Gender & Sexuality
The SexGen Policy Lab is a collaborative space at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice for undergraduate and graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, staff and faculty to conduct research about gender and sexuality anchored in community partnerships. Our work focuses largely on interrogating gender inequality in education and health with a goal toward generating empirical research to support inclusive policies and practices. The SexGen Lab has X primary priorities:
- developing research tools to better capture the mechanisms of gender and sexual inequalities to inform efforts to advance equity and well-being, including the Reconceptualizing Gender and Health Project
- providing guidance and support for conducting research that includes transgender and gender diverse people
- engaging members of Philadelphia’s queer and trans community in collaborative research
- supporting students and other members of the Penn community who are leading their own research about gender and sexuality or wish to gain experience working on one of our projects
Reconceptualizing Gender & Health
Reconceptualizing Gender & Health aims to build a more sophisticated analytic model of gendered health inequity and to create research measures to provide richer, more nuanced actionable information to inform health promotion, and health equity activities.
Reconceptualizing Gender & Health is exploring how people’s gender identity and experiences influence their health in both positive and negative ways. We are particularly interested in the repercussions other people and institutions create when we conform and don’t conform to gender expectations. We are conducting interviews with people with a wide-range of gender and health experiences with the goal of creating more inclusive and structural focused research tools and interventions to combat gendered health inequity.
Want more information? Please email email@example.com.
Reconceptualizing Gender and Health is supported by a grant from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation.
What will the interview be like?
The Reconceptualizing Gender & Health interview is an informal, guided conversation with a member of our team about your gender experiences and how you think they have affected your health. You decide what specific information you want to share and how you want to tell your story! We are interested in talking with folks of all genders and all health experiences. The length of the interview will depend on how much information you want to share and the amount of time you have. They average about 1 to 1-1/2 hours. The interviews are done on zoom or the phone, at a time that’s convenient for you. We can provide assistive support, including ASL interpreters. You will be compensated for your time and offered a transcript of the interview.
What’s a community dialogue follow-up?
Some folks will be invited to participate in a follow-up community dialogue interview. Developed by Jennifer E. James, a community dialogue brings together participants and the person who conducted their original interview to clarify and enrich the information shared during the interview. Not only is this an opportunity to deepen the conversation after time to reflect on the interview, but also brings people who have been interviewed into the theorizing process. This follow-up interview is completely voluntary – you do not have to agree to participate in the community dialogue to be interviewed.
Interested in participating? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The goal of this project is to develop a short screener for use with parents in primary care settings to identify children ages 3-12 who hold gender identities that do not align with sex assigned at birth. Early screening could help identify families that would benefit from resources such as information and referrals for gender-affirming care. Having pediatricians talking with all families about gender could also help normalize gender expansive identities.
Matt Diemer, Steve Marcus, and Nadia Dowshen
Trustees Council of Penn Women (TCPW)/Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies (GSWS), and the Leonard Davis Institute for Health Economics (LDI)
Families in Transition
This project looks at the experience of transgender young adults sharing their gender identity with parents and family. Trans-identified social work students conducted in-depth interviews with 26 people ages 18-30 in the fall of 2017. We are using a phenomenological lens to understand these experiences. We have imagined a follow-up study interviewing parents about their experience of having their children share trans identities.
Loran Grishow-Schade, Michelle Thompson, Sarah Gzesh, and Caushe Spellman
Experience of Participant in Support Group for Parents of Transgender Children
Through a collaboration with staff and youth from the Attic LGBTQ Youth Center, we wrote the city-wide policy protecting the rights and safety of transgender and gender non-conforming students in the School District of Philadelphia public school system (Policy 252) and led training for all teachers in the District. Queer and trans youth produced a short video to promote the policy and led interviews with transgender high school students about their experience in Philly public schools through a critical participatory action research (CPAR) project.
Kel Kroehle, Hazel Edwards, Giana Graves, Phantazia Washington, Rahsaan Galloway, Paulaijah Sparrow, Emma Stone, Jillian Shainman, and Rachel Benjamin
Penn Center for Public Health Initiatives Community-Driven Research
Anne Esacove (she/her)
Trained in sociology and public health, Anne’s teaching and research focuses on how health promotion and policy efforts attempt to create meaning about and control bodies, gender, and sexuality. She tries to keep balance in her life by gardening, makes things with yarn, reading graphic novels & sci-fi (Becky Chambers is a current favorite), and drinking lots of tea.
