Abstract: Addressing the Diversity, Complexity, and Messiness of Intersectional 2SLGBTQI+ Research: Advancing Inclusion, Equity, and Justice (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

All in-person and virtual presentations are in Mountain Standard Time Zone (MST).

SSWR 2023 Poster Gallery: as a registered in-person and virtual attendee, you have access to the virtual Poster Gallery which includes only the posters that elected to present virtually. The rest of the posters are presented in-person in the Poster/Exhibit Hall located in Phoenix A/B, 3rd floor. The access to the Poster Gallery will be available via the virtual conference platform the week of January 9. You will receive an email with instructions how to access the virtual conference platform.

Addressing the Diversity, Complexity, and Messiness of Intersectional 2SLGBTQI+ Research: Advancing Inclusion, Equity, and Justice

Friday, January 13, 2023
Maryvale A, 2nd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Beth Glover Reed, Ph.D, Associate Professor, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor, MI
Angela Perone, JD, MSW, Doctoral Student, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor, MI
Tin Vo, MPH, Doctoral Candidate, Wilfrid Laurier University, Kitchener, ON, Canada
Michael Woodford, PhD, Professor, Wilfrid Laurier University, Kitchener, ON, Canada
Background and Purpose: Intersectionality frameworks provide tools for studying how societal structures, systems of meaning, and social processes create interacting systems of power, resulting in differential opportunities and barriers depending on particular mixes of “positionalities” (e.g., racism, sexism, heterosexism, ageism). This symposium grapples with methodological complexities, tensions, and challenges encountered in enacting intersectionality using multiple methods with 2SLGBTQI+ populations [two spirit lesbian gay bisexual trans* queer, intersex +].

We address two overarching questions:

  1. How can major concepts within intersectionality frameworks be operationalized in research with 2SLGBTQI+ communities? What methodologies and methods can be used to illuminate complex intersectionality patterns, in different contexts, and over time?
  2. What tensions and challenges exist for researchers in examining intersectionality among 2SLGBTQI+ communities across methodologies and populations? What strategies can researchers employ to address these?

Methods: We begin with a framework of elements within critical intersectionality paradigms and issues encountered in research with 2SLGBTQI+ populations. Collectively, the papers discuss 1) how researchers incorporated multiple positionalities within different contexts using various methods; 2) challenges encountered and how they were addressed (e.g., defining/working with categories, identifying components and impacts of how power is enacted in different environments while also honoring how research participants define and claim their own identities, ensuring data integrity in online surveys, and developing measurement tools that accurately and inclusively capture the complexities of identity).

Results: Paper one compares responses from three types of focus groups [intra, inter, and anti-categorical. These groups create different contexts, and some questions ask about different life contexts on how social categories/positionalities and related patterns of privilege/discrimination are understood and enacted. Implementation issues include the complexities of group facilitation and orienting participants to positionalities.

Paper two draws on a sequential explanatory mixed-method study (survey N= 548; interviews N=22) examining 2SLGBTQ+ people’s experiences of intersectional discrimination in 2SLGBTQ+ leisure spaces. Methodology issues include measuring intersectional discrimination, capturing combinations of positionalities, and protecting the integrity of online survey data from fraudulent respondents, including bots. Solutions and the benefits of mixed-methods research to intersectional research will be discussed.

Paper three focuses on 2SLGBTQ+ university students (N=380) and measuring sexual identity and gender identity via on-line surveys. Such identities are central to intersectional research, yet existing survey measures are limited (e.g., do not reflect diverse emerging identities or multiple identities) while others present considerable analytical challenges (e.g., handling select-all-that-apply-responses). This paper reports on the development and testing of a two-question approach developed to inclusively and robustly measure these identities.

Paper four uses semi-structured interviews (N=90) and field observation over 8-months of nursing home staff to examine services for 2SLGBTQI+ older adults with disabilities. Here, methods focus on articulating environmental factors directly, to identify factors influencing care for vulnerable populations.

Conclusions: Our papers illuminate different approaches to intersectionality research with 2SLGBTQI+ communities, methodological tensions and solutions. We will compare and contrast the challenges and strengths encountered in different methods and contexts. The insights offered for examining intersectionality among 2SLGBTQI+ communities will have broad appeal to researchers interested in intersectionality, visibility, and empirical justice.