Sex, Drugs & Science

Carmen Logie

June 01, 2020 Valerie Earnshaw Season 1 Episode 1
Sex, Drugs & Science
Carmen Logie
Chapters
Sex, Drugs & Science
Carmen Logie
Jun 01, 2020 Season 1 Episode 1
Valerie Earnshaw

Dr. Carmen Logie is the Canada Research Chair in Global Health Equity and Social Justice with Marginalized Populations at the University of Toronto. Valerie and Carly talk with her about partnering with communities globally on HIV research. Carmen pushes back on research that paints LGBT people as “sad and risky”, advises that we “only get what we ask for” in our work, and grapples with telling stories that document structural oppression while also highlighting individual agency and resilience. Valerie and Carly vow to get fluevogs before their next professional presentations.

 

Read more about Carmen’s work here: https://socialwork.utoronto.ca/profiles/carmen-logie/
Watch Carmen’s Ted Talk here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOkBN8C-4pc
Follow Carmen’s podcast here: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1024792

Show Notes Transcript

Dr. Carmen Logie is the Canada Research Chair in Global Health Equity and Social Justice with Marginalized Populations at the University of Toronto. Valerie and Carly talk with her about partnering with communities globally on HIV research. Carmen pushes back on research that paints LGBT people as “sad and risky”, advises that we “only get what we ask for” in our work, and grapples with telling stories that document structural oppression while also highlighting individual agency and resilience. Valerie and Carly vow to get fluevogs before their next professional presentations.

 

Read more about Carmen’s work here: https://socialwork.utoronto.ca/profiles/carmen-logie/
Watch Carmen’s Ted Talk here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOkBN8C-4pc
Follow Carmen’s podcast here: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1024792

Speaker 1:

(Music playing)

Valerie:

Hello. I'm Valerie Earnshaw.

Carly:

And I'm Carly Hill.

Valerie:

And this is Sex Drugs and Science. Today's conversation is with Carmen Logie, who is an Associate Professor in Social Work at the University of Toronto and the Canada Research Chair in Global Health Equity and Social Justice with Marginalized Populations.

Speaker 3:

(Music playing)

Valerie:

Well, one of my favorite things to do is to play like the where's Carmen in the world game. Cause I feel like whenever I get on Instagram, it's like, "Oh, she's in Geneva. Oh, she's in Alabama. Oh, she's in Swaziland. Oh, she's in Jamaica." And it's like, and you always take these lovely, you know, pictures. Like here's my writing retreat space by this Lake in Geneva. So it's how do you, I always wonder, how do you A.), what percentage of time do you think you're traveling for work for all this science that you're doing?

Carmen:

Some years are more than others. Like 2019, I kinda lost track. It was maybe three times a month. So it was a lot, I can't complain though, because I'm super lucky to do what I want to do. And you know, I have research in different places that I need to engage with to make things happen. So there was, and then sometimes I'm like, "Oh, I want to try a new conference every year." And then, you know, so you go to your tried and true conferences and then you add a couple of new ones to see, "Oh, what's this like?" And then usually at the end of it all like, okay, that was worth it or not worth it because I love traveling, but it's also tiring sometimes. So it's like balancing, you know, teaching and then like meetings and then research projects and then conferences. And then what happens is I often think, "Don't want to go on vacation!"

Carmen:

So my vacation is on my couch! You know then my partner is like, "Hello, let's go on vacation! Let's travel!" Like I really want to do is not eat at a restaurant. And like not sleep in a hotel. But I'm not complaining cause it's a super lucky, like it's a luxury to be able to travel and to be able to work with people and amazing places doing amazing things. But it was last year. I couldn't tell you how many places you went. Yeah, it was sometimes I would wake up and I'd be like, where am I? Like, just like mentally. I feel like I'm not in my bedroom home. Where am I? I l look around like. Okay, here I am. So it's good though. I mean, I like it, obviously. I like it, but I also like being at home. I don't have an issue being at home either.

Valerie:

Right. Well, Paul is at home.

Carmen:

My partner's here.

Valerie:

Yeah.

Carmen:

Until very recently -

Valerie:

And your motorcycle.

Carmen:

- our dog was here. I mean, every time you travel, it's like this wonderful opportunity to connect, to meet people. And at the same time you're not connecting with people in your area or riding motorcycles. So there's always, I like it though. I always learn something.

Valerie:

Yeah. So you have these research projects and really amazingly diverse places too. Like all the way from, is it the Northwest territories all the way to Jamaica, Swaziland... So how is it that you cultivate some of these research projects and how did you meet people? Do you meet people there and get them going? What does that look like for you?

Carmen:

I always said I want to be invited somewhere, so I, I kind of go randomly where I meet people and they invite me. So Jamaica, it's been a long time. So a lot of times this happens at conferences. So this is why I like conferences so much. It's just, I feel like, and I feel like there's just so much energy and people doing similar or different things. And there's just a nice vibe at conferences. One thing leads to another and I always think, "Oh this conference is worth it if I met one, one awesome person." And so I was at a conference in my PhD when somebody looked up my poster, which you know, like wow you looked at my poster! And her name is Dr. Carolann Daniel at Adelphi University.

Carmen:

And she's like, "Oh, I like how you're looking at stigma and working with Caribbean migrants and New York City." And then she invited me to this Caribbean Studies Association Conference in Jamaica. When I was at that conference, I met all these people from Jamaica - people we ended up working with. So actually Carolann and I, I told her she's been a catalyst for so many things because she came to another conference, which is the social work education conference that I first met her at a couple of years later in 2010. And I had literally just the defended my PhD. And I was like going to do yoga and write in a cafe. I was like, "I just did my PhD research in India." "It was awesome and challenging and tiring and amazing and wonderful," but I'm just like, "Oh, I'm tired."

Carmen:

I just want to have a chill postdoc. And so she found me at my talk at this conference - like a couple years later. We kept in touch. Like, you know, but as you are when you're doing your PhD in different countries, you know, and she's like, "Carmen, I just came back from Haiti. You need to come to Haiti with me because the earthquake had just happened in the January and we really need to do some HIV work." And I was like, "Thanks for the offer, but I have this really chill postdoc planned. And like, I'm just gonna work out and like work in cafes." And she was quite insistent. And then I saw this Grand Challenges Canada call and I literally thought of everybody except for her. I just thought people already knew I sent it out to them and they're all like, "Oh, what do you want to do?"

Carmen:

And I was like, I don't want to come up with an idea and tell you what you should do. Like do you have any great ideas or anything like burning that you want to apply for it? I just sent it to her and she of course called me. She was like, "Fly to New York this weekend." And I was like, "What, I'm a postdoc! How am I going to do that?" She's just like, "Fly to New York. Everybody I worked with from Haiti, they're all coming up this weekend." And so I sat at this like big, long kitchen table for a weekend. And we hashed out this does Grand Challenges Canada grant, which we ended up getting and I didn't think we were going to get it and I didn't want to disappoint people. So I applied for another, this is a small planning grant and we got that as well. So that's where we're able to do the photo voice work.

