop: 60 minutes

Ideal for live presentations involving skills development, knowledge exchange, capacity building, or interdisciplinary or interprofessional dialogue. Each workshop will last 60 minutes, and should include 20 minutes of engagement or discussion with the audience. These presentations should be interactive and focus on dynamic exchanges or discussions among participants.

3. Roundtable Discussion: 60 minutes

Ideal for live, interactive conversations amongst attendees on issues critical to the community. This can include broader discussions about systemic issues, access to care and services, and community responses to the Summit 2021 theme, Disrupt and Reconstruct. Each session will last 60 minutes and should be led by the presenter(s)/panelist(s).

4. Curated Panel: 60 minutes

Ideal for discussing an issue in greater detail with multiple experts. Integrated panels should include 3-4 brief, pre-recorded presentations and at least 20 minutes for a live facilitated Q&A session with the presenters/panelists. Proposals should identify all relevant presenters/panelists as well as a moderator for the 60-minute session.

5. Poster Presentation: Virtual Poster Exhibit

Ideal for sharing health promotion and education campaigns, artwork, research summaries, or program descriptions/updates. Summit 2021 will include live scheduled poster viewing sessions with authors/presenters, as well as a virtual poster exhibit that will be accessible on the conference platform throughout the duration of the Summit. Each presenter has the option to submit a poster (i.e., PDF or PPT file) or a pre-recorded video or audio presentation (maximum 10 minutes). If you are interested in using a different format or have questions about the poster presentation format, exhibit, or viewing sessions, please contact [email protected].


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Creators Project

Are you a gay, bi, trans, Two-Spirit, or queer (GBT2Q) creator passionate about queer, trans, and Two-Spirit health? Want a paid opportunity to learn, create content, and share it with others? If so, it sounds like the Summit Creators Project is the right fit for you!


What is the Summit Creators Project?

Each year, Community-Based Research Centre (CBRC) hosts a national Summit on GBT2Q health, where healthcare providers, community-based organizations, and community advocates come together to engage with the most innovative and exciting GBT2Q health research, programs, and initiatives happening across Canada.

For Summit 2021 (October 27-29), we are looking for GBT2Q content creators to attend at least two online Summit sessions and create a piece of content directly influenced by what they’ve learned. This content will then be shared widely online by Advance Alliance and our partners. So, if you’re a creator who’s passionate about supporting GBT2Q health and interested in a paid opportunity to expand your knowledge and develop creative content for our communities, read on for details on how to apply.

What do we mean “creators” and “content”?

We encourage all GBT2Q content creators who are interested to apply for this opportunity. However, in addressing racial inequities that are often present within GBT2Q health and art spaces, we are prioritizing creators who are Indigenous, Black or a person of colour (IBPOC) – as well as creators living with disabilities – for this opportunity.

Examples of eligible creators include artists (i.e. photographers, poets, illustrators, drag performers) and social media content creators (i.e. YouTubers, TikTok-ers, Instagram influencers). We welcome new and seasoned creators alike.

Eligible content can include anything directly influenced by the Summit session(s) you attend, as long as it can be shared online. This could include a physical piece of art (which we’d photograph for online sharing), digital art (i.e. graphics or illustrations), a song, a drag performance, or a video recap sharing your reflections on the Summit.

What are we asking you to do?

  • Attend one online orientation session on Friday, October 22, 2021
  • Pick your top three Summit sessions from a list provided
  • Attend at least two online Summit sessions (taking place October 27-29, 2021)
  • Create a piece of content directly influenced by the session you attended (to be shared alongside an interview with you via the social media channels of Advance Alliance and its partners) [to be completed by December 6 and shared online by mid-January]
  • Participate in one debrief/evaluation session [mid-to-late January]

What will you receive for your contributions?

  • Compensation: All Summit 2021 creators will receive a $250 honorarium in recognition of their time, talent, and efforts.
  • Expense reimbursement: Summit 2021 creators will be reimbursed up to $250 to cover content creation costs (i.e. canvas for painters, honoraria for models/performers). Expenses must be pre-approved and receipts will be required for reimbursement.
  • Exposure: Advance Alliance and its partners will promote Summit 2021 creator content via social media channels across the country.
  • Support: You’ll have direct support from a staff member of an Advance Alliance organization in your region to help you through each step of the process.

How do I apply?

Thanks for your interest in the Creators Project. Applications closed on October 8th, 2021 and we are no longer welcoming applications.

What if I have a question?

If you have questions, comments, or concerns about the project or application process, please feel free to contact Jaydee Cossar, Advance National Coordinator at [email protected].


