Resilience in sexual and gender minority forced migrants: A qualitative exploration

Author(s): Edward J. ALESSI


A host of studies have explored the resettlement experiences of refugees who have fled persecution, but the study of those who have done so on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is just beginning. The purpose of this study was to understand the factors contributing to resilience in sexual and gender minority forced migrants resettled in the United States and Canada. Thematic analysis was used to analyze interviews with 26 individuals who obtained refugee/asylee status on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Participants originated from countries in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. Participants reported experiencing depression, anxiety, traumatic stress as well as resettlement challenges (e.g., securing employment and housing, navigating the asylum process). Despite these struggles, analysis revealed a number of factors of contributing to their resilience: staying hopeful and positive; utilizing community and legal services; receiving support from significant others and friends; doing whatever it takes; and giving back. For African and Caribbean participants, in particular, “spiritual upkeep” also helped to bolster their resilience. Findings indicated that these factors helped participants to manage the effects of severe trauma and adapt to the host country. Implications for counseling with this population are discussed.

Tags: LGBT, Resilience, PTSD, Anxiety, Depression, Social support, Hope, Refugees, Asylum seekers, Canada, USA

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s