Whose Public Health? An Intersectional Approach to Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and the Development of Public Health Goals for Canada

Canada has been an international leader in the field of public health. However, despite having produced landmark documents indicating a principal role for social factors in determining health, health policies in Canada have largely been limited to interventions designed to affect change in individual behaviours, rather than structural – or population – level social determinants of health.

In this discussion paper, we review Canada’s contributions to the field of public health, with a particular emphasis on the failure of interventions aimed at individual behaviours or risk variables to adequately address key determinants of health for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, Two-Spirit, intersex, and queer (LGBTTTIQ) people. The ongoing process of defining new public health goals for Canada is used to illustrate how an intersectional approach to public health could more effectively address the social determinants of health for LGBTTTIQ people.