How do queer & trans people experience midwifery services in Ontario?

Across Ontario, queer, trans, and nonbinary people seek out and receive midwifery care and services, yet studies on how they experience these services are lacking. Our study addresses this gap by examining how their midwifery experiences are shaped. European studies show that the experiences of lesbians are shaped by the heteronormativity* of midwifery services. But there are no Canadian studies that have examined whether, or how, midwifery services are heteronormative and/or cisnormative*, and how this shapes the experiences of queer, trans, and nonbinary midwifery clients.

The perspectives of queer and trans midwifery clients who experience oppression, such as racism, ableism, or poverty, are crucial to understand, since most participants in published studies have been white middle-class lesbians.

Finally, we want to understand how queer, trans, and nonbinary people resist heterocisnormativity while in midwifery care, and what makes this possible – or challenging.

What we hope to achieve

Our study aims to ‘re-story’ heterocisnormativity* by centering and amplifying the stories of queer and trans midwifery clients who experience oppression. Findings from our study can inform midwifery education curricula, regulatory and practice policies, and LGBTQ+ capacity building programs for midwives, all of which can help to create inclusive, affirming, and celebratory midwifery services for queer, trans, and nonbinary people. These measures can improve their midwifery care experiences and reduce the health inequities they face.

*Heteronormativity refers to the legitimization and privileging of heterosexuality as fundamental and ‘natural’ within society, while *cisnormativity legitimizes and privileges the assumption that a person’s sex at birth matches their gender.

This study is needed and we hope you will consider participating