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      “I feel like I am surviving the health care system”: understanding LGBTQ health in Nova Scotia, Canada


      BMC Public Health

      BioMed Central

      LGBTQ, Health, Canada, Health promotion, Health research, Health measurement

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          Currently, there is a dearth of baseline data on the health of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) populations in the province of Nova Scotia, Canada. Historically, LGBTQ health research has tended to focus on individual-level health risks associated with poor health outcomes among these populations, which has served to obscure the ways in which they maintain their own health and wellness across the life course. As such, there is an urgent need to shift the focus of LGBTQ health research towards strengths-based perspectives that explore the complex and resilient ways in which LGBTQ populations promote their health.


          This paper discusses the findings of our recent scoping review as well as the qualitative data to emerge from community consultations aimed at developing strengths-based approaches to understanding and advancing LGBTQ pathways to health across Nova Scotia.


          Our scoping review findings demonstrated the lack of strengths-based research on LGBTQ health in Nova Scotia. Specifically, the studies examined in our scoping review identified a number of health-promoting factors and a wide variety of measurement tools, some of which may prove useful for future strengths-based health research with LGBTQ populations. In addition, our community consultations revealed that many participants had negative experiences with health care systems and services in Nova Scotia. However, participants also shared a number of factors that contribute to LGBTQ health and suggestions for how LGBTQ pathways to health in Nova Scotia can be improved.


          There is an urgent need to conduct research on the health needs, lived experiences, and outcomes of LGBTQ populations in Nova Scotia to address gaps in our knowledge of their unique health needs. In moving forward, it is important that future health research take an intersectional, strengths-based perspective in an effort to highlight the factors that promote LGBTQ health and wellness across the life course, while taking into account the social determinants of health.

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          Most cited references 55

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          "I don't think this is theoretical; this is our lives": how erasure impacts health care for transgender people.

          For people who are transgender, transsexual, or transitioned (trans), access to primary, emergency, and transition-related health care is often problematic. Results from Phase I of the Trans PULSE Project, a community-based research project in Ontario, Canada, are presented. Based on qualitative data from focus groups with 85 trans community members, a theoretical framework describing how erasure functions to impact experiences interacting with the health care system was developed. Two key sites of erasure were identified: informational erasure and institutional erasure. How these processes work in a mutually reinforcing manner to erase trans individuals and communities and produce a system in which a trans patient or client is seen as an anomaly is shown. Thus, the impetus often falls on trans individuals to attempt to remedy systematic deficiencies. The concept of cisnormativity is introduced to aid in explaining the pervasiveness of trans erasure. Strategies for change are identified.
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            Experiences of transgender-related discrimination and implications for health: results from the Virginia Transgender Health Initiative Study.

            We examined relationships between social determinants of health and experiences of transgender-related discrimination reported by transgender people in Virginia. In 2005 through 2006, 387 self-identified transgender people completed a statewide health needs assessment; 350 who completed eligibility questions were included in this examination of factors associated with experiences of discrimination in health care, employment, or housing. We fit multivariate logistic regression models using generalized estimating equations to adjust for survey modality (online vs paper). Of participants, 41% (n = 143) reported experiences of transgender-related discrimination. Factors associated with transgender-related discrimination were geographic context, gender (female-to male spectrum vs male-to-female spectrum), low socioeconomic status, being a racial/ethnic minority, not having health insurance, gender transition indicators (younger age at first transgender awareness), health care needed but unable to be obtained (hormone therapy and mental health services), history of violence (sexual and physical), substance use health behaviors (tobacco and alcohol), and interpersonal factors (family support and community connectedness). Findings suggest that transgender Virginians experience widespread discrimination in health care, employment, and housing. Multilevel interventions are needed for transgender populations, including legal protections and training for health care providers.
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              Collecting behavioural data using the world wide web: considerations for researchers.

              To identify and describe advantages, challenges, and ethical considerations of web based behavioural data collection. This discussion is based on the authors' experiences in survey development and study design, respondent recruitment, and internet research, and on the experiences of others as found in the literature. The advantages of using the world wide web to collect behavioural data include rapid access to numerous potential respondents and previously hidden populations, respondent openness and full participation, opportunities for student research, and reduced research costs. Challenges identified include issues related to sampling and sample representativeness, competition for the attention of respondents, and potential limitations resulting from the much cited "digital divide", literacy, and disability. Ethical considerations include anonymity and privacy, providing and substantiating informed consent, and potential risks of malfeasance. Computer mediated communications, including electronic mail, the world wide web, and interactive programs will play an ever increasing part in the future of behavioural science research. Justifiable concerns regarding the use of the world wide web in research exist, but as access to, and use of, the internet becomes more widely and representatively distributed globally, the world wide web will become more applicable. In fact, the world wide web may be the only research tool able to reach some previously hidden population subgroups. Furthermore, many of the criticisms of online data collection are common to other survey research methodologies.

                Author and article information

                1-902-494-1155 , jacqueline.gahagan@dal.ca
                BMC Public Health
                BMC Public Health
                BMC Public Health
                BioMed Central (London )
                22 September 2016
                22 September 2016
                : 16
                Gender and Health Promotion Studies Unit, School of Health and Human Performance, Dalhousie University, Stairs House, 6230 South Street, P.O. Box 15000, Halifax, NS B3H 4R2 Canada
                © The Author(s). 2016

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

                Funded by: FundRef http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/100007831, Capital Health (CA);
                Research Article
                Custom metadata
                © The Author(s) 2016

                Public health

                lgbtq, health, canada, health promotion, health research, health measurement


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