faculty photo

Fernando Salinas-Quiroz

I approach my research through a lens of reflexivity, with an understanding that my own experiences and positions in the world have shaped the focus of my work. It is perhaps unsurprising, then, that as the effeminate child of a single mother, raised by a network of powerful women, with aspirations to raise children and in daycare throughout childhood, I was driven to study clinical and developmental psychology, as well as to deepen my studies of gender. I've always been fascinated by children and the relationships they co-construct with adults. For eight years I mostly focused on studying those raised outside of the context of a "traditional" family using (developmental) psychology lenses. My previous research projects demystified and reimagined Attachment Theory. We assessed the quality of Mexican public daycare settings -becoming the first study in Latin America that used the q-sort methodology to describe professional secondary caregiver-child interactions-; described parental sensitivity and attachment security in lesbian and gay parented families -an avant-garde project in testing the universality and the sensitivity hypothesis with other than heterosexual parents-, and centered the experiences of Black and Brown scholars to push the attachment field toward anti-racism. I lead a research team that analyzed the pedagogical function of legal protections of LGB individuals for promoting social changes, specifically the role of contact and comfort in shaping attitudes toward same-sex parenting in 15 countries. I also lead another group that examined parenting aspiration among folks with diverse sexual orientations and gender identities, and its association with internalized homo/transnegativity and community connectedness to the LGBTQ community -the first world-wide study including trans and plurisexual participants-. In Fall 2021, I joined the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development at Tufts University as an Assistant Professor. I dedicated my first months in the U.S. to wrap up ongoing projects in Latin America. In 2022, Dr. Ellen Pinderhughes asked me to conduct further analysis on their pioneering "Gay Fathers" dataset and lead an article. I decided to focus on Latinx gay fathers' pathways to parenthood, social stigma, helpfulness of social relationships and comfort being out (manuscript in progress). Now I had the resources to book an eye examination and renew my prescription. It turns out that my near vision ([developmental] psychology) was okay but I needed to correct my farsightedness. Since my times in my beloved Mexico City, I've been thinking that psychology is often a frustratingly narrow discipline which tends to privatize, individualize, and depoliticize the phenomena it studies (Kitzinger, 1995). Don't get me wrong, is not that we don't have top Optometrists in the Majority World, but now I had the privilege to be covered by an elite health insurance that allows me to choose a provider. Via by my Faculty Research Funds, and the Summer Scholars Program 2022, Office of the Provost, I led the project "How Do Children Identifying Beyond the Gender Binary and Their Parents Understand Gender?" To the best of my knowledge, no research team had directly asked 5-8 y/o non-binary (enby) children about what being enby means to them (i.e., a child-centered approach which prioritizes their experiences over adult–centric narratives). When recruiting for the aforementioned project, I learned about Trans formative Schools (TfS) and my life transformed. TfS is a new, progressive education initiative centering transness and social justice. We are a community of students, educators, and families whose collective mission is to support trans futures. To trans is a way of seeing and knowing; an epistemological position to produce dissident forms of knowledge (i.e., brand new prescription lenses). Our mission of transing education embodies the work of liberation through rigorous academics, joyful connections, identity exploration, and progressive practice. TfS seeks to move toward societal systemic change, equipping our students with the scaffolding to challenge racist, ableist, transphobic, transmisogynistic, and other white supremacist systems of oppression. TfS co-founder Alaina Daniels and I co-constructed a longitudinal research proposal to facilitate trans-led ways of building, identifying, and testing evidence in order to trans education by centering and uplifting trans people in the design, execution, and application of research as the practice of education is fundamentally a relational one. We will apply a Youth Participatory Action Research-mixed-methods approach to explore how a middle school, designed toward subverting the cis-supremacist systems that govern educational practice, impacts the belongingness, health, wellness, and learning outcomes of trans students and communities. Through this condensed overview of my past, present, and future as a researcher I intend to illustrate not only how my vision has changed and will keep changing, but my commitment to investigate how historical and contemporary structural inequalities disproportionately shape outcomes for marginalized folks, families, communities, and institutions that serve them.