Colloquium: Heteronormativity and health in education and practice
Sexual orientation and gender identity are social determinants of health for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, as homophobia and heteronormativity persist as prejudices in society.
South Africa’s health system faces unique challenges: a quadruple burden of disease, a significant loss of health workers to other countries, challenges in health management, as well as the social context of high levels of poverty and unemployment, and a large HIV epidemic. All of these factors warrant an investigation into the health of LGBTI people specific to the South African context, to take into account the intersections of marginalised sexual and gender identities with other forms of discrimination and social exclusion. In the recent years, national health programming has included certain LGBTI identities into key policies such as the National Strategic Plan on HIV, TB and STIs. However, LGBTI people face numerous challenges in accessing health care, ranging from discrimination at the hands of health care workers to a lack of LGBTI-specific health information and resources. Initiatives that address heteronormativity in health care provision, as well as in health worker education, are urgently needed.
The aim of this colloquium is to create a platform for South African academics, civil society representatives, community representatives and practitioners to share and discuss their work and experiences in challenging heteronormativity in the South African health system.
To this end, the colloquium aims to achieve the following objectives:
- To identify and share existing research on health care needs for sexual minorities in South Africa, and present strategies to address these needs.
- To explore the impact of heteronormativity in health service delivery and in health education at higher education institutions.
- To demonstrate best practice, tools and methodologies in learning and teaching about non-normative sexualities and challenging heteronormativity at Higher Education Institutions and in the health system, and to identify areas for future research.
- To develop an agenda for socially responsive research through partnerships with LGBTI organisations to inform research, education and practice within the health sciences, and to create a network of researchers, civil society representatives and health care practitioners.
Format of contributions
The colloquium will consist of research presentations and interactive skills-building workshops. Paper presenters will have 15 mins for presentation, followed by a 5 minute Q&A session. Workshops will be 90 mins long, and cater for a maximum of 15 participants. Both formats will address one (or more) of the themes identified below. Ideally, the workshop sessions will provide more practical aspects to complement the theoretical paper presentations.
Presenters of papers should share findings from empirical research that address one (or more) of the themes identified below. Paper abstracts should be 300 words long, and follow the format of scientific abstracts (introduction – methodology – findings – discussion).
Interactive workshop sessions are meant to allow colloquium participants to enhance their skills in addressing heteronormativity in the health sciences. These could range from strategies to visibilise heteronormativity in institutional settings, to practical skills for teaching and facilitating. Abstracts for interactive workshop sessions should be 500 words long and specify the following: rationale/ background – aim – format – target audience.
Please submit your abstract by 31st March 2014, via email to email@example.com.
- Impact of heteronormativity on health and health care
- Strategies to address institutionalized heteronormativity in health care education and the health services
- Engaging health care workers around heteronormativity
- Heteronormativity in health care worker professional education
- Heteronormativity in patient health education and health prevention messaging
Papers that don’t address these specific themes but contribute to advancing the overall colloquium objectives are also welcome.
With this colloquium, we aim to create a space for dialogue and collaboration between academic institutions, civil society organisations, government representatives, and health care practitioners. The focus of this colloquium is on work around heteronormativity and health in South Africa, and we encourage contributors to share practice-related aspects of their work.
The colloquium will have space for 35 participants. Preference will be given to presenters of workshops and papers. If you would like to attend without presenting, please contact us and explain
– Why you would like to attend,
– How it will benefit your work, and
– How you would share the conference outcomes with your network(s).
People who identify as non-heteronormative are especially encouraged to apply.
Registration for the colloquium will be free of charge. We will not be able to provide financial support for travel to or accommodation in Cape Town, but we will provide information on affordable accommodation near the colloquium venue.
Deadlines and notifications
31st March 2014: Deadline for abstract submission for individual presentations and workshops
18th April 2014: Notification about acceptance
1st May – 31st July 2014: Registration (this is required for accepted presenters and workshop facilitators)
15/ 16th August 2014: Colloquium in Cape Town
We are looking forward to receiving your contributions!
Dr Alexandra Muller & Dr Chris Colvin
School of Public Health and Family Medicine
University of Cape Town