Carmen:

But so it's all been random, random connections, like meeting my colleague from Swaziland or Eswatini at the AIDS conference in D.C. So 2012, I think through Dr. Stefan Brawl, who I met through Tonia Petite, who I met at a conference in Vienna in 2010. So for me, it's conferences are so important - just for those random connections. And so Stef Brawl brought me to this party where there was my colleague of mine that I did not know yet from Eswatini and we were all like, "Oh yeah, we should do something." And we did. And it was awesome. So I find I'm kind of disappointed about the virtual conferences, because you're not going to have those, like parties, bumping into people. And also people, I always meet people when you have like a poster around you. Cause they're the same people in the same area.

Carmen:

Or you could find people there's many people by their posters. So I feel like that's in this world, there's something you can't get online. And that's the randomness of meeting people. So a lot of my work is literally been randomly meeting people and then saying, "Oh, you should do this."

Carly:

But it also kinda sounds like you're just like saying yes to the adventure. Like it kinda sounds like, so you know with the confidence of someone that's spent five minutes speaking with you, you know, it feels like we just say yes to the adventure, then you're still gonna land in the same places.

Carmen:

Absolutely. It's like why I'm working in Uganda and Brazil.

Carly:

Exactly.

Carmen:

I'm like, "That sounds awesome!" And I feel like I just love learning about what it's like in different places and then getting to connect with people. I just, I just feel like it makes me so excited and it's not like, I don't feel excited about working in Canada and I do have some projects, but sometimes it feels like there's often a crowded space. So there's like a lot of people working in say in Toronto or in Canada for the, with populations and there's a lot of things already going on and then you go to some other places and people are like, "Oh, we really need you. Like we really need research." Not like me as in Carmen but like, "Oh, we really need a person to help us do research here." And then I was like, "Oh, that's great." Cause there's sort of a gap or a need. And so that's sort of what also makes me excited is when there's maybe more space that people are excited about filling rather than kind of like, you know, trying to find something to do. I'm just like open. And then if someone's like, "Hey, you should do this."

Carly:

Like sounds good to me.

Valerie:

Yeah. I had that same feeling moving just from Boston to Delaware. Like Boston is such a saturated place in terms of researchers because you have all these huge universities there and we've got great universities in Delaware too, but especially in the HIV space. And for, just for some of the research that I do, there's just fewer people there. And so I went into our local hospital and met with the folks from the HIV program. And I was like, "Hi, I'm new. I study HIV stigma." And they were like, "What studies should we do?" And I was like, "What? It's so hard in Boston to like find a collaborator and get the, you know, get studies up and going, because there's all of this history there. And so it was just like, you know, night and day just to move to Delaware.

Carmen:

It makes a huge difference when people are like, yes, actually, there's this thing we want to do and we haven't done it, you know? And you're like, huh, that's that makes my life so much easier. How am I supposed to know what you needed? And you know, the last thing I ever want to do is replicate what's already going on because there's so many other things that could be done, you know? So I'm glad you found that space.

Valerie:

Yeah, no it's been great. One of the things that I think about for you know, Canadian and U.S researchers doing global work is just like this kind of, you know, colonialization vibe to it or that, how are we, you know, how do you know, as someone who lives in Toronto, like what issues are in Jamaica or Swaziland. So how do you see your role in these research projects? I mean, it sounds like you're approaching them as A.) when people are asking you to join and then B.) you're getting on the ground and loving to learn about these places, but how do you see your role in sort of the, in the mix of the research project?

Carmen:

Yeah, I think that's a super important question. Um, and why I would say all the work I do is definitely kind of community grounded and initiated. So I wouldn't just go randomly and I'm not saying there's anything wrong in doing that. Just I've never just like knocked on a stranger's door with, "Hey, I want to do this thing." Which is why with the Grand Challenge is I was like, I don't know what I would propose to you for this thing. You know, whereas the folks I worked with, this long kitchen table from Léogâne in Haiti were like, "Oh, these are the problems and this is what we can do." And then I can bring in my research background and make a lot of mistakes. I love like when I present talking about all my mistakes, "Aha this is what I thought, right." Or like, this is just my mistakes of like my own assumptions that are incorrect.

Carmen:

And, so I think, I think it's really important. And I actually did an interview for this book I'm writing today with my colleague in the Northwest territories. Because when I'm writing chapters with people that I'm working with, at least part of the chapter is a conversation with them about the project. And I'm learning so much about that. It's really funny. Cause some things that I were like, like, for example, in the work in Haiti, I have like a really like clear memory of this super powerful moment of learning for me. And then I talked to Caroline, she has no memory of that, but she has a memory of something else that was like a pivotal learning moment in her life. And I was like so funny, we were like sitting beside each other, but what you, what you notice is different.

Carmen:

So I think what I was talking with my colleague in the North today was around the idea of cultural humility and really, really like really listening and making sure that people are really excited and coming up with a research ideas or actually collaboratively developing them with you and that it aligns with what their goals and priorities are. So I think that's been super important in all of the research that I've done is to say, so if this is the priority, how can we make it, you know, like researchable, you know, with innovation and methods and rigor, but also really contextually appropriate. And so I've been thinking a lot about context and how context is symbolic and material and relational and how do we have these relationships with people in different places? So there's like relationality of space. So how are we connected?

Carmen:

How is social justice is a thread that connects people? How can your work all across the world, be promoting social justice, local knowledge, building capacity. Like how can we make, how can we leave every place with more than what we came with and that we're not just the people, you know, benefiting. So I think a lot of it is like with community based research. So there's developing the idea and the questions with people, the methods what's an appropriate method. And then compromising, like, it might not be what you want to do, but if it's more aligned with what makes sense for that context. So that's so much of what I do is like trying to just get rid of my own ideas about the way that I wanted to do things that I think things should be done. If it doesn't align with the goals of the community and the needs of the community and hiring people, training people, and then producing knowledge that people can use and having shared ownership of data.

Carmen:

So like everything that you have, people can use that to get more funding. So it's over in Jamaica, for example, like our qualitative data, the community agency use that to get Elton John Foundation funding to run programming. So our work with Black, but it should always be like, from my perspective, it should always be like that. Like, so with Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention, we did a pilot test, a pilot study, they use that data to then get a grant to offer that as core program funding. So really trying to, in my perspective, it should always be owned and used and leveraged to meet the agency, like the communities needs. So it's not just you know, obviously it's like everyone's a co-author and all the papers and everything, but that might not be the most important thing. It might be the community report or the infographic or just the data like that they can plug into different grant applications. So in that way, I try to just be aware of my own biases and perspectives and always look for where I'm wrong and then be transparent about that. So like when I'm writing about in this book and so many other things that I was wrong about that I had to let go of ideas and expectations, I had to really see where people are at. And that kind of humility of just being wrong and not knowing, and maybe your people don't like your idea that you just have to let it go. Okay. What about this idea? You know, so yeah. That's a really long answer.

Valerie:

No, that's great. I mean, I think one of the things that people don't realize when they're training for their PhD is how much you still have to learn, right? Because like you spend this five years of study, you take all these classes, you do a comprehensive exam, you write your dissertation and it feels like so much. And all it's really doing is like launching you for a full career of continuing to figure stuff out as you go along the way.

