Letter of Information: Gender Expression and Experiences of Discrimination Interview Investigators:

Rhea Ashley Hoskin, PhD Candidate, Sociology Department, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

Annette Burfoot, PhD, Supervisor, Sociology Department, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

This study is being conducted by Rhea Hoskin, a PhD Graduate Student (902.867.5956), and Dr. Annette Burfoot (613.533.6000 ext. 77857) Department of Sociology.

Purpose of Study
The purpose of this study is to examine the experiences of sexual and gender minorities with respect to discrimination, oppression, and inclusion within society. Individuals aged 18 and older who have access to the Internet, who have experienced discrimination or oppression as a result of their sexuality or gender (defined broadly) and who can read and write in English are invited to participate in this study. All sexualities, genders, views and experiences are welcomed.

Study Procedures
Your participation in this study involves a one-on-one interview with the primary researcher in which you will be asked questions about your experiences with discrimination and oppression. The expected duration of the interview is 30 minutes. Topics will your experiences of exclusion and discrimination as a function of your sexual or gender identity, as well as experiences of empowerment and activism. The interview is designed to be semi-structured such that there are specific questions that you will be asked, but you will also be given freedom to elaborate and provide additional information, should you desire to do so.

You may participate in the interview using secure chat through Skype or another online chat site, or you may opt for an in-person interview if you are located in the same geographic location as the interviewer. The interview will take place in a location of your choosing that is safe and provides confidentiality. The transcripts from online interviews will be saved on a secure password protected hard drive and all identifying information will be stripped from the transcripts. In-person interviews will be recorded using a digital recorder (audio only) and will be immediately transferred to a password protected hard drive at the completion of the interview. The original recording will be deleted immediately. The content of the interview will be transcribed and any identifying information will be deleted.

As a thank you for your time and effort, you will be entered into a prize draw for a $50.00 gift card. Should you win, you will be given a list of choices from where to receive the gift card.

Advantages of participating in this study
There are no direct benefits of participating in this study. The information gathered in the study will potentially help increase our understanding of sexual and gender minorities experiences within the LGBTQ community and dominant culture. Some participants may find the opportunity to reflect on their own life experiences, identities and relationships to be personally rewarding.

Disadvantages of participating in this study
There are no known physical, psychological, economic, or social risks associated with participating in this study. However, some of the questions cover sensitive topics, such as sexuality, relationship issues and discrimination. It is possible that you may experience some discomfort answering these questions. However, you are not in any way obligated to answer any material that you find objectionable or that makes you feel uncomfortable; there will be a decline response option for each question. You may also withdraw from the study at any time. Withdrawing from the study will not impact your ability to enter the prize draw, as you may email the researcher to request an entry after withdrawing from the study.

Confidential nature of this study
Your participation in this study is strictly confidential. The investigators will take all reasonable measures to protect the confidentiality of your records. Your data will only be identified by a participant number and no personally identifying information will be saved in any location. Any contact information provided during the prize draw process will be stored in a password protected encrypted file, and will only be used to contact you with information about your participation in this study. This information will in no way be linked to the data you provide during the interview. At the completion of the study, your contact information will be purged unless you indicate an interest in being contacted for future studies. All files linking your contact information to your participation number will be permanently erased at the completion of this study. At no time will your name be connected to the data you provide, as you will be identified to the researchers by your email address only. Should you choose to create a separate email address for your participation in this study, it is possible to remain completely anonymous to the researchers. Finally, no individual will be identified in any publication, reports or presentations of this research; data will be aggregated and analyzed as a whole for all parts of the study. Should direct quotes be used in any publications, they will be selected for their ability to generalized across the experiences of participants and no quotes will be used that could identify a specific participant. In some cases, quotes may be altered in order to ensure confidentiality, while maintaining meaning.

Discontinuation of this study
Your participation in this study is completely voluntary and you may choose to withdraw at any time without penalty. Furthermore, you are free to refuse to answer any of the questions asked without providing an explanation.

If you would like further information about the study, or have additional questions or concerns, please feel free to contact any of the above researchers. You may also contact the Head of the Department of Sociology at Queen’s University (613.533.6000 ext. 74475). Any ethical concerns about the study may be directed to the Chair of the General Research Ethics Board, Queen’s University, at chair.GREB@queensu.ca or 613-533-6081 or toll free 1-844-535-2988