A new University of Lethbridge research project that proposes to chronicle the history of Gay Straight Alliances in Alberta has won a research award from the Parkland Institute.
The project: GSAs in Alberta: Past, Present, and Future aims to create a record of the province’s GSAs by capturing the oral histories of those involved from the early 2000s, right up to today.
The U of L says the project will involve a lot of ground work and take place over the next year.
Session Instructor, Tiffani Semach, played a key role in starting the city’s first-ever GSA when she was a student at LCI in 2003. She says the data they acquire here will be important for future programming and policy decisions.
The research will start in Lethbridge and then likely branch out to Calgary, Red Deer, and Edmonton and possibly some rural areas as well.
The study is being led by Dr. Athena Elafros, assistant professor of sociology at the U of L.
“Working together, we came up with the idea to do the oral history component,” says Elafos. “Given my two colleagues’ connections in the community, we thought it’d be a good way to access participants and give them a chance to talk about their experiences and share them with other people who might be experiencing similar issues.”
Elafros says the Parkland award is welcome recognition for the legitimacy of the study, especially in the current political climate. And while much of the current literature on GSAs is focused on the present, this study offers a historical perspective and will highlight broader outcomes.
(Files from University of Lethbridge)