Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Program Name/Specialization

Community Psychology


Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Todd Coleman

Advisor Role


Second Advisor

Robb Travers

Advisor Role

Thesis Advisory Committee

Third Advisor

Simon Coulombe

Advisor Role

Thesis Advisory Committee


Historically and concurrently, structural violence has been a significant force influencing the sexual health and broader health of gay, bisexual, transgender and other men who have sex with men (GBTMSM). Yet to date, the majority of projects exploring the health inequities facing GBTMSM have focused on intrapsychic and behavioural factors as most related to poor health outcomes. As well, these studies are sometimes deficits focused, and fail to evaluate how GBTMSM continue to thrive, and maintain positive health. As a result, the ways in which systems and policies underlie and perpetuate health inequities facing GBTMSM have been somewhat obscured. Connectedly, little is known about the relevance of 2SLGBTQIA+ affirming systems and policies for the wellbeing of GBTMSM. As such, this study seeks to expand on the scarce qualitative literature exploring how systems and policies may act as structural barriers and facilitators to wellness for GBTMSM. 30 GBTMSM with diverse ethnoracial identities, gender identities, HIV statuses and ages from across Southwestern Ontario (five per region) were purposively sampled through local AIDS service organizations (ASOs), other agencies and services who serve GBTMSM, and through social media platforms, including Instagram and Facebook. Semi-structured/narrative blended interviews were implemented to characterize how systems and policies serve as barriers and facilitators to wellness. Particular questions tended to favour a structural-level analysis, asking participants to reflect on their experiences with heteronormativity and/or cisnormativity, racism, healthcare access, sexual health education, and community cohesion. An inductive latent thematic approach following Braun & Clark’s Six Phases was employed to develop a coding grid, where a final set of themes were identified. Knowledge produced through this project will be used to identify tangible points for systems change, where greater 2LGBTQ+ affirming policies and services can be introduced.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season