Christine Wildman was awarded the 2022 RIC award for her project, Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer +(2SLGBTQ+) Community and Life During a Global Pandemic: A Resistance Based Photovoice Collective.
Two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, plus (2SLGBTQ+) people live in a cis-heteronormative society and face systematic and systemic exclusion (Manning 2015; Spade 2015) that limit access to community and sense of belonging (Castree, Kitchin and Rogers 2013).
This critical community-engaged research (Gordon Da Cruz 2017) investigated how 2SLGBTQ+ community within Brantford and the County of Brant conceptualized community as well as life during a global pandemic. Informed by critical sociological (Bourdieu 1986) feminist (Crenshaw 1991; Glenn 2022) and decolonial (Driskill et al. 2011) theories, heterosexuality and gender are examined as colonial social structures that are normalized and naturalized through social actors, policy, and institutional systems (Butler 2004; Mohanty 2003; Spade 2015). Aligned with participatory methodologies, photovoice was employed as a research method (Wang 1999) engaging 14 2SLGBTQ+ people aged 16-60 as participant researchers who took photos representing aspects of 2SLGBTQ+ community and life during the COVID-19 pandemic and attended online Community Cafés to discuss photos and analyze themes.
Findings indicate that while 2SLGBTQ+ populations are constrained by cis-heteronormative social structures, participant researchers in this study utilized their agency to challenge social rules and what has been deemed “normal” (Bourdieu 1986, Sewell 1992, Spade 2015). Participant researchers were resilient in creating visibility and community for 2SLGBTQ+ populations to create caring communities for themselves. For all participant researchers, community was about creating caring, understanding, accepting, inclusive, and loving environments where they could be around like-minded people and safely be their authentic selves.
About award recipient
Christine Wildman (she/they) is a settler on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee, and the Attawandaron peoples. Christine is a queer, feminist, activist, and critical community-engaged scholar with a PhD in Sociology with a specialization in Identities and Social Inclusion. Christine has been involved in community organizing for many years, working on various initiatives related to creating community, space, visibility, and acceptance for 2SLGBTQIA+ people. They are a founding board member of WorQshop: Building Safer Spaces, which is a non-profit that provides 2SLGBTQIA+ training and consultation services. Christine meshes their activism and academic pursuits through community-engaged research focusing on 2SLGBTQIA+ needs, experiences of intimate partner violence, and access to services and community in small to medium populations centres.