Serious Legal Problems faced by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Other Sexual-Minority People in Western Canada: A Qualitative Study

Appendix C: Interview Guide

A Qualitative Look at Serious Legal Problems: LGBTQ2+ People in Western Canada

Introductions and Rapport Building

  1. What motivated you to come in to do this interview today?
    1. Could you tell me about your interest in this project?
    2. Where did you hear about this project?
  2. Would you mind starting by telling me a bit about yourself?
    1. What is your age?
    2. How do you usually describe your cultural background?
    3. How do you usually describe your sexual identity and gender (e.g., gay, bi, queer, man, gender queer, trans, etc.)?
    4. Is there anything else about yourself that you think might be helpful for me to know before we move on? For example, are you currently working or studying somewhere?

Legal Problems Facing LGBTQ2+ Communities – General

  1. Before I ask you about your personal experiences, are there any legal challenges that your communities (e.g., other LGBTQ2+ people) more broadly are facing?
    1. Generally, what kinds of legal problems or challenges do your communities experience, if any?
  2. Before this interview, you completed a brief online screener that asked you to identify any serious legal problems you faced in the last three years. Could you describe your recent legal problems for me?
    1. For example: what was the nature of the problem? When did it occur? Who was involved?
    2. [if needed] On the screener, you mentioned the following legal problems… Can you tell me a bit more about those?
    3. Are there other legal problems you experienced that we did not ask about or that you did not initially mention? If so, please describe these.
  3. [If experienced more than one legal problem] How were these problems connected, if at all?
    1. Please describe how these legal problems intersected or overlapped.
  4. When you first became aware of these challenges, to what extent did you understand the possible legal implications?
    1. How much did you know about where to get information and advice about resolving it?
    2. Were the resources supportive of you as an LGBTQ2+ person?
  5. Did your sexual orientation and/or gender identity contribute to your experiences? If so, how? If not, why?
    1. How about other aspects of your identity? For example: age, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status
    2. In other words, were your legal problems related to any of the following: sexism, homophobia, transphobia, racism, ageism, etc.? If so, how?

Serious Legal Problems – Discrimination and Harassment

  1. [If participant indicated experiences of harassment] Can you describe the harassment you experienced? Harassment is when someone offends or upsets another person on purpose (i.e., they knew their actions would cause offence or harm).
    1. Where did you experience harassment (e.g., school, in a store, at work, when dealing with police)?
    2. Was the discrimination based on any aspects of your identity? (e.g., race, colour, ethnicity; Indigenous identity; religion; age; sex, gender identity or expression; sexual orientation; marital status; family status; a physical or mental disability; language, etc.)
    3. What was that experience like for you?
  2. [If participant indicated experiences of discrimination] Can you describe the discrimination you experienced? Discrimination means treating someone differently or unfairly because of who they are or how they identify.
    1. In what types of situations have you experienced discrimination (e.g., school, in a store, at work, when dealing with police)?
    2. What aspects of your identity was the discrimination based on? (e.g., race, colour, ethnicity; Indigenous identity; religion; age; sex, gender identity or expression; sexual orientation; marital status; family status; a physical or mental disability; language, etc.)
    3. What was that experience like for you?

Addressing and Resolving Legal Problems

  1. Did you attempt to address the legal problems you faced? Why or why not?
    1. What would a resolution to these problems look like from your perspective? What would justice look like?
  2. [if applicable] Can you describe what steps you took to address your experiences? How did you seek justice?
    1. What approaches did you find helpful in addressing or resolving the problems you faced?
  3. Some legal problems may be resolved by going to the police, while others are settled by lawyers and/or in court. Can you describe in general what your interactions with legal institutions or systems looked like? (e.g., police, courts, legal professionals)
    1. Generally, how do you feel about the police? How do you feel about lawyers and/or courts?
    2. Are you confident that you would be able to get help from the police if you needed it? How about from lawyers? Why or why not?
  4. Did you encounter any barriers to addressing the legal problems you faced or accessing justice? If so, please describe these.
    1. What was the nature of these barriers? (e.g. policies, rules, financial, interpersonal, geographic)
  5. Did you resolve your problem through the formal legal system or a legal professional? Why or why not?
    1. If so, how were you treated by these individuals or institutions?
    2. Who did you get legal advice from?
    3. How much did the legal professional you contacted (e.g. lawyer, paralegal, or law student) help you?
  6. What would have made resolving your legal problems easier? Are there any tools or resources that would have improved your experience?
    1. Thinking about your experiences, what supports (legal or otherwise) would have been helpful?

Impacts of Legal Problems

  1. What is the current status of your legal problem[s]? How important {was/is} it for you to address this problem?
  2. How have your experiences of legal challenges impacted you? (prompts: physical or mental health, healthcare use, social, family, or personal problems)
    1. Have there been financial or economic impacts? Please describe. (prompts: fees, borrow money, job, housing, EI/benefits)
    2. How did your experiences make you feel?


  1. As you will remember, we wanted to interview you to generate evidence on the serious legal problems faced by LGBTQ2+ people in Canada to inform the work of the Department of Justice and make Canada’s justice system more fair and accessible. In thinking about this, is there anything else you would want the Department of Justice or other decision makers (e.g., lawyers, community organizations) to know?
    1. Was there anything that we didn’t ask you that you thought we would? Do you have any other comments, questions or feedback?