On September 16, 2013, GSHI's Dr. Tara Lyons was invited to speak on 'Examining sexual and gender minorities in drug use and sex work environments: Youth, violence, and addiction treatment' as part of the University of Victoria (UVIC) Department of Anthropology's annual Colloquium Series.
An excerpt from Dr. Lyon's presentation:
Women who belong to a sexual minority group have been historically under studied, particularly in HIV/AIDS and sex work research, and while certain populations of gender minorities have been the focus of research, gaps persist in the literature. Thus, in this presentation I will outline two research projects with unique populations of sex workers and individuals who use drugs. The first study qualitatively investigates the experiences of transgender, transsexual and two-spirit individuals in drug use and street and hidden off-street sex work environments (e.g., massage parlors, hotels). The second study uses qualitative and quantitative methods to examine the health and socio-structural experiences of lesbian and bisexual women in the same environments. I will focus on the overrepresentation of sexual minority youth and women in sex work as well as findings from both studies demonstrating the extraordinary rates of physical and sexual violence faced by participants. Findings concerning access to drug treatment programs will also be discussed. Policy recommendations will be presented along with recommendations from participants regarding what changes can be made to improve their health, safety and well-being.