In honor of Pride Month, we are interviewing some of our authors who have published incredible books with UTP in Queer Studies. Read our Q&A with Amy Bourns and Edward Kucharski below:
What was the process like for editing Caring for LGBTQ2S People: A Clinical Guide? What were some surprising things/sources you found during your research?
This was really a multi-year project that involved many contributors. Early on we took the stance that while we may be experts in some areas of LGBTQ2S health, we had many colleagues across the country who we believed (and now know!) could contribute their own expertise and authentic voices to the material, producing an even better textbook. This certainly was an exercise in national collaboration which took quite a bit of coordination and patience, but in seeing the final product, we believe it was well worth the effort! Surprises – that this took six years! It has also been surprising just how much we have learned along the way, and that we ourselves have been regularly using the textbook as a resource in our own day-to-day clinical practices. Also, we were pleasantly surprised and proud of the breadth of topics we were able to cover. This really became clear when we got to the stage of creating the index. For example, just skimming through the index we see under “F” topics ranging from “Federal government” to “Fertility,” “First Nations,” and “Fisting.”
What was the most challenging aspect of this project?
Definitely working with multiple contributors. This was both a joy and challenge. A joy because we made new connections and created a better book. A challenge because it was difficult co-ordinating so many authors across the country, each with their own style of writing (and sometimes style of timelines!). We were lucky to have many around us to help with this organization.
Another challenge was making sure the content continued to be relevant and up to date. So much changed during the time the book was being written – an obvious example being the COVID-19 pandemic. We were lucky that some of our contributors were able to include preliminary information about COVID-19 as it related to their chapter topics.
What was your experience working with the editor/editors of this book?
At a micro level Amy and I learned really quickly how to work well with one another, and through this process we learned what our respective strengths were and used them in a really complimentary way. The editors at University of Toronto Press were really supportive and patient with us as well, as this was the first time either of us had been involved in a publication on this scale.
What do you hope the impact of this work will have on readers and/or the current scholarship in this area?
We think this book will be the resource for LGBTQ2S health for Canadian primary care providers and health education. Even before this book was released, we’ve had several of our trainees pre-purchasing it and instructors adding it to their syllabuses. We also believe that providers at all stages of training, from different specialities, allied health professions, and even patients themselves will find the book informative and useful, as we intentionally shaped the book to be read by a diverse audience. Of course, our ultimate hope is that the book improves the quality of care and experiences of LGBTQ2S patients accessing health services, and in turn impacts their health and quality of life in a meaningful way.
Since it is Pride Month, we wanted to ask: Do you have any favourite Queer Studies books or writers/scholars that you would recommend?
Ed: I have always been partial to David Sedaris. His wit and unique observations of life are astute and always hilarious. The way he describes growing up and his relationships with his siblings makes me nostalgic for growing up with mine in the home of a psychiatrist-mother. I can’t walk around an airport anymore without thinking about him counting his daily steps.
Amy: I’ve been exploring more about anti-oppression, social justice, and critical ally-ship more broadly, and their role in health, medicine, and medical education. The last several years have been an awakening for many to the reality of past and current experiences of Indigenous and racialized populations. Recently, the work of Rania El Mugammar, Ayelet Kuper, Stephanie Nixon, and Robin DiAngelo have been influential to me. This exploration has in turn facilitated a deeper understanding of LGBTQ2S people who experience an intersection of these identities.