Sex and Gender

Whitehead-link-alternative-sexuality-symbol - AnonMoos, 2009

Whitehead-link-alternative-sexuality-symbol - AnonMoos, 2009


Project Team Leader: Dr. Tara Lyons, Department of Criminology, KPU,

Co-PA Lyons’ research specializes in the intersections of sex work, drug use, gender, sexuality, health, and violence. During her CIHR postdoctoral fellowship in the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Medicine she undertook one of the only known Canadian research studies examining the lived experiences of gender and sexual minorities engaged in drug use and sex work. Her work investigates how criminalization shapes sex worker’s health, working environment, and experiences of violence. For example, in one study she is conducting an ethnography of an outdoor trans sex work environment to examine how gentrification and criminalization impacts working conditions. She continues to build upon this work, including expanding to Surrey, BC and working collaboratively with the KPU Social Justice Centre.


Her research is rooted in feminist, social justice, and community-based research approaches. Participants have been, and continue to be, included in this research using community-based methods. For example, trans sex workers are engaged in data collection, data analysis, and co-authorship of research papers, which has resulted in the co-creation knowledge.


For over a decade she has been actively involved in community engagement and research that impacts drug and sex work policy. Dr. Lyons is the co-founder and former executive director of the Canadian Students for Sensible Drug policy (CSSDP) where she led the youth grassroots organization in shaping national drug policy. She engaged in multi-level policy analysis, organized public education campaigns, and worked collaboratively with community members on campaigns and research. Her PhD research was used as evidence in briefs and presentations to Senate and Parliamentary Committees where she was called as an expert witness.


interesting links:

Bedford ruling

Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act

For more information please contact:

Tara Lyons, PhD
Faculty Member, Department of Criminology
Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Research Scientist
Gender and Sexual Health Initiative
British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS