why you should not dismiss research unless you rly truly mean it
Internet, I am a queer researcher of queer health and I have something to say.
A few weeks back, a study went viral about the relationship between marriage equality policy and queer teen suicide rates, and a lot of people reacted thusly: “queer mental health is better when we’re not discriminated against! BREAKING: SKY IS BLUE, WATER IS WET”
This happens a lot. People see research about a thing ~Everyone Already Knows~ and they mock it. Now I want to make two things really clear:
1. Everyone does not already know.
2. This shit can lose these projects their funding.
Did you know that media coverage is a crucial factor in funding allocation? When we submit our application for grant renewal, we have to provide a list of news articles about our research so they can decide whether the public cares enough about us to let us keep doing our work. And most research doesn’t get all that much coverage, so individual reactions can really matter. If the primary reaction to our publications is eyerolling, we legitimately might not be able to continue.
I’ve seen some frustration from people who believe this research funding would be better put to use “actually helping” the affected populations instead of–I don’t know, pinning them under microscopes or whatever it is they think we do. But funding for policy initiatives is driven by research. I know you wish politicians would listen to individual voices telling them where the problems are, but that’s honestly not a smart way to direct limited resources. We need solid evidence. And a lot of the areas that need the most attention aren’t obvious–who knew bisexual people are at a much higher risk for physical and mental health disparities than gay and lesbian people? Who would have guessed that transgender folks are more likely than any other group (including straight people) to be military veterans, but overwhelmingly don’t claim their benefits? I’m sure some people noticed these patterns, but they definitely weren’t common knowledge within the queer communities I’ve grown up around, and those findings are leading to direct action as we speak.
I get that it can be frustrating to feel like your identity is being reduced to facts and figures for the benefit of red tape. But trust me, the researchers aren’t your enemy here. Most of us are queer too. All of us are just as frustrated by this crap as you are. We are doing our best, and I swear to you this work really is making a difference. Please don’t sabotage it.