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Exploring the experiences of LGBTQ2S+ defence members who have served in the Canadian Armed Forces

Researcher bios and how their research backgrounds relate to this study

Dr. Margaret McKinnon is Full Professor and Associate Chair, Research in Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University, where she holds the Homewood Chair in Mental Health and Trauma. A licensed clinical psychologist and clinical neuropsychologist, Dr. McKinnon has a special interest in military, Veteran, and public safety populations (including healthcare workers), and has worked with these groups clinically and in her research program. She has published or in press nearly 150 scientific works. Dr. McKinnon is a frequent commentator in the media on matters related to PTSD, moral injury, and the impact of trauma on special populations. Drs. McKinnon and Tam-Seto are members of the Steering Committee of the Canadian Military Sexual Trauma Community of Practice and co-Directors of the Pan-Canadian Military Sexual Trauma Collaborative Network.

Purpose of this research project

The proposed project is an exploratory study consisting of one 60-minute interview. It is aimed at expanding what is known about the experiences of individuals identifying from the LGBTQ2S+ community who have served in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). Currently, there is little known about this community’s experience in the Canadian context warranting an exploratory approach. By exploring the experiences of the LGBTQ2S+ community in the CAF, the proposed project will contribute to the emerging understanding of how the CAF can ensure that practices and policies are in place to respond to the unique opportunities and challenges experienced by this community. Addressing these opportunities and challenges will be necessary to increase workforce diversity in the CAF, but also to maintain these recruitment numbers, ensure the advancement of individuals identifying with the LGBTQ2S+ community throughout the ranks, and avoid factors associated with early release. Individuals’ experience of health care during their service in the CAF (for example, LGBTQ2S+ cultural competency) is an area of particular interest.

How this research will help LGBT2SQ people and communities

Through this study, we hope to learn more about the unique experience, opportunities, and challenges of LGBTQ2S+ community members who have served in the CAF. We hope to identify unique factors related to recruitment, retention, and release (e.g., mentorship; sense of community; inappropriate sexual behaviour; moral injury related to gender roles; designation to traditional operational trades). This will help to mobilize Canadian scholars, clinicians, and policy makers around these issues, resulting in an improved experience for LGBTQ2S+ CAF members/Veterans in the future.


Canadian Regular Forces Veterans who identify as members of the LGBTQ2S+ community, and/or a sexual and/or gender minority. Participants must be between the ages of 18 and 70 and must be able to communicate effectively in English.


Interview participants will receive a $25.00 gift card for their contribution.

Mitigation measures

Our research team has developed a mental health resources document that will be reviewed with participants at the time of the interview. Interviewers have experience and have been trained for mental health/trauma-informed qualitative interviews.

Promoting the Study

This study is being promoted via word of mouth, social media, advertising with Canadian groups who serve Veteran populations, and through email mailing lists/networks related to our collaborators.

RainbowHealthOntario @RainbowHealthOn Nov 24

Thank you to all who attended #RHOInConvo! We were glad to see so many people who care about 2SLGBTQ health care. T……