Your Voice Matters | focus group to increase Black, Latinx/Chicanx voices in trans-led research.

 a message to our Black and Latine/x siblings

With your help, we can work together with the vision that future trans/nonbinary/gender diverse reasearch — use to create change and inform advocacy efforts — is inclusive of your needs and experiences. Your voice deserves to be heard. 

Your responses from this focus group will create an impact in several ways:

  • Inform the advocacy efforts of local trans/gender diverse-led organizations
  • Increase the representation of Trans folkx of color (commonly abbreviated as TPOC, or Trans people of color) perspectives and voices and research
  • These efforts lead towards the development of actionable data that shows TPOC needs 
  • Inform local researchers how to appropriately engage TPOC for research 

While we recognize that change through research does not happen overnight, this focus group is a reflection of Transcend the Binary’s continued effort of building resources and advocating for our trans/gender diverse community. We will honor these insights in our future research, programming, and community building efforts, and will promote awareness of these findings, and commit to making them readily available and accessible. We will share with researchers at the Institute of Social Research and beyond, ensuring that your perspectives are voiced to those at the helm of creating change. 

“Your Voice Matters” is an imperative step forward. When we facilitated the Trans Research Health Advisory Board (THRAB), one of the most pressing items that came from board members was the need for inclusion of those most marginalized within our community, specifically folkx of color. THRAB essentially validated the importance of Your Voice Matters project and that our team is working on what the community wants to see. 

Brayden Misiolek (Transcend the Binary) 

who this focus group is for

Eligible participants are: 1.) members of our trans, nonbinary, gender expansive (gender diverse) community, 2.) Black or Latinx, 3.) 18 years of age or older (adults), 4.) available on August 31st at 7 pm EST (6 pm CST), 5.) will have reliable access to internet. 

Participation in this focus group is completely confidential, and no identifying information will be shared. Our goal is to make this a safe space, and the facilitators are Caitlin Tupper, LCSW (she/her) and Lance Hicks, LMSW (he/him) who will be available after and during for emotional processing, should any participants request further support. We will work to link to resources, and support in any way that we can. 

Topics are not intended to be invasive and discomforting, and will primarily relate to: knowledge and beliefs of research, past experiences with research, what would make research interesting, and how to connect to members of our community who are Latinx and/or Black, so that future research has greater representation of unique needs. 

We do not assume that all members of our community have “the same” or even “similar” experiences. Which is why there exists a problem within trans health research, in that respondents tend to be predominantly white, failing to address real and meaningful differences. 

Stay tuned!

Want to learn about future research projects? Or receive updates on manuscript publications and other reports? 

origins of this YOUR VOICE MATTERS initiative

After the completing our first grassroots research initative, Finding Our Strength, we pursued a mini-grant to expand this work in 2018. Before deepening our exploration of survey themes, it was paramount that we addressed a critical problem impacting trans health research broadly: the underrepresentation of our siblings of color. 

 Findings that reflect our community, support our community. 
Research that disporportionaly centers white trans folkx fails to account for the needs of those most marginalized within our community. Before we continue with FOS in 2022, it is imperative that we learn from our valued and beloved community to understand how we and other researchers can do better. 

Our proposal was accepted in 2019. In partnership with Lance Hicks, LMSW, founder of Inner Justice Works, we co-created the discussion guide as we prepared for in-person focus group to launch early 2020 at LGBT Detroit (as our gracious facilities sponsor). Monitoring the global pandemic, we shifted gears to a virtual format just as funds were frozen with the University of Michigan due to COVID19. As funding has been released, we are back in action and eager to meet with you! 



Study Sponsor: University of Michigan Institute for Social Research Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Department

Community Partner: Transcend the Binary 

Project Organizer: Pete Batra (associated with U-M ISR)

Coordinator: Brayden Misiolek 

Facilitators: Caitlin A. Tupper, LCSW; Lance Hicks, LMSW

Consultant: Nancy JW Lewis, PharmD, MPH (associated with University of Michigan as well) 

About the Research Team: 

  • The members listed above have been working together since 2015 and the launch of our first research effort, Finding Our Strength (FOS; n=314; 2016) 
  • FOS was a grassroots effort that we built together, without funding
    • Research partners provided guidance, data analysis, and university tools (IRB approved) 
    • Our community drove the research, from objectives, methods used, validated scales/adaptation of scales, design, language, facilitating pilot focus groups (which led to scrapping/starting over!), implementation, data analysis, presenting initial findings to collect community input (2017), community chats to evaluate findings, community-designed and built interactive exhibit 
  • FOS focused on the daily life/burdens of our community, heavily influenced from minority stress framework to explore the burden of worry about discrimination; also focused heavily on coping responses to worry about discrimination and evaluated passive/active; gender journey data; internal self-compassion; depression; anxiety; quality of support; hypervigilance; 
  • Findings drove action; dissemination of a major focus of our work together 
    • Interactive exhibit (Sharing Our Strength) that has toured LGBT centers, universities and TDOR events
    • Guided research tours to community members and healthcare professionals 
    • Ally workshops, leveraging the data 
    • Used in advocating for youth clients, with their families (Transcend Family Support services) 
    • Continuous Education course for Pharmacists that members of our team created
    • Published a community report (available on our website) 
    • Published in Academic Journal (this was a lower priority than the above)
    • Presented at regional/national conferences
  • Core values for our research team include: respecting lived experience as expertise; collaborative, open dialogue; continuous learning; belief in community-driven practices; sense of duty to dissemination (use/share findings)  


This DEI ISR – Mini Grant 

  • This is our team’s first funding over our ~5 years of working together 
  • As a mini-grant, it is intended to have a small scope that continues work that you have completed, and are invested in continuing 
  • Of the topics we considered, this was one that we unanimously thought was most important. While our theme of FOS is coping, and additional analysis would benefit our programs, we believe that sub-minority inclusion demanded our focus/resources. 


If you want to know about future community-led research, sign up below. 

Flyer for 8/31/22 focus group.

We're back!!!

Your Voice Matters  was put on hold by our funder, the Institute of Social Research, the University of Michigan due to COVID19. Our proposal was accepted in 2019.  

check back later for the full report!

Your Voice Matters | by us and for us

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