PROJECT: DEVELOPING SUPPORTS FOR SOGIECE SURVIVORS
A research project, for 2S-LGBTQ+ people harmed by expectations of change
Note: All aspects of the project are available in English and French.
For French page, click here.
Purpose: To develop support systems for Two-Spirit and LGBTQ+ people in Canada who have been harmed by the expectations of change efforts. Our focus is to listen to those who have been harmed, assess support needs, develop an advocacy plan, and work with Canadian partners to deliver the supports needed to recover.
SOGIECE - or conversion therapy - is defined as a broad set of practices, pressures, or messages, that attempt to deny, suppress, or change the experiences or identities of same-sex attracted, gender non-conforming, Two-Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and sexual and gender diverse people (2S-LGBTQ+).
Whether change efforts are experienced as blatant or subtle, religiously based or not, many 2S-LGBTQ+ people do not recognize that they have experienced SOGIECE/conversion therapy, even though they have been harmed by pressures and expectations of change.
Acknowledge: We recognize that 2S-LGBTQ+ people of colour experience pervasive racism, colonialism, and white supremacy, which causes ongoing, intergenerational, and systemic harm. We acknowledge the impact of intersectional identities and historical inequities for many SOGIECE survivors. We have made our best effort to incorporate these realities into our work, recognizing that our differences strengthen and enrich our work together. We are grateful for the leadership of a group of diverse SOGIECE survivors (17+) who contributed to this project.
Who is conducting the project?
Project Coordinator: Jordan Sullivan (14-month contract - see bio below)
Organization: Generous Space Ministries (Wendy Vanderwal-Gritter, Executive Director)
Consultant: Travis Salway, PhD, Simon Fraser University, Faculty of Health Sciences
Research Assistant: Reilla Archibald, student, Masters of Public Health program, SFU
Why is Generous Space conducting this project?
Generous Space brings intimate knowledge of SOGIECE messages and practices and years of experience in cultivating safe community for those who have been harmed, to be heard, supported, and given a voice. To learn more, please read Our History and Living Apology.
To develop a plan to offer long-term and comprehensive supports for Two-Spirit and LGBTQ+ people in Canada who have been harmed by the expectation of sexual orientation or gender identity-expression change efforts.
To identify the impact of intersectional identities and historical inequities for survivors and the additional supports that may be needed.
To identify and develop a referral network of therapeutic practitioners with expertise in working with survivors of SOGIECE.
To participate in this study we require that you:
Are a 2S-LGBTQ+ person who experienced subtle or blatant pressure to change your sexual orientation or gender identity-expression. This includes people who experienced SOGIECE in secular settings (e.g. home, school, medical practitioners, therapists), or in religious-based settings (e.g. home, church, religious leaders, religious-based therapists/programs).
Be 15 years of age or older.
Reside in Canada (includes Canadian citizens, immigrants, residents, or those with no status) Note: Your experience of harm may have occurred outside of Canada. You are still eligible to complete the survey.
Are able to complete the survey in English or French.
How To Participate:
We encourage everyone who is eligible to take the survey.
Additionally, we invite you to consider participating in one of the following:
- a focus group
- a one-on-one interview
- sending in email responses
Online Survey or Email Response:
Credit: GotCredit, Flickr [CC BY 2.0]
Email Response: In your email you will respond to the questions listed below. Email your responses to email@example.com.
Focus Group or One-on-One Interview
Focus Group: Participants will meet on Zoom for 1.5 to 2 hours with a group of your
choosing, to be determined between you and the Project Coordinator. Groups will be
created to ensure equality and trust between group members, and between participants
and the facilitator. You can express interest in participating in a Focus Group by emailing
the Project Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org (see bio below). Questions asked
during the focus groups will include anonymous identity questions, and three focus
questions (see questions listed below). A modest honorarium is available for those
participating in a focus group – to be agreed upon with the Project Coordinator prior to
One-on-One Interview: Participants will be interviewed by the Project Coordinator on Zoom
(45-60 minutes). You are welcome to invite someone to accompany you (in person or via Zoom),
for personal support during and after the session. You can express interest in participating in an
Interview by emailing the Project Coordinator at email@example.com (see bio below).
Questions asked during the interview will include anonymous identity questions, and three
focus questions (see questions listed below). A modest honorarium is available for those
participating in an interview – to be agreed upon with the Project Coordinator prior to the
Questions for Email Responses, Focus Groups, and One-on-One Interviews:
Your pronouns, sexual orientation, gender identity, and any other identities you wish to share (e.g. race, ethnicity, disabilities/abilities, language, etc.)
Your age or age group. (15-20, 21-39, 40-55, or 55+)
Type of area you live in (Urban, Suburban, Mixed Urban-Rural, or Rural)
The province or territory you currently reside in
What have you found helpful in recovering from your experience of harm?
What barriers or challenges have you experienced in seeking to recover from the harm?
If resources were unlimited, what kinds of support would you most wish you could access, today and into the future?
Safety, Anonymity & Data Collection
However you choose to participate, we recognize that we will be asking you to respond to questions about a sensitive subject and that we are asking you to be vulnerable as you share your responses. You can stop at any time if necessary. Your safety and health is our primary concern.
Focus groups and Interviews will not be visually recorded, but a transcript will be used to collect data anonymously, using only the identities and location you choose to share, in order to protect your wellbeing, rights, and freedoms. The survey will not collect any identifying information (e.g. name) in order to ensure anonymity.
Can I see the results of the project?
By spring of 2022 you will be able to read about results from the study here on the Generous Space Ministries website.
Check out our Supports for Survivors Page here.
Project Coordinator: Jordan Sullivan
I am a trans man and a SOGIECE survivor. I lived for decades with internal denial and
conflict around my sexual orientation and gender identity brought on by pressures from
church and society. I spent six years in therapy in my efforts to change, while also
connecting with such groups as Love in Action and Exodus International. I came out as
lesbian in 1993, and as a trans man in 2011. I worked for the Canadian Mental Health
Association (Durham) in Public Education (10 years), and The United Church of Canada’s
national office where my work included LGBTQIA2S+ Justice (20 years). I have a B.Sc. in
Education, and a M.A. in Religious Studies. I am positioned in society as a white,
Western-educated, English-speaking, able-bodied, queerly heterosexual, trans man, who
is privileged as a member of several dominant groups. As a settler living on traditional
territory of many nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the
Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples, I am implicated in Canada’s
history of colonialism and racism as a beneficiary of the oppression of Indigenous and Black people, and all people of colour. I am a speaker and writer and have blogged intermittently about my personal journey of transitioning at On Becoming Jordan, from my home in Toronto.
This project has be funded by Women and Gender Equality Canada, LGBTQ2 Community Capacity Fund