PEI

UPEI researcher to take deep look at LGBTQ youth community

A UPEI PhD student is researching the experiences of young Islanders who identify as sexual and gender minorities.

Research will focus on how LGBTQ youth form their identity

Brittany Jakubiec is reflecting on her own experience of growing up queer in New Brunswick. (CBC)

A UPEI PhD student is researching the experiences of young Islanders who identify as sexual and gender minorities.

Brittany Jakubiec wants to hear the stories of 14- to 18-year-old LGBTQ youth. She will do confidential interviews with participants and will ask them to journal about their experiences.

Her hope is that their stories will create greater awareness and lead to more supports for young people.

"The findings, which will be entirely based on youth voices and experiences, will have a great impact," Jakubiec said.

"These stories and experiences can be heard by those who work in government and those who work at the school board or teachers, those who work in mental health and wellness centres. Part of my responsibility will be ensuring these experiences are read by others so that they have more information when they are making decisions about programs and policies."

A personal project

Jakubiec grew up in Sackville, N.B., a community that she said has a lot of similarities to P.E.I.

She chose this project for her PhD dissertation because of her own feelings of isolation as a queer youth. She wants to understand how that experience is changing for LGBTQ youth on P.E.I., and how it is improving.

She will be asking a lot of questions about their identity.

"How they understand it, how they've come to understand it, how it's changed over time, and what are the influences on their identity," she said.

The stories will be published with identifying information removed. She hopes to have the project completed by the end of the year, and is looking to talk to research subjects as soon as possible.

Interest LGBTQ youth can reach Jakubiec directly via email.

With files from Island Morning

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