Canada Research Chair on Transgender Children and Their Families

Affirmation and Safety: An Intersectional Analysis of Trans and Nonbinary Youths in Quebec

Annie Pullen Sansfaçon, Morgane A. Gelly, and Kimberly Ens Manning

This article presents the results of a combined grounded theory and community-based participatory action research project with 54 trans and nonbinary youths (TNBY) residing in the province of Quebec, Canada. The project includes two important sensitizing concepts: intersectionality and recognition. In the research, intersectionality was defined as an approach that explores how people navigate manifold identities (class, race, disability, and so on) in the context of structural oppression. Authors applied an intersectional lens to the recruitment of research participants through an iterative, community-based process, and to the analysis of the oppressive structures that negatively influence the well-being of TNBY and the specific factors that enable TNBY to thrive. Drawing on Honneth’s concept of recognition, authors argue for a contextualized, dynamic, and relational understanding of how well-being is produced. Specifically, they show two presenting needs: one for affirmation and one for safety, access to which springs from resources of privilege that emerge in the environment in which young people are embedded and from which they self-advocate. Understanding the dynamic relationship between these two needs and how they shift according to context is an important component of applying an intersectional approach to supporting TNBY in social work settings.

KEY WORDS: community-based participatory action research; grounded theory; intersectionality; transgender; youths

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