Researching for LGBTQ Health

Two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex and asexual (2SLGBTQIA+) Ontarians' experiences with social assistance: Conducting preliminary research to nurture partnerships in the area of 2SLGBTQIA+ poverty and health

Research shows that two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex, and asexual (2SLGBTQIA+) people experience greater economic inequities than their heterosexual and cisgender (non-trans) peers. Although poverty is widely understood to be a critically important determinant of health, few studies have investigated the relationships between poverty and health in 2SLGBTQIA+ populations, or the possible social and structural relationships that sustain these inequities. Within this research project we will explore the factors that act as barriers and facilitators in accessing social assistance for 2SLGBTQIA+ community members. Our project will address this research gap while also working towards building a multidisciplinary network of researchers and advocates concerned about 2SLGBTQIA+ poverty.

Research has indicated that experiences with social assistance are a possible link between poverty and health in marginalized populations, finding that people receiving social assistance report higher levels of stress and more poor health outcomes than people of similar incomes who are not receiving social assistance. Social assistance recipients who are marginalized on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender, race, disability, and other differences, may experience stigma and discrimination and, by extension, stress and poor health outcomes, as a result of their encounters with social assistance. However, to date, no studies of 2SLGBTQIA+ peoples’ experiences with social assistance have been conducted. As a result of this research gap, the issues of 2SLGBTQIA+ people in poverty, and the concerns of 2SLGBTQIA+ social assistance recipients in particular, are often not considered in policy development and practice.

To address this gap, this project will examine the experience of 2SLGBTQIA+ people who access social assistance across the life course in the Toronto area, with hopes of informing future national research on this topic. At the same time, we will work to strengthen an emerging partnership among stakeholders currently addressing 2SLGBTQIA+ poverty in Ontario and across Canada, and build new connections within this area.

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  • Lori Ross, PhD [She/Her]
    Principal Investigator
    Associate Professor
    Social & Behavioural Health Sciences Division, Dalla Lana School of Public Health
  • Jenna Reid, PhD [She/Her]
    Research Coordinator
    Postdoctoral Fellow
    Dalla Lana School of Public Health
  • Faelix Kayn [They/Them]
    Research Assistant
    Pride & Poverty Project - Dalla Lana School of Public Health
    University of Toronto
  • Dejano Duncan [He/Him]
    Research Assistant
    Pride & Poverty Project - Dalla Lana School of Public Health
    University of Toronto


  • Andrea Daley, University of Waterloo
  • Hannah Kia, University of British Columbia
  • David Kinitz, University of Toronto
  • Nick Mulé, York University
  • Margaret Robinson, Dalhousie University
  • Randi Sears, Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
  • Dwayne Shaw, Queer Ontario
  • Mostafa Shokoohi, University of Toronto
  • Tom Warner, Senior Pride Network


University of Toronto Connaught Fund - Community Partnership Research Program