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human development, health disparities, qualitative analysis, public health, psychology

This FIRE stream will end in 2022.



  • Explore identity development and authenticity in young people.

  • Identify ways that community and school leaders can support LGBTQIA+ youth.

  • Understand intersectional identities and their development

We are a multidisciplinary stream interested in how young people develop their identities and then how they experience the world based on those identities in different contexts and relationships.  We are particularly interested in minoritized identities, especially LGBTQIA+.

We will draw from developmental psychology, public health and sociology to understand how young people develop their identities and how they navigate the world with minoritized identities.

Special attention will be paid to intersectional identities and to understanding the distinction between gender and  sexual identity.  

LGBTQIA+ research is a relatively young field.  We have a lot of work to do!

Check out the Stream Website!



  • This is a young field!  

  • Research tends to conflate sexual and gender identity.

  • People have many different identities!  Some are more important than others depending on the context.

  • We need to listen to and understand what LGBTQIA+ youth need.

  • We will make recommendations to community and school leaders.

Identity is deeply tied to well-being which is an important public health issue in our society.  Health disparities (or differences in well-being or mental wellness) are one way that systemic inequities impact people with minoritized identities. We want identify these health inequities, the factors that influence them, and strategies to help people support youth as they explore and develop their identities.

As adolescents and young adult, we work to understand who we are, who we want to be and how we want to be perceived and accepted in the world.  People who have minoritized identities (like LGBTQIA+ youth) may struggle to find supportive people and spaces to explore their identities.  

As we work to understand the way that young people develop and understand their own identities, we will develop strategies for supporting this community.  Then we will  communicate with community leaders such as schools, libraries, afterschool programs and our own university so that they can benefit from our research.



  • Qualitative research methods

  • Critical models, frameworks and methods

  • Translation of research to practice

Students in this stream will learn to explore and research identity in many ways including phenomenological interviews, mixed methods surveys, community observations, and artifact analysis.  Students will learn to work in teams to develop rigorous qualitative and mixed methods in order to explore questions around development, minoritized identities, contextual factors, and community support.

You do not need to be part of the LGBTQIA+ community to benefit from this stream.  

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