Three questions for PhD student Kaitrin DollCategories: Q & A, Research, Students
November 14-18 is Trans Awareness Week, which aims to increase awareness, visibility and knowledge of trans people and the issues faced by members of trans communities. It is also an opportunity to celebrate the lives of trans and nonbinary people and the contributions they have made and continue to make. In honour of this week, we asked three FIFSW PhD students whose research focuses on trans health and rights to share insight on their work.
Tell us about your research.
My research interest includes sexual and gender minority populations (SGM) and the interplay between community membership, social support, connectedness, and mental wellness. Specifically, my doctoral research will focus on how sport participation in affirming environments — using roller derby as the site of study — contributes to stress-coping, affirmation of identity, community building, resilience, and improved mental health for SGM. I’m particularity interested in exploring the experiences of trans and gender diverse people (TGD) in sport and how we can learn from environments that include and affirm TGD people to inform policy and practice in sport and beyond.
For the past two years I’ve been in emersed in research as a student with the International Partnership for Queer Youth Resilience (INQYR), an interdisciplinary and international partnership designed to understand and support the resilience of SGM populations. This year, I took on a leadership role as the co-chair of the Canadian Regional Research Network. Through INQYR I’m involved with Level UP! a gaming study aimed at understanding the implications of LGBTQ+ representation in gaming and the experiences SGM people have while playing video games. Recently, I also began work on the #Safe Hands Safe Hearts study, an eHealth intervention that supported diverse LGBTQ+ people during the pandemic.
What inspires your work?
TGD people are consistently excluded from sports and the subsequent benefits from participating as most sports are separated according to binary categories. As a queer and genderqueer person, I’ve both experienced and witnessed the transformative impact that participating in inclusive and affirming environments, via roller derby, can have for queer and TGD people. I want to contribute to scholarship by genderqueer people that emphasizes strengths-based community research to highlight spaces where TGD people thrive to inform both practices and policies that support the inclusion of TGD people in sport and more broadly.
Could you recommend some resources for those who are interested in learning more about this topic?
Film: Changing the Game: A documentary that explores transgender inclusion in sport through the experiences of three transgender athletes in the United States.
Article: Buckwald. (2021). Outrunning Bias: Unmasking the Justifications for Excluding Non-Binary Athletes in Elite Sport. Harvard Journal of Law & Gender, 44(1), 1–.
Visit U of T’s Sexual & Gender Diversity Office (SGDO) website to explore events and workshops taking place across all three campuses.