Promoting the wellbeing of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender forced migrants in Canada: providers’ perspectives

Author(s): Sarilee KAHN ; Edward ALESSI ; Leah WOOLNER ; Hanna KIM ; Christina OLIVIERI


Researchers are beginning to document the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) forced migrants in settlement. However, studies exploring the perceptions of service providers working with this vulnerable population are limited. These may shed light on the challenges of meeting the needs of LGBT forced migrants, especially mental health issues and problems. This qualitative study elicited the views of 22 Canadian service providers, including advocates, lawyers and mental health practitioners, who serve LGBT forced migrants. Grounded theory analysis revealed the following four themes: facilitating safety, buffering rejection; tracking avoidance patterns; interpreting mental health; and negotiating identity paradigms. Participants’ accounts suggest that LGBT forced migrants may be best served by providers who understand the exigencies of establishing trust and safety for their clients; recognise their clients’ nuanced social support needs; facilitate the refugee claims process; grasp the complexity of their clients’ mental health challenges; and interrogate their own cultural biases regarding sexual orientations and gender identities.

Tags: Canada, Forced migration, LGBT, Social support, Well-being

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