Carmen:

Yeah, totally. I have one of the examples of, just a small example of me being wrong was you don't know what told you making this video? So for our work in Haiti, we made a video of HIV knol- to share information on HIV knowledge. It was a video between two of the peer health workers and about stigma and what also just HIV transmission. And we had it like, okay, we're going to write the script and it's going to be about, you know, this person at the market, people think are HIV positive and how people are stigmatizing, but it's going to attack all of the questions in the survey. So we can say that, yes, this is a great way to transfer HIV knowledge. So the very first thing I had put that the older person would have less knowledge and the younger person have more knowledge and I'm like, Oh no, no, no, no, no.

Carmen:

The older person always has more knowledge. I was like, okay, cool, great. But then I had thought the video should be short and to the point, and we had this location film student who kindly just, we didn't have any funds for it made this long, long film of riding a bus, like the local bus and look at the money changing hands and then going down the road and then the cows and the sugarcane fields, all the tents people were living in.

Valerie:

Like a full feature film.

Carmen:

It was like a full feature. I mean, it was still only maybe 10 minutes, but I, in my mind was supposed to be three minutes. And he went into the school yard and filmed all these kids playing soccer. They went into this, like where we were holding the intervention was in shipping containers, these metal shipping containers, cause everything was destroyed after the earthquake.

Carmen:

And so they went into the shipping containers and there's kids, you know, the beautiful bows and the uniforms, writing on the blackboard and the kids playing and roosters and people cooking outside this whole thing. So we showed it to me, I'm like, "Oh, I think we can just cut like all the background and just have the people talking. Of course it's a community-based study."

Carmen:

So I was like and so...

Valerie:

So you're like what do you think?

Carmen:

What do you think? And they were like, "No, this is the best video ever." They're like, and I was like, what about the background? They're like, that's the best part because we get to see ourselves in this video.

Valerie:

Ohhhhhhh.

:

It makes us want to stick around for your HIV knowledge piece. Like they actually wanted to see their environment in a video, in a movie because nobody ever depicts, a lot of places where people live and people in those places in ways that are totally everyday real life, it's not exaggerating it.

Carmen:

It's just literally somebody watching her and being like, "Oh yeah, there's the roosters. Look at them. There's the cows. There's a kid playing. And in that one video and I can send you the link, it has not gone viral likely because it's still in Creole-

Valerie:

We're going to make it go viral.

Carmen:

I would love that.

Valerie:

We're going to get all our listeners to watch it.

Carmen:

And so whenever I do my talk on storytelling, I show this, I show the three minutes I would have cut. It was only three minutes. And I say, I would have cut this. Look what we would have lost. You would have lost seeing how beautiful this country is. You would have lost seeing all the joy, all these kids playing and laughing and look at that. They're also living in tents that are disintegrating and they're laughing and there's roosters.

Carmen:

And it's like hectic and it's awesome. And you would have missed all of that because I am coming from a Western perspective where I'm like, "It needs to be quick. It needs to be fast. Let's get this done. The people don't want to sit around." But we actually played that video. I don't know which mobilization. And this is another learning point. We told people to bring their families. People brought the whole village. We had over 1500 people show up and we had, we had no running water or electricity. We had a bedsheet and we had like solar panels and we projected the video onto this bed sheet. Everybody was cheering and loving it!

Valerie:

That's amazing!

Carmen:

Right. And they still, they you know, then at the end they're like, okay, we're interested in hearing this conversation, but they were cheering to see the cows in the field -

Valerie:

-the roosters-

Carmen:

and the roosters marching about. You'll see the video. I'll send you the link.

Carmen:

And for me, that was such a lesson in like, "Oh, I'm thinking what's important is being fast and efficient. And that's like, actually, you know, and I should've known better, you know, because when I lived in Ghana for a year, I lived there from 2000 after my masters, 2003 to 2004. And they did this little like, you know, cultural competency training, you know, for us before we all went and they said, this is what they placed it. You're working with, you know, there's a lot of cultural competency and everything, but they were just like, just so you know in Ghana, it's a relational culture. You are expected to go and greet every single person in the morning and go for coffee and tea. There's nothing more important than that. And I'm telling you if I ever forgot people would come to my office thinking I was sick. It's because you are expected to greet everybody. And it's just a different way of relating to people. Even today. When I was doing the interview with my colleague, it was indigenous in the Northwest Territories, and I was noting to her things that I have learned.

Carmen:

One of them is just importance of inclusion, of elders in everything, all of the youth program, every single thing we do as elders. And she's like, "Yeah, I don't understand why everyone else doesn't do that. For me, that's the way it should be. Like, of course we include our elders. Of course we value their wisdom and knowledge. Of course we see them as - and babies, we can learn from babies." She's like, "I don't understand how we're not valuing every single person as having knowledge, especially our elders." And I, you know, I just think how great it is to be able to acquire all these different perspectives and get out of one sort of way in maybe that we're used to.

Carly:

Yeah. So it's so funny. Valerie and I were just talking about, you know, so when I was watching your Ted talk, one of the things that stuck with me was the $4 a month for a woman. Um, and that, that's what they make. And that essentially it's like this funnel, right? Like where they're, they're sort of forced to make, you know, the choice and I'm not even comfortable using that term, you know, like they're, they're forced into becoming sex worker for that. And so Valerie and I were talking about, as you know, I am a middle class, white woman, you know? And so as someone that also wants to go into the social work field and has this like desire to help, I also have to take a step back and realize, you know, I'm this white knight, right?

Carly:

Like I can't be just the white guy that comes in and thinks we're fixing all of that. So kind of on that same vein, like how do we, and even letting go of the complex that, like, we have anything to fix as these people from, you know, this different place. Like how do we empower these people and specifically, so if you could talk a little bit about, the work that you did, over there and a little bit about, you know, in your head, like, where does the change come from? What can people in these positions of power or just otherwise, of different means like how can we help in such a way that's constructive and not this white knight coming in and, and showing people how they should do things, like where does that start? Like on a micro level or a macro level? Like, what are the things that the average person can do?

Carmen:

I think it's, that it's already underway. All those changes are already there. And sometimes people just need funding. So how can we be kind of a tool to amplify what's already there? So, I think that's, what's, you know, whenever anybody mentions, "Oh, I want to work with or promote LGBTQ rights, somewhere where there's no rights and how should I, how do I do that?" So go find people - the LGBTQ people that are already working on that issue and see if they're interested in your support and what support they might need. And so, for example, for the work in Haiti, there was already a community based agency and we train women who are displaced to be these health workers. And we deliver this intervention. And I could tell you, it had nothing to do with the intervention. The change happened by bringing people together, by paying people.

Carmen:

So sometimes the knowledge was helpful. I'm not going to say it wasn't. And we did increase knowledge. We saw all that increase, but we also, the rates of depression dropped in half. We didn't even address depression and how that happened was from social support. So I feel like sometimes the best thing you can do is create space for people with shared experiences to come together and problem solve and build solidarity and build relationships. And it really became clear to me. And this is one of the funny examples I was mentioning, or this is like the biggest learning moment for me. Like Carolann was there and didn't remember it at all. It was like the funniest thing I was like, do you remember this happened in the focus group at the end of the study in Haiti? And she's like, "I don't remember that at all."