Amy Hillier (she/her)
Trained in social work and social welfare, Amy’s current research focuses on transgender children and their families with an emphasis on the support from the communities and institutions they need and crave. As the parent of an amazing transgender child, she brings her Mama Bear heart to this work. She’s still working to find ways to integrate these current research interests with her previous research using GIS and spatial analysis to understand historical and contemporary patterns of neighborhood disinvestment. In addition to spending time with her children and wife, she finds joy crafting, playing catch in the park, and riding her bicycle through the city.
Experience of Participant in Support Group for Parents of Transgender Children
Parents participating in a support group for families with transgender children through Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and Mazzoni’s Pediatric and Adolescent Comprehensive Transgender Services (PACTS) program were asked to complete online surveys about the specific ways it was helpful, how it impacted them and their trans/GNC child, and if they faced barriers to participating.
Trained in sociology and public health, Anne’s teaching and research focuses on how health promotion and policy efforts attempt to create meaning about and control bodies, gender and sexuality. She tries to keep balance in her life by gardening, makes things with yarn, reading graphic novels & sci-fi (Becky Chambers is a current favorite) and drinking lots of tea.show less
Trained in social work and social welfare, Amy’s current research focuses on transgender children and their families with an emphasis on the support from the communities and institutions they need and crave. As the parent of an amazing transgender child, she brings her Mama Bear heart to this work. She’s still working to find ways to integrate these current research interests with her previous research using GIS and spatial analysis to understand historical and contemporary patterns of neighborhood disinvestment. In addition to spending time with her children and wife, she finds joy crafting, playing catch in the park, and riding her bicycle through the city.show less
|First Author||Additional Authors||Title||Publication||Date||Method|
|Hillier, Amy||Kroehle, Kel||“I’ll Save You a Seat”: Negotiating Power in a Participatory Action Resarch Project with Queer and Trans Young Adults||Urban Education||2021||Review essay|
|Hillier, Amy||Kroehle, Kel; Edwards, Hazel; Graves, Giana||Risk, resilience and situated agency of trans high school students||Journal of LGBT Youth||2019||Focus groups|
|Castro, Amy||Hillier, Amy and Perry, Monique||Street-level bureaucrats and intersectional policy logic: A case study of LGBT policy and implementation barriers.||Journal of Policy Practice and Research||2020||Survey (teachers)|
|Hillier, Amy||Torg, Betsy||Parent participation in a support group for families with transgender children: “Being in the company of others who do not question the reality of our experience”.||Transgender Health||2019||Survey (parents)|
|Kidd, K.M.||Sequeira, G.M, Paglisotti, T, Katz-Wise S.L., Kazmerski, T.M, Hillier, A., Miller, E, Dowshen, N.||“This Could Mean Death for My Child”: Parent Perspectives on Laws Banning Gender-Affirming Care.||Journal of Adolescent Health||2020||Interviews (parents)|
|Hillier, Amy||Bunten, Devin M.||Queering our Understanding of Fair Housing||Perspective on Fair Housing||2020||Review essay|
|Hillier, Amy||Promoting spatial inclusion: How everday places signal who is welcome.||The Handbook of Community Movements and Local Organizations, 2nd edition||2018||Review essay|
|Grishow-Schade, Loran||Kroehle, Kel; Hillier, Amy||Policy 252 at the Three-year Mark: How Are We Doing?||self-published report||2019||Focus groups|
Transforming Data Systems to Achieve Health Equity for LGBTQ+ Communities (2022)
In this 15-minute video, professionals and youth leaders presents ten recommendations for promoting LGBTQ+ health equity with a specific focus on ethical and inclusive research and data practices. This collaboration was an offshoot of the LGBTQ+ expert panel assembled to inform the National Commission to Transform Public Health Data Systems.
What LGBTQ Students Want from their Faculty (2019)
Fifteen LGBTQ-identified Penn students tell faculty what they need in order to fully participate and learn in the classroom: (1) Recognize LGBTQ students in your classroom; (2) Respect pronouns; (3) Integrate LGBTQ content and voices; (4) Be brave in managing your classroom; and (5) Practice humility and be open to learning. This video was produced by faculty, staff and students at the University of Pennsylvania with support from Penn Futures Project and the Provost’s Excellence Through Diversity program.
252: The School District of Philadelphia’s Policy on Love and Respect (2016)
This short video introduces the team of youth who helped create Policy 252, the School District of Philadelphia’s Policy for transgender and gender non-conforming youth and highlights some of the key themes, including love and respect, that are central to the policy.
Amy Hillier, MSW, PhD
Reconceptualizing Gender & Health Project