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

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 Research BC for a Convening & Collaborating (C2) grant to support the Beyond the Binary project.

In 2021, the project received the funding and our multi-stakeholder, participatory efforts to inform guidance for gender-equitable practices within BC’s women’s health research community began.

Led by Bev Pomeroy (they/them) and Angela Kaida (she/her), 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 a Resource Package in collaboration with both committees. 

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

The Resource Package includes:

  • An overview of the project, why Language Matters, and principles and practices to support gender equity beyond language
  • Glossary of terms and concepts with definitions, community-generated references, and research-specific case examples
  • Library of resources that includes health research and care organizations, and publications to refer to for further learning

For a more in-depth understanding of the Beyond the Binary project, 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.

Opportunities and calls-to-action:

Should your interests align with the goals of Beyond the Binary, here are some options:

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

Contact WHRI Knowledge Translation Manager, Nicole Prestley (

Learn more about the lessons learned throughout Beyond the Binary, and share them with your colleagues.

The downloadable PDF will be available starting June 2023. Please check back!

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.

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

Beverley 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

Julia Santana Parrilla, Project Researcher, Beyond the Binary

Nicole Prestley, Primary Contact, Knowledge Translation Manager, WHRI

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

Heather McCain (they/them), Founder & Executive Director, Creating Accessible Neighbourhoods

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

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

Nicola Hare (she/her), Coordinator at TransConnect

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

Niklaus Sun (he/him), representing youth from the Gender Clinic

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

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

Kerry Marshall (she/her), RN, MN, PhD student at UBC School of Nursing

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. Liisa Galea, Head of the Women’s Health Research Cluster, UBC

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

Faith Jabs, Trainee, University of British Columbia

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

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