Carmen:

And I tell people this story, I have no idea. She didn't remember cause she was sitting right there, but she didn't remember something else I don't remember. So I was like, okay, it's fine. We all have our different memories, which is interesting. But there was like, so we were doing these kind of focus groups at the end of the program. So we had done the surveys, we've done this intervention, we did a follow up survey. And then we just wanted to get some qualitative feedback at the very end. And so like this eight community health workers or something, and we invited just some people from each of their groups. So the focus group had people who didn't necessarily know each other. So it wasn't just like inviting one person's group to talk about it. So we were kind of mixing groups up.

Carmen:

So not everybody knew each other. And there was this young woman and she was crying in the focus group and she was, I think, 18. And she was pregnant with her second child and her boyfriend had just left her. And she was just like had tears pouring down her face. And she was explaining this to the group and this women, older lady like stood up and pointed at her. And was like, "Sit up. Dry your eyes. Stop crying. We have all been there. You can do this, you don't need him." And she just basically gave her this really stern, like "You're strong. You can do this." And it totally worked. Like she just sat up and she's like, "You've got this. Like we have all been there and you have this." And I was like, Oh my goodness. If this is what happened every week, then nothing.

Carmen:

I mean, I'm not saying information isn't important, but I was like, this is really powerful to have the solidarity. So I think that a lot of times we can just look at what we're doing as supplementing what's already going on, supporting it, adding maybe a little bit more structure or, you know, more of a research question or analysis that we're building on the strengths that already exist. So if you're working with community agencies, they're already having connections with communities. Maybe they want to expand that. So the work I'm doing in Uganda right now, they're expanding the work they're already doing with refugee youth to include HIV self-testing for example. So it's, so we're just leveraging their strengths of knowing how to connect with youth and to support youth and be youth-focused to add this onto it. So that's how I see the work I do.

Carmen:

Not coming in to do something. I mean, maybe it's like, yeah, sure it's new. But it's aligned and building on a structure that already exists because if all you're doing is creating a new structure that's dependent on research, then it's not going to be sustainable when you leave. So that's why I think it's really important to see what are the strengths and existing structures. And then if you are finding something like we found in Jamaica, which was the trans women were really needing more competent and affirmative care and social support. And this is back, you know, now there's more trans specific groups, but at the time there was less. And so that's why they use the findings to then build that. And they also use the findings to reflect on their own practice and hire trans groups to come and train their whole agency to be more affirmative in their care.

Carmen:

So I think it's, it's the approach should be these people are already doing completely amazing work. Where can we expand into an area that makes sense and that's needed. That's how I see it rather than creating, like, I mean, yeah, I think that's the only way that it can work is to kind of -

Carly:

infiltrate to ask what, you know, have the group -

Valerie:

be invited.

Carly:

Exactly.

Carmen:

Yeah. So if they're like, "Oh, we really, you know, we know that this is a gap or our funders want us to better address adherence." So I work right now in Jamaica with young gay, bisexual men living with HIV. They're like, "Oh, adherence is a challenge." So, okay. So we're doing focus groups right now. Well, not right now because of COVID-19, but we, I was there for the focus group in, and I co-facilitated.

Carmen:

And I think sometimes we underestimate the amount of a challenge it is in doing a focus group and that we can build that capacity. So there's an incredible person already working at Jamaica AIDS support. I'm facilitating a few groups of him and then he's going to be leading the groups. So I think that's another way of doing it is like really, work with people who are excited about having research capacity building and then commit to doing that. So we were in Uganda for two weeks in August training young refugees,18 to 24, as peer researchers. And then we did a supplementary training December andJanuary. And then I was just at the end of January and a postdoc that I was working with me was there in February. So it's about committing to building that capacity so that the research will be better if it's done by local people, people can get certificates and references from you and those skills and income. So that's how I see it as how can we transfer resources, places that have more resources to less resources, and then also share the training that we have that could be helpful in building people's portfolios and CVs and getting the work done in ways that is really culturally sensitive too.

Carly:

Right.

Valerie:

This conversation is making me think of my favorite conversation that you are having in intersectionality research right now. So intersectionality is, I'm not going to give it, you know, full drift right now, but stigma researchers specifically are interested in how experiencing stigma associated with different characteristics or identities or whatever leads to worse outcomes. Like they're really focused on that. And what I love about kind of the intersectionality conversation that's happening between scientists right now is there's like, everyone's like, "Oh, you know, all of this stigma together is so bad and terrible." Then you've got Carmen over here being like, "Hello, resilience!" And intersectionality also tells us about connection and strength. So I'm wondering if you could talk a little bit about that because I think you've got such a unique and important perspective on how to kind of break up our conversations on intersectionality as scientists.

Carmen:

It's really funny. Cause I think it goes back to the importance of theory and how theory is so important. It's so important in informing how we understand something. So the origins of intersectionality, are from a really decades and decades and decades ago, and you know, third world feminists, Black feminists and sixties and seventies, and before then, which was around revolution and it was around solidarity and it was around, we need to break down systems of oppression that impact people. And we need to do that through building our community and solidarity and our care for each other. And I think you would talk to anybody who is, not anybody , that's a large exaggeration maybe. You had talked to many, many, many people who belong to communities who will say, "Yeah, there might be some challenges, but there's also an incredible amount of strength and things I would never give this up for."

Carmen:

I'll just talk about my personal experience as being part of the LGBTQ community. And yes, there is heteronormativity all the time. There is expectations all the time about gender and following hegemonic, gender norms. And there's also an amazing solidarity and pride and celebrations and so many amazing things about being part of this community or communities that are often global or they are global. So I feel like there's only half the story being told if we're applying a radical solidarity focused theory. And we're only saying there's these bad things that happen because that's not the story of my life. Sure. Like stigma of many different identities might impact me in a negative way, but they also provide a sense of connectedness to people, a sense of joy and fun, and those hard times do build resilience. So, yes, I think it's our lens and it's the perspective and the same as when we go into another country or we work with the community we don't belong to. If we're only, this is probably the biggest thing I learned. We only get what we asked for. So if we only go somewhere and ask people, tell me about your stigma. Okay, sure. I can tell you the stigma, you know, small town stigma, this stigma, that stigma,

Carmen:

And then you could walk away being like, "Oh, that person is -

Valerie:

terrible -

Carmen:

And then you could ask about, so tell me about what's joyful in your life and how do you cope? And what's your communities? Like what are all the good things about these identities? But if you forget to ask that then as a researcher, and this is what I talk about in the storytelling research is that, we control the storyline as researchers. So if all of this, the questions we're asking are around hardship and pain and tragedy, that's the story we're going to get. And there's, I've been doing some writing on storytelling as part of this book that I'm working on. And it talks about how do we tell stories, the eating the trauma of others, and how is this not just, we're just like, "Oh, let's just get into this trauma story. You know, it's like a soap opera." You know why people watch really things on TV that are really disturbing, but I feel like that's so incomplete. And that's why I'm always encouraging people, especially I find this happens and this is probably going to be controversial. But I feel like this happens a lot with people studying LGBTQ people. There is so much of a deficits perspective. And I feel like most of those people are probably not part of the community. And then they're painting a picture of people as sad and risky.

