Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Program Name/Specialization

Community Psychology


Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Dr. Robb Travers

Advisor Role



Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer (LGBTQ+) individuals report substantial rates of violence, discrimination, and negative life events due to homophobia and transphobia and these experiences impact access to health care services and programs (Bauer et al, 2009; Grant, Mottet, Tanis, Harrison, & Keisling, 2010) These experiences result in LGBTQ+ communities needing services, programs, and social supports to provide safer spaces. Although it is well recognized that health care services are not a major determinant of health outcomes and yet use more than 60% of health spending (Canadian Institute for Health Information, 2014; Muzyka, Hodgson, & Prada, 2012). As such, making better use of health care spending to ensure existing health care services are inclusive of and are meeting the needs of LGBTQ+ populations is important. These challenges are further exacerbated among LGBTQ+ populations in non-urban settings. In the Canadian context with a population of 35 million, urban centres are defined as an area with a population over 1000, and a population density greater than 400 people per square kilometre, with this definition urban centres account for 81% of the population (statcan, 2011).

The purpose of the current study was to undertake a needs assessment in Oxford County, ON, Canada in order to document: 1) life experiences of local LGBTQ+ individuals, 2) services that are currently being used, and 3) services or programs needed by LGBTQ+ communities. One hundred and twelve LGBTQ+ people completed an online survey. Despite encountering high rates of silent, verbal, and sexual harassment, LGBTQ+ people in Oxford County did not report incidents to police. A majority of participants had a primary health care provider, and most felt comfortable sharing their sexual orientation or gender identity with that provider. However, transphobic and heteronormative attitudes were encountered among health care providers, hospitals, and mental health care services providers. Implications and recommendations focus on training and policy changes for health care providers and police services in order to provide safer services for LGBTQ+ individuals in small and non-metropolitan settings.

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