Trans PULSE is a community-based research project that was created to respond to problems identified within Ontario trans communities regarding access to health and social services. We are particularly interested in understanding the ways in which social exclusion, cisnormativity (the belief that trans identities or bodies are less authentic or “normal”), and transphobia shape the provision of services for trans people. We also want to know how these in turn may affect health. Areas that have been and will be looked at in detail are income stability, housing, relationships and family, sexual health, HIV vulnerability, mental health, community connectedness, access to social services, health care services, and hormone use.
As a CBR project, the involvement of community members at all stages of this project is crucial as we strive to ensure that the research is meaningful, relevant, and empowering. The current Trans PULSE “Steering Committee” is comprised of three allies and five community members who contribute their unique personal and professional experiences and skills to ensuring the success and relevance of the research.
The project was initiated in 2004, originally thought to be a one year project; Trans PULSE is now funded through 2013. It consists of both qualitative (focus groups and interviews) and quantitative (survey) components, as well as action-oriented knowledge dissemination strategies. The goal of these combined approaches is to engage and provide community members, activists, providers, lobbyists and allies with the information necessary to change policies and practices to improve the health and well-being of trans communities in Ontario and beyond.
Funding for Phase I of this project was provided by the Toronto-based Wellesley Institute and the Ontario HIV Treatment Network (OHTN). Funding for Phase II and III of Trans PULSE has been provided by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).