Valerie:

Well, I'm up to date on the literature. I thought that that was what it was. Tell me what we're missing, Carmen?

Carmen:

And I just feel it's such an injustice to how people's lives are portrayed, like find me one lesbian movie, that doesn't have a sad ending, that ends with a woman falling in love, happily with another woman. If you can find me one, I have not found one ever. So maybe I'm missing that, but there's something about when you don't see ourselves reflected in stories or in research that we look at the LGBTQ channel on Netflix and every single movie that's a lesbian movie is going to have a heartbreaking ending or the woman's going to leave for the, a woman partner for a man. Every single one. If you can find me one, please tell me. But if you can only find me one, that's also really sad. Can you find me five?

Carly:

I was just going to ask you if you saw, A Portrait of a Lady on Fire, because while it was sad, I found it to be satisfying. I thought it was with the times.

Carmen:

I haven't seen that. I'm just saying the story is often that we don't get to see ourselves in movies and TV shows as having these happy, boring, funny, longterm relationships, just like everybody else you see on TV.

Carly:

Right.

Carmen:

And the focus is so much on sex and or depression. And so I feel like there's a frustration and that's probably why I'm harping on about, are we looking at the beauty and the joy and the connectedness people have on the celebration and the generosity within communities.

Carly:

Right. And that also kind of brings us to something that I've been dying to ask you about, which is the paper that you authored about the normative idea of queer as a white person, which was super. Yeah. So we had the undergrads do a little bit of work and this was the theme. This is also personally the theme that I've been most excited to ask you about. But you know, this idea of understanding the perceptions of this white privilege among the community, right? Because it's so like you were saying, the story is painted and in the movies that you're talking about, the trope has always, it's two white women, no matter whatever. Not only do they not get the actual story right of the joy about it, it's also just like the trope that these two super depressed white lesbians are gonna go on a tale and it's likely going to end with them not -

Carmen:

- one's going to find a man.

Carly:

I was just going to say one of them is going to actually be like low-key straight at the end of it. Or it's just not going to end well for either one of them. And so even just reading the title of your paper, as a white queer woman, I was like, "Ah shit." Yeah.

Carmen:

Yeah! And that was inspired by knowing about so many of my friends who are Black lesbian, bisexual, queer women who are more gender nonconforming or more butch and the constant stress they experience going to the bathroom. And even with my partner and deciding what outfit you're going to wear so that you won't be stressed out using a bathroom, if you're going to be going to a straight venue, for example, to work or to school and, or just not going to the bathroom. And that inspired that. So it was quite a small study of amazing, I'm so amazed you read that study. It was for a special issue on white privilege. And I think that was in the Lesbian Studies Journal. I think that, I can't remember. I think that was it.

Carly:

It was, yeah.

Carmen:

And I did the focus groups and it was really shows intersectionality because you're right. It's the idea of who is a lesbian is often framed as a white person, which is problematic all around the world.

Carly:

Right. And so actually, let me ask you a quick question about so in this study, and we can edit it out if you don't remember. So you had eight people and you said that they self-identified as Masculine of Center (MoC) and Feminine of Center (FoC). So as someone in your position, how do you, yeah. I was just like how do you scientifically sit down? I was just saying to Val before this, I said, "She just put science to butch culture and measured it. Like how did you do that? Like, I'm fascinated. And how did you decide what is the line? Right? Because in the same position, right? Like I had a situation, and my mother won't listen to this, where I got glasses for the first time. And my sister said to my mother, "Oh, would she get dyke glasses?" And I said, "You know inherently I could put on your glasses and then wouldn't they be dyke glasses? Like who, who are you? Like, how do you define that?" You know? So it's so interesting. I just had this conversation and here you are scientifically defining, you know.

Carmen:

Well I also feel it's generational and contextual. So there is a culture in Toronto of people who identify as butches. And that's also maybe an older culture and yeah, I would say it's multi-racial. But there's definitely from people that were involved. So the way that study happened was I did a survey as a postdoc and I didn't have much money cause I was a postdoc. So, and I happened to know a lot of DJs. So I had focus group with queer women, DJs,

Valerie:

You had a focus group with queer women DJs! This is amazing!

Carly:

Yeah! Hang on. Cutting-edge news is that is whole paper is actually -

Carmen:

That's not the same focus group. Valerie, the one paper you and I worked on together. That focus group was part of that paper that you and I worked on with the queer women's stigmas.

Valerie:

That's amazing. My favorite paper.

Carmen:

Yeah so that focus group was with crew and DJs because I needed to pilot-test the survey and I also needed them to spread it to their fanbase. And so what we found though, was that survey was, there was too many, it was overrepresenting white people for the multicultural population of Toronto. And so we further kind of looked at some issues around white privilege in those smaller focus groups. So just because of the community involvement and the research assistant at the time, it wasn't a difficult thing to say, "Oh, we're looking for people who are identifying more as butch or masculine." And now I, you know, where that was written and now an age there's just so much more gender fluidity now, but there are still people who identify as butches.

Carmen:

So I think there's just so much complexity and heterogeneity within the queer women's sphere, and the queer communities. So that was a very sort of contextually specific that a lot of people identify as butches. And I personally knew so many, so it was an easy way to recruit people. If I did the study today, probably most of those people would still be, would be in their forties and fifties now versus, you know, when I did it they were probably in their thirties. So there's a lot more. I think there's, now we did research in the Northwest Territories with queer identified youth and there's like 15 different kinds of sexual orientations and gender identities.

Carly:

Right.

Carmen:

So there's just this like explosion, which I think is really exciting. I'm like, "Forget those categories, like blow up all the categories! It's all good." You know, some people still like categories. So I think it's like understanding that there's these generational differences and racial differences and categories, can help people find community too. But then a lot of people don't want categories. I'm like, it's all a little anarchy.

Carly:

It is! Yeah right.

Valerie:

Revolution, anarchy, yeah.

Carly:

Right. I think to your point though, it's interesting that you say it's a generational thing because my mom's a boomer, right? So to her dyke is a dirty word. And then I'm what three generations, I think, technically pass that. And you know, that's not at all true. We have Dykes on Bikes, you know, that's like the whole pride is like Dykes on Bikes. And it's like it's not a dirty word that she intended to use. So it's interesting how -

Carmen:

- there was queer too. A lot of people, older folks, don't like queer. So like offensive.

Carly:

Right. Or, you know, and actually, yeah, but it's just interesting that like this dichotomy exists of my mother meant that in a slight and I was like, "Hell yeah! They're dyke glasses cause I'm wearing them. Like that's what, plot twist, any glasses I wear are -

Carmen:

So I wanted to make sure I don't skip over the point about white privilege. So there is privilege in being more gender conforming and not being immediately coded as being queer or butch or something like that. So there's that privilege. And then there's privilege of being white because what we found and you probably read in the article is that people who are coded as being masculine and Black get a lot of people being afraid of them and then reacting in really violent ways.

Valerie:

Mhmm.

Carmen:

Right.

