Methods:This qualitative research study included key 16 informant interviews with service providers, and four focus groups (n= 16) and four in-depth interviews with LGBTQ+ newcomer women. The study was inclusive of gender non-confirming and non-binary people. The data were transcribed verbatim and then coded and analyzed guided by a ground theory framework (Charmaz, 2015) using NVIVO software.
Findings:LGBTQ+ newcomer women participants overwhelmingly indicated that, despite their high expectations, they started experiencing different barriers and challenges shortly after their arrival, which worsened as they stayed longer in Canada. The three most pressing barriers were: the lack of access to safe and affordable housing; employment/economic insecurity; and social isolation. The study results also indicated that these key systematic barriers resulted in damaging impacts on their health and wellbeing of LGBTQ+ newcomer women and their familiesincluding depression; trauma and PTSD; lack of self-worth and feeling invisible; acute stress and feeling overwhelmed (due to having to deal with poverty, discrimination and exclusion on a daily basis); and gender dysphoria and confusion (due to constant mis-gendering).
Conclusion and Implications:The study results highlight that the framework/model in which these programs/ services are delivered also needs to change in order to promote wellbeing of LGBTQ+ newcomer women. For example, a peer support group for LGBTQ+ newcomer women can benefit them in reducing social isolation, increasing a sense of self-worth, increasing access to programs and resources, and providing a platform for collective actions for change. The findings underscore the need to ensure the policies, organizational models/culture, and programs/services are consistently and constantly grounded on principles of equity.