SSHRC Insight Grant Research

Prevalence, Characteristics and Impacts of Macro- and Micro-aggressions Toward LGBTT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Two-Spirit) Persons in Canada

This research is funded by an Insight Grant awarded to the Principal Investigator, Dr. Melanie A. Morrison, and Co-Investigator, Dr. Todd G. Morrison, from the Social Sciences Research and Humanities Council of Canada. 


Sexual and gender minority persons constitute some of the most minoritized and marginalized persons internationally; indeed, reports from lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and two-spirit (LGBTT) persons indicate that anti-LGBTT stereotyping, prejudice, violence, and discrimination are widespread. Despite consistent messages about the negative psychological and physical health impacts for persons victimized for their sexual orientation and/or gender identity, broad-based accounting of the stigma-related experiences of LGBTT persons in Canada are inexplicably rare. In fact, when evidence that there is a need to address homonegativity, binegativity, and transnegativity is sorely needed, Canadian researchers and advocates have often had to present American statistics and, consequently, been met with the unsubstantiated assertion that "the situation is not as bad in Canada" or the question: "where are the Canadian data?" (Taylor & Peter, 2012, p. 126). Omitting or underestimating the scope, depth, and impacts of stigma experienced by Canadian LGBTT persons results in ongoing systematic biases against them, and may have severe implications for the quality and competence of policies formulated to protect and support these members of Canadian society. 

To contribute meaningfully to this pressing social issue, our research aims to give voice to LGBTT persons within Canada by documenting their experiences of enacted stigma in two forms: macro-aggressions (i.e., overt, intentional discrimination and violence reflected in behaviours such as hate crimes, social ostracism, and use of anti-LGBTT epithets) and micro-aggressions (i.e., the constant and continuing everyday reality and experience of slights, insults, invalidations, and indignities due to one's status as a sexual and/or gender-identity minority person). Since the prevalence of micro-aggressions and their psychological and physical impact on LGBTT persons have yet to be examined in Canada, our proposed research contributes significantly to the advancement of Canadian social science.

Highlights of Other Projects

1. A National Snapshot of Female Leaders and their Academic Backgrounds in Canadian Post-Secondary Institutions

The purpose of this research is to examine the prevalence and academic disciplines of women and men in the senior leadership positions (e.g., chancellor, president, deans, etc.) at the Canadian post-secondary institutions.

2. Humanizing Lesbian Characters on Television: Exploring their Characterization and Interpersonal Relationships.

The study examines representations of demographic profiles and interpersonal relationships of lesbian characters in contemporary television shows during the years 2008 to 2018. The research questions being explored were the following: What is the relationship quality of lesbian characters with their family, close friends, and romantic partners? Are parents, children, and friends of lesbian characters supportive of their sexual orientation? How are lesbian women characterized in contemporary television shows?

3. “Newsworthy Enough?”: Media Framing of Canadian LGBTQ Persons’ Sexual Violence Experiences 

The study investigates media frames in relation to the sexual violence experiences of LGBTQ persons in Canada, as members of these marginalized groups currently experience disproportionately high rates of sexual violence, as compared to straight cisgender persons. Specifically, the purposes of this study are to: a) analyze how Canadian news media frame LGBTQ persons’ sexual violence experiences; b) determine if LGBTQ victims are considered to be “newsworthy” (i.e., what may be perceived as a story worth telling); and c) establish whether news media dehumanize LGBTQ victims. 

4. On the 50th Anniversary of “Decriminalization”: A Brief History of Sexual Minority Persons’ Activism in Canada from 1969 to the Present Day

The review paper examines lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) activism, commencing with the “decriminalization” of homosexuality in May 1969, and the efforts of sexual minorities to achieve personhood within a Canadian context that, historically, has been characterized by adherence to heterosexual orthodoxy. Adopting an interdisciplinary perspective, four temporal sequences were focused on, which we have labelled: 1) ‘Activism and Uprising: 1969-1982’; 2) ‘Institutional and Legal Changes: 1983-1995’; 3) ‘Academic Strides: 1996-2004’; and 4) ‘Moving Forward: 2005-Present Day.’

5. Intersectional Microaggressions and Social Support for LGBTQ Persons of Colour: A Systematic Review of the Canadian-based Empirical Literature 

The study systematically reviews empirical research that focuses on the experiences of intersectional microaggressions within family and community contexts for LGBTQ persons of colour residing in Canada. The study also articulates the importance of using intersectionality as a theoretical framework to examine the lived experiences of LGBTQ persons of colour.

Student Theses / Dissertations

Graduate Students 

  • Kiss, M. Effects of Olfactory Disgust on Behaviours and Attitudes towards Gay Men 
  • Nielsen, E-J. ‘My Three Minutes’: The Lifeworld of Queer Women and Non-Binary Canadian Spoken Word Poets 
  • Parker, K. Developmental Pathways that Foster Canadian Men’s Support for Feminism and Allyhood