Carmen:

So that happens a lot when people, say Black Masculine of Center (MoC), butch women go to the bathrooms, they're harassed, chased out, stared at, just basically made very uncomfortable in ways that people aren't the same type of fear if it's a white person. So there is there's definitely a lot of importance and complexity in looking at intersectionality there because you also have like racism within white culture.

Carmen:

And then you have a specific kind of racism towards people perceived as men who are Black. So anti-Black racism towards men. And so when there is a women or any body that's coded that way, that attracts more violence and stigma. So I think that there, there was something worthwhile about those conversations and just really thinking about the challenge of people, literally trying to go to the bathroom. And it's more than that, of course. It's walking on the street. It's trying to get a job. It's trying to find housing. It's so many different parts of life, but a very common narrative. It was just like, "We just need to go to the bathroom." And I know there's an issue facing trans people. So it's like, how can we, why are we making it so complicated to go to the bathroom?

Valerie:

It really feels like we could "crack" this bathroom thing. [Laughter]

Carmen:

2020, can we "do it''? [Laughter].

Valerie:

"Dear NIH.." [Laughter]

Carly:

You know it really feels like maybe I will say one of the silver linings of COVID might be because the argument was always right, the left wing response was always like, "Don't give a shit, just wash your hands. Right?" And then after this COVID thing, I really feel like maybe everyone will take that to point and just be like, "Dude, we don't care. Please just wash your hands."

Carmen:

I love gay bars. I think if every place could be like a gay bar, cause everyone just uses whatever bathroom there is.

Carly:

Right. Yeah.

Carmen:

Can we just be like a gay bar?!

Valerie:

Yeah right.

Carmen:

We've managed to go to the bathroom with no problems.

Carly:

Well my favorite thing to do, to point out to those people is always just like, "Oh, do you live in a single family home? Oh, so like women also use your bathroom in your home?"

Valerie:

So "scandalous". [Laughter]

Carly:

I'm confused now then why you have such an issue with it here this restaurant? You know?

Carmen:

It's an issue globally. Like I've had, heard so many stories and in one of the projects that I did in Lesotho, when we did this participatory theater and we generated qualitative data with LGBT community groups and we worked with local theater groups. And all I said was, "We need one skit to be about a lesbian or bisexual woman, one about a gay or bisexual man. I want to get a trans person. And one needs to be in a family setting. And one needs to be in a community setting. One needs to be in a healthcare setting." And so the skits look differently in Eswatini and Lesotho, but the Lesotho one, and this just shows you what a global issue is as a trans man, couldn't go to the bathroom anywhere. And this is Lesotho. So this is actually an astounding example of these gender norms. I mean, there was so many other issues that were also covered in these skits and in the interviews. But just to say that this is sort of this weird way that stigma is operating -

Carly:

Right.

Carmen:

-for folks.

Carly:

So I went to high school. I don't know if you're familiar with Sarah McBride. She's the -

Carmen:

-sounds familiar.

Carly:

So Sarah McBride was the first person, the first trans person to ever speak at a national convention when Hillary (Clinton) invited her to speak at the DNC this past election. But at any rate, Sarah wrote this book about, so I knew Sarah pre-transition when we went to high school together. And, she went to Washington or no she went to George Washington (University). And she has a story about in her book about being a white man transitioning to live authentically as a white woman. But that, you know, there was this moment where she was in a fraternity and was, I think the president of the fraternity. And she makes this announcement on, she was also the student body president and it's her final announcement.

Carly:

She comes out as a trans woman and makes this huge announcement and she's in her apartment and she's just made this thing. CNN picks it up. She has an interview with Anderson Cooper. Like all of these things are happening and she gets a knock at her door where all of these fraternity brothers are outside. And she said in that one moment, it was like that one moment where she realized she didn't have white male privilege anymore because now she was out as a woman. And there was a group of men at her door and she was like, "It's literally within, you know, I hit enter and my world changed. I now had to perceive these things as a woman." And it's such an interesting thing in that age, she had to like have that realization where she realized like, "Oh, I have to be scared because there's a group of men at my door."

Carly:

Right? And it ended up being, luckily, you know this beautiful story where the whole fraternity showed up. They each had a rose and the last person in the line ended up, how like fraternities do all those pictures like the whole fraternity class? I wasn't in one, so I don't understand, but they do like,

Valerie:

I don't know? You sound like an "expert." [Laughter].

Carly:

But at frat parties, do you remember seeing like all the pictures of everyone, like it would be like that class.

Carmen:

I have never been to a frat party, but I see the one.

Valerie:

We believe you.

Carly:

Like American Pie, if you go back and watch there's like a whole bunch of pictures on the walls. And so they presented Sarah with the picture of her updated. So when she came up, part of her coming out was having, you know, an updated profile picture and they printed out that picture and put it in the frame and said that she was the first sister that this fraternity had ever had.

Carmen:

That's so...That's so amazing!

Carly:

The book (Tomorrow Will Be Different) really is so amazing. And you should, you know really -

Carmen:

Yes, send me the link!

Carly:

Yeah I will - but it was just so interesting that like, and she always talks about it's always this one moment that, it's very rare that you have the luxury of knowing that this one moment is going to change you for the rest of your life. And that that's what her transition was for her, was like these constant, this luxury as this upper middle-class white person of living in a space where she got to kind of like heed these things as they were coming in and respond to them in this lecture. But it's so interesting. And that always stuck out to me that in that one moment, she hit enter and she now had to change the whole perspective of how she thought about things, or these men at her door. Whereas an hour before she never would have thought twice about it. Now she had to think about that under the lens of a white woman. And anyway, it goes on to speak about how she had to check her privilege on that one a little bit, and redo it through the lens. But it's so interesting in that way.

Carmen:

And for me was I hear that is such a hopeful story as well. And also in that complicates, that narrative that we often hear about just tragedy and rejection and isolation. I, you know, when I was reflecting on the project in Jamaica, cause I'm writing this book in each chapter as a different research study and so I've been spending this year so far interviewing. So each chapter is part of the chapter is an interview with somebody from the research project. So it's our conversation. And so the one with my colleague in Jamaica, who did the study with us, we did this focus group with young gay and bisexual men in Jamaica. And that the stories are complicated. So there's stories of, yes, people lining the streets with machetes when there was going to be a gay pride. And there's also stories that people told of being a high school student and having their parents buy them a mannequin to practice hairdressing.

Carmen:

And there are stories of people living in very what are called rough neighborhoods where they're protected, as long as it don't bring anybody home. So there's so much, I feel like these, we need to kind of show the messiness of life, that there is always something that is positive somewhere for say a LGBTQ person, like somebody or something, or whether or not it's, it's their own discovery and then connecting with community. I mean, I've never done research where I haven't found a strength, a positive or something, some part of the story that wasn't completely and utterly heartbreaking, although it could go alongside the heartbreak. You know, there's often this juxtaposition of like pain and then also something else, whether it's authenticity or connection or something deeper understanding of self. So I feel like it's our role as researchers to keep peeling back the narratives until we get to that complexity. And until we get to that part that shows these full lives that have both joy and pain and sorrow and heartbreak and love and connection. So Valerie that's why I'm always doing that. [Laughter]

Carmen:

Well, I'm glad you're like measuring stigma, but I don't want around is only stigma. That's like, we're shortchanging people.

