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 Bev 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. “
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
Patient Public Engagement Lead
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
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 Nicole.Prestley@cw.bc.ca.
To cite The Guide in your work please use:
Women’s Health Research Institute (WHRI). (2024). Beyond the Binary in British Columbia: A Guide.
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.
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 Nicole.Prestley@cw.bc.ca.
- 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.