Challenging Neo-Colonialism and Essentialism: Incorporating Hybridity into New Conceptualizations of Settlement Service Delivery with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Queer Immigrant Young People
By June Ying Yee, BA, BSW, MSW, PhD
Ryerson University, School of Social Work
Zack Marshall, BSc, MSW
Memorial University, Division of Community Health and Humanities and Griffin Centre Mental Health Services
Griffin Centre Mental Health Services
The settlement services sector in Toronto, Canada, has faced difficulties in responding to lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer (LGBTQ) immigrant youth in ways that respect their specific experiences. One way agencies have taken up this challenge in Toronto has been to develop LGBTQ-specific settlement services. Housed within a diverse range of organisations, these services are intended to engage and support LGBTQ immigrant youth. In this article, we report on evaluation research conducted with LGBTQ immigrant young people from Griffin Centre’s reachOUT Newcomer Network where we asked about their experiences accessing settlement services in Toronto. Our findings suggest that LGBTQ immigrant youth are deeply influenced by intersecting identities linked to racialization, sexuality, gender identity, education, employment, and immigration status. Participants expressed overwhelming interest in accessing support, but remain disconnected from settlement services. A reconceptualization of LGBTQ settlement services within a framework of hybridity that challenges essentialism and neo-colonialism would improve service delivery. This shift would allow for more integrated settlement services that acknowledge LGBTQ newcomer youth and their experiences of (un)belonging.
Keywords: Immigrant youth; service access; hybridity; intersectionality; LGBTQ