Carly:

Well wait. No, I'm interrupting here to say that Valerie's famous line. So I'll say that Valerie was one of the first people I came out to and Valerie always reminds me about the regression to the mean, right? Like, and that make so much sense to someone that appreciates like even statistics and science. Like I appreciated that. And so, you know, as, as dark as it ever got or as bad. Like you're saying, Carmen, you know, as sad as the story ever got it also had like these highs in between. Right? And the rationale is that you're always going to end up coming back to the mean in some way. It's all gonna even out.

Carmen:

Oooo I like that!

Carly:

But to your point though, is that like everyone's story and again, upper middle class, white woman here, like my biggest fear was my mom won't accept me, but like, it doesn't really mean anything because I have a job and whatever. You know I had that luxury, but even I think that that's applicable though, right? Like what you're saying is like everyone's story has these ups and downs and it's sure.

Carmen:

In not having your family accept you is also heartbreaking and painful as well.

Valerie:

Huge.

Carly:

Right! But I was never in, I had the luxury of being able to accept that and also be in a position where that didn't make or break -

Valerie:

-you still had a place to live.

Carly:

Exactly! You know, I had that security, which I think is a privilege and a luxury, but to your greater point, which is that like every story of all these marginalized, you know, everyone's story, even not marginalized, rich, white people still have these stories of these ups and downs. And it's important, I think to really capture that. And to your point is as a researcher, it's your responsibility, no matter what, to make sure that you're capturing that.

Carmen:

If someone asked you to review a paper and it's only painting a really negative, sad picture, I'm like, "Didn't you think about strengths or protective factors or anything?" It's hard for me to accept a paper like that because I feel like a person reading this should feel empowered. The person who is a participant should be able to see hope reflected in when you tell their story. So if every single participant you would just show what you produced, how do you feel like they would feel after reading that?

Carly:

Right.

Valerie:

Oh man. I feel like I need to go back and take some Wite-Out and maybe mark out 50% of my CV right now. [Laughter]. No but actually -

Carly:

- there is an irony in like using Wite-Out too though.

Valerie:

Oh God! I didn't even think about that. No, but thanks for that Carly. But actually, one of the questions I wanted to ask you, you've already answered beautifully which was like, "Doesn't it bum you out to do all this LGBTQ like stigma research?" And the answer has gotta be, why would it bum you out if you're taking a full, balanced approach to people and letting them be -

Carmen:

it does though.

Valerie:

- like letting people be them full selves.

Carmen:

I mean -

Valerie:

How could it not?

Carmen:

It does some, I mean, I feel like I've been reading about these geographical relationalities and why are we connected to other people who don't live near us? Is it a shared identity? Is it that we feel a sense of justice that we want to address pain and suffering where we possibly can? And I think it's a combination of those things, like knowing that, you know, most of these places that are criminalizing same-sex practices is a legacy of colonial role, British colonial rule. And so as somebody from that background trying to disentangle some of that by highlighting how harmful the criminalization is on people. So I definitely want to, not just, it's really challenging and, you know, reading about storytelling, how do we tell stories that show both the structural oppression and individual agency and collective agency at the same time.

Carmen:

So how there's these constraints over individuals and communities because of structural constraints. So how can we do that justice, that story? And I mean, I was just saying I was in Jamaica in January of this year and the focus group we did with trans women, all of the trans women who came to the focus group were homeless, living outside and living with HIV and having a challenge taking their medication because they don't have enough food to eat. And the side effects are too much. And reflecting on that focus group with a colleague, because people were not interested in anything that the focus group was about. People were on their cell phones, having conversations, playing games, arguing, doing other things completely. Not interested. And you know what? I was reflecting on this with my brilliant colleague, who you might want to interview, Carolann Daniel, is reflecting on this thing. Like, yeah, I realize my interpretation was like, they were a group of people who are so normally kind of like pushed down and pushed aside that they just wanted to push you aside. "And just like maybe? Or maybe they knew you couldn't really help them with the research."

Carmen:

[Laughter] And I was like ohh you're sooo wise! Oh my gosh she is a really wise person. I was like, yeah, you're right. Like I can't offer housing. I can't offer food. I don't have any jobs to offer. That's what's needed, you know? And I met with the ED (executive director) afterwards and I'm like this is not, research is not what is what is needed right now. And even in my conversation today with my colleague in the North, she was like, "People also, if you're really genuinely wanting to build relationships with communities and work with them, you have to be able to hear no or understand when you're not needed or wanted. And I think for me, I was like, "Ahhh, what was needed was the food we gave for lunch and the honorarium. It was not an adherence intervention. An adherence intervention would look like the social terms of health, which is beyond the scope of any research project I can imagine.

Carmen:

Because it's something that people have been struggling with for years is how do you address the severe barriers to employment and housing for trans people when there's no human rights protection. And you have the same thing in the United States. We do have it in Canada, but we also have a human rights protection for gender identity that's protected at the national level. So the, the, so it was also, um, really, I don't know how to say, I, I don't know what the right feeling, but it wasn't like a good feeling. It wasn't like, I was like, "Oh, everyone's cool. And everything's going right." I was like, "Oh, this problem is so much bigger than what I know how to do with this small research grant."

Carly:

It's defeating, a little bit right?

Carmen:

It feels like that. And you know, there's a lot of activism on the ground and I just have to give all the props to the local activists who have been doing this for decades and decades and are going to the ones who make the change and it's not going to be from me.

Carmen:

And when we met with a group of young gay, bisexual men with HIV, it was a very different situation. They all had jobs. Most of them never disclose your status to anybody except maybe two people. And one had his mom said, "Don't ever mention that again." And the other person, "You can't use our utensils or touch or other things." So but their main challenge was okay, "How do I take my meds when there's security at work that looks at my bag?" So it was a different, that was something that was, you're like, "Okay, research could probably be useful here." You know, so it was, I think for me, it's not the same, like trans folks everywhere, you go experience much more violence and stigma. And there's still a lot of barriers where things are criminalized. So I also, was it in January or was it in August?

Carmen:

I think last August when I was in Uganda, I met with refugees who were LGBTQ refugees in Uganda coming from Rwanda, Burundi and DRC. And they weren't given asylum because they were gay and they didn't know, they couldn't seek asylum in Kampala. Cause it had to go to a refugee settlement, which was quite far, and then they weren't even guaranteed necessarily of getting asylum. And so that was a whole other dimension of challenges that people are experiencing where there's no rights. So I do feel like there's still a lot of work to do. And so even though I try to highlight the stories of hope and solidarity and strength, and there's a wrench I'll throw in that whole thing, which is sometimes people don't want you to focus on criminalization and decriminalization.

Carmen:

So in that focus group, we did with the very first focus group we did many years ago, I'm trying to remember what year, 2013 or 2014, with the young gay bisexual men in Jamaica. I asked them, "What do you think about criminalization and decriminalization?"And they were like, "Don't do that because there's going to be such a backlash against us that you need to change people's hearts and minds first. Change the community norms." And that's what brought me back to my PhD research was with gay, bisexual men in India. And that whole thing that happened there, where they decriminalized and then they re-criminalized and then they eventually decriminalized shows that you can't always make change from the top-down. Often it needs to come from the ground-up and it needs to come with communities, being activists and changing other community members' minds and hearts.

