The Society for Social Work and Research

2014 Annual Conference

January 15-19, 2014 I Grand Hyatt San Antonio I San Antonio, TX

Global Challenges in Social-Structural Determinants of Health for Sexual Minority Populations: Using Community-Based Research to Support Human Rights and Social Change

Saturday, January 18, 2014: 4:30 PM-6:15 PM
HBG Convention Center, Room 003B River Level (San Antonio, TX)
Cluster: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
Symposium Organizer:
Peter A. Newman, PhD, University of Toronto
The United Nations Human Rights Council in June 2011 passed the first-ever U.N. resolution on the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) persons.  The "Human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity" resolution recognizes that criminalization and exclusion based on LGBT identities infringes on the right to “the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health” as well as other fundamental human rights. In particular, the resolution documents “grave concern at acts of violence and discrimination, in all regions of the world, committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.” Notably, this resolution was passed with 23 votes in support, 19 against and 3 abstentions; and human rights protections for LGBT populations continues to be a highly contentious issue at the UN and globally.

This symposium features three community-based research projects conducted in different regions of the world that demonstrate the application of social work research to: 1) provide evidence of discrimination and violence against LGBT communities and its deleterious consequences; and, 2) engage in local and global collaborations with LGBT and allied communities to promote health, eradicate violence and contribute to global advocacy for LGBT rights and social change.

The first presentation describes an internet-based survey to assess sexual violence, stigma and their associations with health outcomes among ethnically diverse sexual minority women in Toronto, Canada. The second project is based on semi-structured audio and video interviews to document LGBT advocacy work in four Caribbean countries and Canada, create audio and video accounts of lived experiences, and to create an archive of LGBT-centered knowledge to support current and future activism. The third presentation applies mixed methods to assess the prevalence and contexts of discrimination and sexual violence among low socioeconomic men who have sex with men (MSM) in Chennai, India, with results disseminated to national governmental bodies and a brief to the Indian High Court. Each of the authors will address how their projects were grounded in community-based collaborations, including local-local and local-global connections, and benefits accrued through the research process as well as through knowledge mobilization.

After the individual presentations we will provide an overview of cross-cutting as well as project specific themes, and facilitate audience input and discussion regarding the challenges and opportunities of global community-based research collaborations for supporting LGBT human rights and social change. We will discuss themes regarding: 1) Barriers to accessing care due to risks associated with attempting to access services that may outweigh doing without them; 2) How global-local connections are reinforced by the transnational lives of many people, including refugees and immigrants; 3) How distinctions of a problematic global South and an advanced global North are unsettled by engaging with the lived experiences of people at the margins and/or caught in intersecting oppressions; and 4) Connections and collaboration: local/local and global/local are integral parts of working toward large-scale social change to support health and human rights for LGBT communities.

* noted as presenting author
Sexual Violence, Stigma and Health Outcomes Among Sexual Minority Women in Toronto, Canada
Carmen Logie, MSW, PhD, University of Toronto; Marie Jolie Rwigema, MSW, University of Toronto
Discrimination, Violence and Access to Care Among High Risk Men Who Have Sex With Men in Chennai, India
Peter A. Newman, PhD, University of Toronto; Venkatesan Chakrapani, MD, Centre for Sexuality and Health Research and Policy (C-SHaRP); Murali Shunmugam, MSW, Centre for Sexuality and Health Research and Policy (C-SHaRP); Michael R. Woodford, PhD, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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