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Moving Dietetics Forward with Queer Pedagogy: A Post-Structural Qualitative Study Exploring the Education and Training Experiences of Canadian Dietitians for LGBTQ Care

Published:February 21, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2022.02.011

      Abstract

      Background

      Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and other sexually and gender diverse (LGBTQ) people often experience health disparities and disparities in accessing safe health care. Yet dietetics curriculum and training opportunities for LGBTQ care are limited.

      Objective

      The objective of this research was to explore the perspectives and professional training experiences within LGBTQ-focused topics of Canadian dietitians in order to inform future curriculum and pedagogy.

      Design

      This research is framed within poststructuralist philosophies. Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted.

      Participants/setting

      To be eligible, participants needed to be dietitians within Canada who had an interest in discussing gender and sexual diversity within the profession. Although the research call was open to all Canadian dietitians who wanted to discuss gender and sexual diversity within the profession, only dietitians who self-identified as allies to LGBTQ groups ended up participating in this project. Of the 16 dietitians who participated, 11 participants self-identified as members of LGBTQ groups and 5 self-identified as straight. All participants took part in online interviews done in private locations of their choosing from September 2020 to January 2021.

      Analysis

      A systematic thematic analysis was conducted.

      Results

      Three themes, including understanding the ethics of dietetics education, recognizing the cis- and hetero-normativity of dietetics education, and moving forward with queer pedagogy, were noted from the data.

      Conclusions

      Participants explored the lack of LGBTQ focus and content during their professional training and believed such gaps were problematic to the caring philosophies of dietetics. Participants offered insights into how dietetics educators can disrupt ingrained cis- hetero-normativity and rigid binary gender norms within dietetics education and curriculum.

      Keywords

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      Biography

      P. Joy is an assistant professor, Applied Human Nutrition, Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

      Biography

      J. Marie McSweeney-Flaherty is an educational developer, Centre for Learning and Teaching, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.