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The Social Innovation Research Centre, as well as our community partner Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights, are creating an online interactive resource for all children and youth and their caregivers. The resource will avoid gender binaries that characterize puberty and sexual health education and provide information that is affirming for gender-independent, intersex, non-binary, and trans (GIaNT) children and youth. The project is titled: Gender-Affirming, Life-Affirming: Centering gender-independent, trans, nonbinary and intersex youth in puberty education with adaptive interactive media.
 

The research is supported by the College and Community Social Innovation Fund provided by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). The research is administered and supported by the Social Innovation Research Centre and Applied Research, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship Services (ARIES) at Centennial College.
 

Few resources provide adequate support for GIaNT children and youth whose gender identity does not directly align with conventional visible markers of physiological sex.  Gender identity and gender-affirmation are integral to one's sense of well-being at all stages of development (Glynn, Gamarel, Kahler, Iwamoto, Operario, Nemoto, 2016).

 

GIaNT youth and their caregivers require access to health education that is gender-affirming and which addresses the social and medical complexities that accompany the emergence of undesirable secondary sexual characteristics. Nevertheless, it is recognized that trans and non-binary youth and their families often lack access to such information (Gillis, Popowich, Hyman, Skelton, Barrass, 2019).

 

To support children and youth’s access to comprehensive sexuality education, this project will design and create an engaging, gender-affirming, and age-appropriate online puberty education resource for all children and youth (ages 9-13) and their caregivers. 

This is an applied research project focused on developing an innovative resource for an under-served community. It is a deeply collaborative project, where all team members participate in an active way in the development of the direction of the project. It is a form of Action Research whereby the team members are collectively and collaboratively engaged in learning and development. This is an entirely new product, thus it’s development involves a practice and critical praxis and action, practice, and reflection. 

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