Carmen:

And that's how we've made a lot of change. It's not just simply changing a law. And so folks there that was their lived experience. And for me, I was like, I would have assumed that everyone's like, "Yes, decriminalize it." Like you have other work to do first. "You need to make sure that the media and they're going to blame us. They're going to say, this is a Western agenda. You need to change more of the local folks' perspectives. And I think that's, what's really hard is that's hard to get funded. It's hard to fund community-based stigma reduction if you can't map a health outcome onto that.

Valerie:

But we can't get funding for all of our activism? "What"? [Laughter]

Carmen:

[Laughter] Right? Yeah. I was just for me, I remember talking to a lawyer and she's like, "Oh, maybe they just don't understand." I'm like, "No, maybe we just don't understand. Like, it's us that think that we'd think that's change from top-down can happen when there's people on the ground saying, "No, you have to do change from the bottom-up.""

Valerie:

Well, Dr. Logie, one of the things I think about myself a lot is my role as a researcher is listening and amplifying, you know, listening to people and amplifying what they want to say. And I think you're like number one on the list of researchers just listening and amplifying and trying to lift people up. So we're so super grateful. Thank you so much for talking with us.

Carmen:

Thank you for having me!

Valerie:

This is setting the bar actually too high. [Collective laughter] Oh my gosh. We want to make sure that people know where to find all of your amazingness. So first up, I want everyone to go subscribe to your podcast which is "Everybody Hates Me." I forget what it's called, but it's your -

Carmen:

"Everybody Hates Me" and we're launching it in May 2020.

Valerie:

And I can't wait to listen to it!

Carmen:

And you are the first guest and you're going to be launched the first week of May.

Valerie:

Oh my gosh. That's amazing. Maybe we can get our lives together to launch this the first week of May so everyone can listen to both.

Carmen:

That would be amazing. We also have a book that came out with the American Psychological Association that I co-edited called International Perspectives on LGBT Mental Health. Yeah.

Valerie:

And we also want to tell everybody to go and watch your TED talk because -

Carmen:

- Oh, did you like that?

Valerie:

Yes. Loved the Ted talk. Love to the leather jacket.

Carly:

And I'm just going to say for the shoes, like watch it for the shoes alone, but also really watch it for reaI.

Carmen:

I have to say, I did go shopping because the nerves. What you learn, well, the funny thing is they give you this whole training to do the TED talk cause you're not allowed notes. And you're supposed to do this like, you know how there's like a Queen's wave? She kinda like looks to the left, looks forward, looking to the right. And I'm supposed to be like moving my body. I was so terrified of falling. "I'm just going to stand here!" I feel like I didn't quite maximize the whole lessons. They taught me for, the TED people taught me.

Valerie:

I think you rocked it.

:

(Music playing)

Valerie:

So Carly, our first recording with Dr. Carmen Logie.

Carly:

Yess!. Nailed it!

Valerie:

Totally nailed it. I realized while we were talking with her, what probably the biggest risk is for doing this podcast -

Carly:

-which is?

Valerie:

That you're going to quit working with me and go work with one of my colleagues who are [Laughter] really cool and interesting people, but they're not. And they're also living in places like Toronto which would be really exciting and fun to live in. Although I'm going to point out to you now that it's colder in Toronto, so you should probably shouldn't go live there.

Carly:

I was going to say that you have nothing to worry about because so far, no one has research assistants. They also invite to do podcasts with them, but Carmen totally does. And so I dunno, maybe.

Valerie:

Yeah. Yeah. So Carmen's podcast, as we mentioned is called "Everybody Hates Me" and she's interviewing folks who are either a stigma scientist or people who have experienced stigma and other things.

Valerie:

And she was kind enough to have me over on her podcast. So you guys can all skip that episode, but please do go listen to the other ones. Cause she's just really fun to talk to and to listen to. So not only is Carmen amazing and a great conversationalist, she's totally a big deal too. So I was doing some more research on these Canada research chairs, which Carmen has. And so I know we said it at the beginning of the episode, but first off this research chair has the best title. So her research chair is in global health equity and social justice with marginalized populations. That's just like so fantastic.

Carly:

Yeah, like wooo! That is like all those, what are the buzz words? Like that is, sounds like a superhero name.

Valerie:

Oh my gosh, this is an academic superhero name for sure. Yeah, usually they're named after somebody who created an endowment that. So I'm wondering if she gave herself that superhero name or something? If she had some sway and created the chair?

Valerie:

Yeah. It's pretty stellar. But what I found out about these chairs is that Canada overall has a little over just, I think, 2,000 of these research professorships. So there's actually, there's not a lot of them, there's a limited number. And the goal is to promote and I quote, "excellence in engineering and the natural sciences, health sciences, humanities, and social sciences. They improve our, Canada, depth of knowledge and quality of life, strengthen Canada's international competitiveness and help train the next generation of highly skilled people through student supervision, teaching and the coordination of other researchers work." So a.k.a. BFD position for Carmen Logie and it's super well deserved. I think it's really neat that she has this, especially because we know, or you know, that sometimes people who do research with marginalized population are marginalized within science as well.

Valerie:

So I think it's really an amazing thing that her research has been elevated and recognized in Canada with this chair.

Carly:

Yeah, absolutely! And you know her home base is out of Canada, but like we heard she's doing work ALL OVER THE WORLD. I think all those in January at home, Carmen was out here crushing it - three different countries one month.

Valerie:

Yeah. We missed her. She was actually just down the road at Hopkins for a couple months last year. So probably, the biggest regret of 2019 might be that we didn't get Carmen to come up and visit the lab. So luckily with the amount that she travels, she'll probably be back soon and we can get her to come visit.

Carly:

Maybe we can do a podcast part two?

Valerie:

Yes!

Carly:

Where are they now?

Valerie:

Yes, absolutely. Where is Carmen? Yeah. I also realized that we had referenced a book by this professor at Hopkins. His name is Travis Rieder and his book is called, "In Pain: A Bioethicist's Personal Struggle with Opioids." So I met Dr. Rieder at a meeting. Super interesting guy. Super interesting story. And I am looking forward to reading his book now that we all have like lots of time during COVID. I'll have to order it, but we had this really interesting conversation with him about whether it's good or bad to use stigma, to prevent opioid use at this meeting that we were at. And he had this great line which was basically like, "When you're trying to think about good and bad, you should just call your friendly ethicist.", Which I just loved. All right, Carly. Well, thank you for going on this podcast journey with me. Thanks for co-hosting this conversation with Carmen.

Carly:

Yeah! Thank you for having me, introducing me to all of your super cool BFD friends.

Valerie:

Again, they're cooler than I am. So I am a little bit worried about how this is going to go, but we'd also like to say thanks to the whole Stigma and Health and Inequities Lab at the University of Delaware, our team, Natalie Brousseau, Christina Holzapfel and Alissa Leung. And we'd especially like to thank Saray Lopez who did the research for this episode.

Carly:

For sure! We'd also like to thank City Girl for letting us use their music for the podcast. Super appreciate it.

Valerie:

And thanks to all of you for listening!