Beyond the Binary in BC

Taking a patient-oriented and trauma-informed approach to building partnerships and dialogue to incorporate gender equity into women’s health research

A Brief History

People across the gender spectrum benefit from research framed as “women’s health”. And, cis women benefit from research that includes people with diverse gender and sex characteristics.

In 2019, the WHRI began featuring examples of gender-equitable research practice through our Beyond the Binary web stories. These stories showcase experiences of researchers Dr. Michelle Chan and Dr. Lori Brotto in creating inclusive health research environments. 

In 2020, the WHRI saw a significant increase in requests for language consultations on grants, recruitment materials, and data collection tools. The next step became clear – a larger conversation with health research partners. So, the WHRI submitted an application for a Michael Smith Health Research BC for a Convening & Collaborating (C2) grant to support the Beyond the Binary project.

In 2021, the project received the funding to inform guidance for gender-equitable practices within BC’s women’s health research community began. Led by BC Pomeroy and Angela Kaida, this project of emergent design:

  • Developed understanding of the current landscape of gender-equitable practices through a literature review and environmental scan
  • Established and convened two steering committees:
    • A Community Steering Committee (CSC)
    • A Research Steering Committee (RSC)
  • Co-created content to inform resources to support the research community. 

The CSC was always engaged first to build accountability into the guidance provided. The RSC was subsequently engaged to gauge acceptability. 

From 2022 to 2023, the WHRI supported the refinement of this content into what we call, “Beyond the Binary in BC: A Guide. “

The People

Dr. Angela Kaida

Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University

Scientific Director, CIHR Institute of Gender and Health

Scientific Advisor, Women’s Health Research Institute

BC Pomeroy

Patient Public Engagement Lead

Independent Researcher

Trauma & Resiliency Informed Educator, Fraser Health Authority, Mental Health and Substance Use

Executive Board Member, Canadian Association for Health Services and Policy Research, and SPOR Evidence Alliance

Dr. Brittany Bingham, Director, Indigenous Research, Vancouver Coastal Health

Emma Devin (they/them), Co-Founder, Brood Care

Dr. Drake, R. Psychologist specializing in trauma and gender affirming care

Lorraine Grieves + Gwen Haworth, Trans Care BC

Nicola Hare (she/her), Coordinator at TransConnect

Alia Januwalla (she/her), Knowledge Translation Specialist, Fraser Health

Elder Sandra Laframboise, Elder/Knowledge  Keeper in Two Spirit Community/ Registered Celebrant (religious) in BC, on CANHepC Indigenous Road Map with the University of Saskatchewan, and Elder in residence at Aids Vancouver

Kerry Marshall (she/her), registered nurse and PhD candidate, UBC School of Nursing

Heather McCain (they/them), Founder & Executive Director, Live Educate Transform Society

Niklaus Sun (he/him), Gender Clinic Youth

Dr. Andrea Szewchuk (she/her), Family Physician providing gender-affirming care

Representative, Three Bridges Community Health Centre

Dr. Lori Brotto, Executive Director, WHRI

Tamara Baldwin, Director, Office of Regional and International Community Engagement, UBC

Dr. Skye Barbic, Research Lead, Foundry

Wendy Bond, Research Ethics Coordinator, Compliance & Outreach, UBC

Lindsay Carpenter, Trainee, University of Northern British Columbia

Dr. Michelle Chan, Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of British Columbia

Laurel Evans, Director, Research Ethics, UBC

Dr. Lorraine Greaves, Senior Investigator, Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health

Dr. Gail Knudson, Medical Lead, BC Trans Clinical Care Group

AJ Murray, Knowledge Translation Coordinator, Population Health Promotion, BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre

Dr. Ann Pederson, Director, Population Health Promotion, BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre

Dr. Wendy Robinson, Associate Director, BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute

Dr. Caroline Sanders, Associate Professor, University of Northern British Columbia

Dr. Gavin C.E. Stuart, Professor and Interim Head, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of British Columbia

Dr. Saraswathi Vedam, Lead Investigator at The Birthplace Lab


Julia Santana Parrilla, Project Researcher, Beyond the Binary

Nicole Prestley, Primary Contact, Knowledge Translation Manager, WHRI


Maya Kevorkova (she/her), MSc. BC Cancer

The Guide

Introducing the Beyond the Binary in BC: A Guide. This comprehensive, community-informed resource is meant to support the research community through various approaches to language use in a health research context. 

The Guide includes:

  • An Executive Summary.
  • An overview of why Language Matters and different approaches to language use. 
  • Example Scenarios, to illustrate the application of language. 
  • Paradigms and Practices to support ongoing learning.
  • A community-generated Glossary of terms and concepts with definitions and references.
  • A link to a Resource Library of health research and care organizations, and publications to refer to for further learning.

We are committed to stewarding this guide over time and have it responsive to our community needs. If you have any feedback, please email  

To cite The Guide in your work please use

Women’s Health Research Institute (WHRI). (2024). Beyond the Binary in British Columbia: A Guide

Beyond the Binary BC Guide 2024 

What's Next?

In June 2023, the Beyond the Binary in BC team, led by Dr. Lori Brotto, was awarded a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Planning and Dissemination Grant to scale this work to a national level. With collaboration from our existing community partners and alongside the Partnership for Women’s Health Research Canada, pan-Canadian representation of researchers engaged in women’s health and community partners have been mobilized.

The goal of Beyond the Binary Canada is to develop a nationally relevant, and feasible guidance and resource package to support health researchers and health research institutions in their commitments to conducting gender equitable health research for women, trans, and non-binary people. We look forward to sharing this with you in late 2024. 


For a more in-depth understanding of the Beyond the Binary in BC project process, please see the 50-minute recording of the team’s invited presentation at the  Research Ethics BC Symposium in November 2022 (below). The presentation covers (1) the story of the Beyond the Binary project, (2) a summary of community and research committee engagement principles, (3) lessons learned, and (4) an overview of the knowledge outputs created.

Beyond the Binary. (2022). Beyond the Binary in BC [Video]. Women’s Health Research Institute. 

The WHRI, alongside other provincial health research partners, have organizational commitments to equity, diversity, and inclusion. Throughout the work of Beyond the Binary, Community Steering Committee Members emphasized that these commitments are not attainable without addressing institutionalized activities and practices that perpetuate colonial, cissexist, heterocentric, ableist, patriarchal white supremacy.

We are grateful to work in partnership with community members and researchers to advance the integration of gender-equitable practices in women’s health research across BC.

Let us know what you’re interested in, and working on.

Contact WHRI Knowledge Translation Manager, Nicole Prestley

Medical Students:

  • Our FLEX position is open to current medical students at the University of British Columbia as part of the Flexible and Enhanced Learning (FLEX) curriculum. This position is full-time (April – June, 2023) and available to 1st year medical students. 
  • The student will support the transformation of content to a digital format to maximize accessibility, as well as support the dissemination and evaluation to researchers and research partners. This may entail creating a focused dissemination plan for the Faculty of Medicine, UBC. The most appropriate strategies will be determined in collaboration with the Beyond the Binary Research Steering Committee.
  • All activities will be able to be completed remotely. All project documents will be collaboratively developed on Google Drive. Weekly meetings will be set and conducted via Zoom.

To apply, refer to the FLEX Program website, and send an email to with your CV.