Sexual and Gender Diversity


Co-lead by Ruth Neustifter and Thomas Sasso, the Sexual and Gender Diversity cluster researches the themes of sexuality, gender, sex and relationships. It considers the intersection of these themes in their diverse forms and how they relate to families, work and wellbeing. Ruth co-chairs the annual Guelph Sexuality Conference, Canada’s leading annual training and education forum for sexual health professionals. In addition to this, cluster co-lead Thomas Sasso is the co-founder of Guelph’s Sexual and Gender Diversity Research Lab, a supportive learning environment for conducting sexual and gender diversity research. The Sexual and Gender Diversity Cluster prioritizes the intersectional diversity of sexual and gender identities, and seeks to improve the well-being of individuals through high-quality and value-driven research, teaching, mentorship, and community engagement.

Current and Future Projects:

  • Sexual and Gender Diversity Lab

This lab aims to provide a supportive learning environment for students who are interested in conducting sexual and gender diversity research. Open to graduate and undergraduate students with all levels of experience, the lab’s peer-mentoring style transfers knowledge and skills in a collaborative, rather than top-down, manner. The Sexual and Gender Diversity Research Lab welcomes researchers from all disciplines within the social sciences, which is intended to provide an interdisciplinary set of frameworks and lenses through which to see our research. Researchers in this lab may be focusing on specific identities encompassed by the term sexual and gender diversity, including any or all members of the LGBTQ acronym, or on topics that relate to the wellbeing of sexual and gender diverse individuals, such as research on allies or sexual prejudice.

  • Positive Experiences of LGBTQ+ Individuals in the Workplace

This study examines the ways in which LGBTQ+ individuals create positive associations and attributions of their sexual and gender identities in workplace contexts, challenging the assumption that LGBTQ+ employees only experience negative workplace outcomes. To learn more, contact Thomas Sasso. Researchers: Thomas Sasso and Nicholas Salter, Ramapo College of New Jersey. 

  • Understanding the Experiences of LGBTQ+ Canadian Workers

This doctoral research examines the contemporary experiences of LGBTQ+ individuals across employment sectors, geographic regions, and intersecting marginalized identities to foster a more complex understanding of how individuals experience their LGBTQ+ identities in Canadian workplace contexts. Researcher: Thomas Sasso.

  • Relationship Crafting

Grace Ewles and Rebecca Lee, PhD students in the Department of Psychology, are conducting qualitative interviews with working women to examine how romantic relationships are built to support work and family goals. This research will help establish a clearer picture of the various factors that come into play when deciding whether or not to form and maintain relationships at various stages of one’s career. Learn more about the research project.

  • Guelph Sexuality Conference

The Conference celebrated their 40th anniversary in 2018 and is recognized as Canada's leading, annual training and education forum for sexual health professionals. The 2020 Sexuality Conference: "Come Together: Communities for Sexual Health" will take place June 18-19, 2020 at the University of Guelph.

Cluster Leaders:

Ruth Neustifter

Thomas Sasso


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