A grad student at the University of Lethbridge has earned an award from the Parkland Institute.

Jaisie Walker graduated from the U of L’s Department of Women and Gender Studies. The award is for a project called Unsettling Lateral Violence: Queer Genealogies of Non/Monogamy in Southern Alberta.

Walker’s proposed study will utilize participants as part of the research approach. She looks to gather 15 people to photographically document community assets and concerns around violence, safety, accountability and more.

Walker says for many LGBTQA2S+ people, non/monogamous relationships are seen as progressive and transgressive solutions to heteronormative violence. “Consequently, non/monogamous relationships have become a way of mobilizing political values in an attempt to be more responsible, caring and loving. However, non/monogamies scholarship is beginning to outline significant constraints that factors such as race, gender and class have on negotiations of safety and desire in non/monogamous relationships.”

U of L Sociologist, Dr. Trevor Harrison, who’s also Director of the Parkland Institute, says despite some legal gains in recent years, the LGBTQ+ community still faces many challenges, as Walker’s project highlights. “Their submission was clear, well-articulated, and frankly exciting. We look forward to the results of their research.”

Walker explains that, while the justice system still has its place in dealing with situations of interpersonal violence, most instances occur between people who have established loving, trusting relationships where criminal charges are not always a desirable outcome.

Walker has worked on the frontlines of anti-violence programming and seen how the queer and non/monogamous communities are underserved by current policies on interpersonal violence.