“We can’t find a safe or secure environment to be ourselves”: Takatāpui/LGBTIQ+ homelessness in Aotearoa New Zealand
Internationally, people who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer, and other minority gender and sexual orientation identities (LGBTIQ+) experience disproportionately high levels of homelessness. Despite this, no research has been undertaken on Takatāpui/LGBTIQ+ homelessness in Aotearoa New Zealand. This thesis addresses this knowledge gap by utilising qualitative and quantitative methods, however, it is not an explicitly mixed methods PhD. The qualitative and quantitative strands remain separate; however, they can be used to create a more comprehensive understanding of LGBTIQ+ homelessness than if only one type of research method was used. For the qualitative strand, constructivist grounded theory was used to analyse eight semi-structured interviews; proposing that “Experiences of Takatāpui/LGBTIQ+ homelessness are shaped by: multiple failures of support and intervention points; the necessity of survival restricting choice and agency; and the long-term effect of concealing identities and coping with shame, stigma, and trauma. Understanding experiences of Takatāpui/LGBTIQ+ homelessness demands a focus on and across systems and institutions.” Learnings from an ultimately unsuccessful attempt at participatory video with the interview participants also contribute to the grounded theory. The quantitative strand uses the New Zealand Integrated Data Infrastructure to analyse the government service usage of a cohort of formerly homeless women. It highlights the ways in which government support systems fail vulnerable people. Despite high rates of interactions with government services, these women still became homeless and needed Housing First support. These findings demonstrate how a similarly under-researched group of women experience poverty and homelessness, and provides an intersectional understanding of how LGBTIQ+ women can potentially experience homelessness. Experiences of Takatāpui/LGBTIQ+ homelessness are diverse and multi-faceted. The phenomenon is produced by multiple systems of oppression and failures of government support systems. These experiences were characterised by; poverty, shame, stigma, instability, and poor mental wellbeing. There is a need for targeted support for Takatāpui/LGBTIQ+ homelessness in Aotearoa New Zealand. Furthermore, this thesis highlights the importance of focusing on addressing the structural, systemic, causes of Takatāpui/LGBTIQ+ homelessness—over problematising the individual and their actions—to understand and address the phenomenon.
Advisor: Cook, Hera; Pierse, Nevil; Chisholm, Elinor
Degree Name: Doctor of Philosophy
Degree Discipline: Public Health, UOW
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: New Zealand; Homelessness; Housing; LGBT; Public Health; LGBTIQ; Takatāpui; Lesbian; Gay; Bisexual; Transgender; Intersex; Queer; Homeless
Research Type: Thesis