2019 Talent Award Winner

Jake Pyne

Banting Postdoctoral Fellow
College of Social and Applied Human Sciences
University of Guelph

“It’s such an honour to have this work recognized, and I’m excited about all of the possibilities this will create for connecting with more communities and having this dialogue on a larger scale. I couldn’t be prouder to be part of this growing movement to recognize the knowledge that ‘outsider’ groups bring to the academy.”

University of Guelph Banting Postdoctoral Fellow Jake Pyne is both an advocate and researcher in the transgender community. His work is leading to real-world knowledge and improvements, including changes to treating transgender children, and is on track to do far more.

Working with Re.Vision: The Centre for Art and Social Justice, Pyne is currently studying people who are both autistic and transgender, to understand the relationship between the two, and to understand the needs of those who are both. His research work focuses on how to ensure they are seen fully as people, and secure them a voice in their own care and support. As part of this, he has enlisted autistic transgender people as co-researchers, rather than solely as study subjects.

“I think this is significant at a time when discriminatory rhetoric is on the rise, and when both trans and autistic identities (the focus of my research) are sometimes the subjects of national conversation in this country, yet not necessarily in a helpful way.”

Pyne’s doctoral research looked at not only how, but also for whom, puberty blockers and early gender transition options have opened previously unimaginable possible futures for trans youth.

His research has already led to significant changes affecting transgender Canadians, including in policy, practice and law. His work has so far helped improve access for the trans community to shelters and emergency services, health care, and family law justice, as well as projects to build support for gender-independent kids and trans youth.

Working where help is most needed

Pyne did his PhD in social work and gender studies at McMaster University, where he was both a Trudeau Scholar and Vanier Scholar.

He has been called on to provide expert testimony, has directly introduced provincial legislation, has presented to numerous government and non-governmental organizations, and empowered trans youth and advocates to directly improve trans services and lives in areas from health to homelessness.

Pyne will next be working on both a number of solo writing projects and collaborative research projects.

“I’m thinking about the most pressing issues facing my own community as well as others, and where help might be most needed. But I’m also trying to think about what types of research makes me feel most connected and most alive. I’m hoping to combine these criteria in order to maximize the impact.”

About the award

The annual Impact Awards recognize the highest achievements in SSHRC-funded research, knowledge mobilization and scholarship, as well as the highest achievements resulting from a SSHRC fellowship awarded.

The Talent Award recognizes outstanding research achievement and career potential from a SSHRC doctoral or postdoctoral fellowship or scholarship holder.

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