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Keynote Speakers

CBRC is thrilled to announce our keynote speakers for Summit 2021 (taking place online Oct 27-29).


Florence Ashley (they/them)

Florence Ashley is a jurist and bioethicist currently completing doctoral studies at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law and Joint Centre for Bioethics. Metaphorically a biorg witch with flowers in their hair, they previously served as the first openly transfeminine clerk at the Supreme Court of Canada. Florence publishes on a wide range of issues facing trans communities, with a particular focus on trans conversion practices and approaches to trans youth care. Their activism and scholarship have earned them the Canadian Bar Association LGBT Hero Award.


Francisco Ibáñez-Carrasco (he/him)

Francisco Ibáñez-Carrasco’s rags to (somewhat) riches story started with migrating from Chile, from poverty and military dictatorship, to Canada at 22, getting diagnosed with HIV in 1985, becoming an AIDS activist in 1989, and pursuing a thrilling combination of community work and qualitative social-behavioural research. Currently, he is an assistant professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, a member of The Canada-International HIV and Rehabilitation Research Collaborative (CIHRRC) and fiction/non-fiction author. His research focuses on physical and cognitive rehabilitation in the context of HIV, queer men’s sexual health, e-learning for public health, HIV stigma, and autopathography (patient-oriented medical narratives).

Kai-Keynote-2.jpgKai Cheng Thom (she/her)

Kai Cheng Thom is an award-winning author, performance artist, and community healer. A somatically trained coach, consultant, and conflict resolution practitioner, she is also the developer of the Loving Justice methodology and works at the intersection of mind, body, and collective soul. Kai Cheng’s latest book, I Hope We Choose Love: A Trans Girl’s Notes from the End of the World (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2019), dives deeply into the topics of transformative justice, prison abolition, trauma-informed activism, and building queer and trans futures.

Her aim is to participate in a paradigm shift that moves beyond the simple politics of identity and diversity: “I dream of a movement that radically re-envisions the ways that we relate to one another.” Lately, she has been focusing her attention on the ways that trauma and oppression prevent people from building strong loving relationships, which in turn stops activist movements from creating sustainable interpersonal change.


Rinaldo Walcott (he/him)

Rinaldo Walcott is a writer, scholar, and cultural commentator whose work focuses on Black studies, queer theory, gender studies, and diaspora studies. He is professor in the Women and Gender Studies Institute at University of Toronto. He is the author of several books, including On Property (2021), The Long Emancipation: Moving Toward Black Freedom (2021), and Black Like Who?: Writing Black Canada (1997). You can follow him on Twitter @blacklikewho.


Jack Saddleback (he/him)

Jack Saddleback is a proud Nehiyaw (Cree) Two-Spirit/IndigiQueer, trans, gay man from the Samson Cree Nation in Maskwacis, Alberta. As the former co-interim executive director of OUTSaskatoon and the board co-chair of 2 Spirits in Motion, Jack works closely within the queer community and the Indigenous community to address reconciliation and decolonization work that incorporates an intersectional lens. As the former president of the University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union (USSU), was the third Indigenous person and the first transgender person to hold the role. A recipient of numerous awards, including the 2018 Saskatchewan Young Humanitarian of the Year award from the Red Cross, Jack brings a number of marginalized voices to the forefront through his inspirational work.

jaye-keynote-en.jpgjaye simpson (they/them)

jaye simpson is an Oji-Cree Saulteaux Indigiqueer from the Sapotaweyak Cree Nation. They are a writer, advocate, and activist sharing their knowledge and lived experiences in hope of creating utopia. They are published in several magazines including Poetry Is Dead, This Magazine, PRISM international, SAD Magazine: Green, GUTS Magazine, SubTerrain, Grain, and Room. Their work appears in two anthologies: Hustling Verse (2019) and Love After the End (2020). Their first poetry collection, it was never going to be okay, was shortlisted for the 2021 ReLit Award and a 2021 Dayne Ogilvie Prize Finalist while also winning the 2021 Indigenous Voices Award for Published Poetry in English. They are a displaced Indigenous person resisting, ruminating and residing on xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), and sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) First Nations territories, colonially known as Vancouver



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Accessibility Statement

CBRC is committed to providing an inclusive and accessible Summit in order to support participation for everyone. Our virtual edition provides us both with opportunities and challenges with regard to accessibility. To make our programming more accessible, CBRC is committed to:

  • Providing simultaneous interpretation (English to French or French to English) during live plenary sessions;
  • Offering automated simultaneous closed captioning for all presentation formats available in both English and French languages;
  • Publishing English- and French-captioned recordings of all Summit 2021 sessions on CBRC’s website in the following weeks after the Summit.

Though we are doing our best to enable everyone’s participation during Summit, we recognize that some needs may not be met through these measures. If you have other accessibility needs which have not been addressed through this statement, please let us know when completing your registration form. If you have questions or comments regarding the accessibility of Summit 2021, please contact [email protected].


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Community Guidelines

Our shared commitment to queer and trans health is part of what brings us together at Summit each year. In response to feedback from participants, we have introduced community guidelines to help us build a safer, supportive, and inclusive space. These guidelines include our expectations for how we treat each other within this space. We ask that you please:

  1. Respect personal experiences. In many cases, presenters, moderators, facilitators, and participants share from their personal experiences as part of the Summit. We know these personal experiences are powerful in shaping our understanding of the world around us. The experiences, and the words that the person uses to describe them, are not up for debate or disagreement.
  2. Follow guidelines from presenters, moderators, and facilitators. Summit welcomes many presenters and guests each year, and there are a variety of session types, each with different possibilities for participation. Throughout Summit, follow the specific guidelines for each presentation about confidentiality and participation (e.g. posting comments or questions). Most sessions will be recorded and published online in our content library after the Summit. If you have any concerns about being included in a recorded session, please contact us at [email protected].
  3. Share the space! Many of us have lots to say about the topics we will be considering. During questions and conversations, our team will prioritize new participants, participants who have not yet spoken, and participants who identify as a peer to the topic being discussed. We will do our best to ensure as many people as possible can participate. When participating in the live chat during a presentation, please ask your question or make your comment once, and our team will make sure to pass on questions and comments to the presenters.
  4. Participate from a place of learning and with an open mind. We all have something to learn from the Summit program, as well as things we can teach others. As a participant, you will play a key role in pushing discussions forward, asking questions, and building your capacity to enact change in your own local community.
  5. Presentations will be in the language preferred by the presenter(s)/speaker(s). We aim to ensure every presentation is accessible in either French or English by means of simultaneous automated closed captioning. All plenary and keynote sessions will include live interpretation and captioning. Live interpretation will be available for one out of the three presentations per concurrent session.

The live chat will be monitored for all Summit sessions. We will work with participants to ensure that all community guidelines are upheld and will follow up directly with those who do not respect them. If a participant is unable to participate in the Summit in a way that creates a supportive environment for all participants, they will be removed. Should you have a concern about someone’s participation, please let us know at [email protected].

Racism, transphobia, biphobia, sexism, homophobia, ableism, anti-Semitism, classism, fatphobia, Islamophobia, and other forms of discrimination or hate speech, as well as intimidation and personal attacks, are not permitted. Our team will address any of these instances immediately and will remove any participant from the virtual space who behaves in this way.

Content Note and Accessing Support: The Summit will cover a range of topics, including many that may bring up harmful, traumatic, violent, or isolating experiences. These topics include racism, anti-Black violence, sexual orientation and gender identity change efforts, criminalization of people living with HIV, suicide, addiction, sexualized violence, cissexism, and colonization.

We recognize that these kinds of presentations may be emotionally taxing for Black folks, Indigenous Peoples, and people of colour (BIPOC) We encourage participants to reach out to the counselling and mental health professionals that have partnered with Summit to process any of the content, feelings, or experiences it brings up. We also encourage participants to choose whether or not to participate in sessions based on their content. Please refer to the “Counselling” section of the Summit program below for more details.


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About the Summit

The Summit is CBRC’s annual knowledge exchange and capacity building conference on gay, bi, trans and non-binary, Two-Spirit, and queer men’s (GBT2Q) health. Since 2005, the Summit has brought together researchers, service providers, community members and organizations from across Canada and internationally to present the latest in GBT2Q health.

While the Summit continues to focus on GBT2Q people given CBRC’s history and ongoing work to address HIV and STBBIs within our communities, the conference is also intended to be an inclusive space for community-based research, health promotion, and advocacy for all Two-Spirit, queer, trans, and non-binary people.


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Summit 2021 Sponsors

Summit 2021 is made possible through government funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Province of British Columbia, as well as corporate sponsorship. CBRC welcomes back ViiV Healthcare as the returning Presenting Sponsor for Summit 2021, and Gilead Sciences Canada as the Pre-Summit Series Sponsor. The views expressed herein or at Summit 2021 do not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of our funders or sponsors.

Presenting Partners


Pre-Summit Event Series Sponsor



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Media Partner

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Disponible en français.

Summit 2021
Summit 2021: Disrupt and Reconstruct
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