East coast kitchen party - Creating an inclusive community for queer and transgender immigrants through cooking and conversation in Halifax, Canada
More details
Hide details
Nova Scotia Health, Dartmouth, Canada
Publication date: 2023-04-27
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A1307
Background and Objective: East Coast Kitchen Party (ECKP) is a community program connecting Queer and Transgender (Trans) immigrants through food. Immigrants often experience isolation from the dominant culture upon arrival. Queer and Trans immigrants additionally may feel unwelcome in their cultural community and not yet connected to the local Queer and Trans community. Our objective is to develop a sense of community and promote mental wellness among Queer and Trans immigrants. Methods: At the start of each ECKP session, a participant led the group in cooking a traditional or favourite meal. Culturally appropriate ingredients were sourced from local grocery stores, teaching participants where to find familiar items. Participants ranged from recent newcomers to immigrants living in Canada for over 10 years. At the end of each session, we shared a meal and guided participants in conversations around themed topics, such as stigma around mental health. Results: Through facilitated conversations, participants discussed thoughts and views on mental health through the lens of their initial displacement and transition to Canada. Having participants with various immigration statuses provide peer support for navigating both the immigration system and a new city. We found that participants needed a sense of belonging, experienced social isolation, and felt stigma discussing mental wellness. Participants expressed a need for programming targeting Queer and Trans immigrants and a desire for connection with the local Queer and Trans community. Conclusions: Helping immigrants increase their food autonomy and access culturally appropriate foods is vital for mental wellness; there is a barrier to immigrants accessing familiar foods and ingredients. Sharing meals with others promotes mental wellness and community development. The conversations from our “kitchen party” will help to inform decisions around community programming for Queer and Trans immigrants, and provide evidence of the need for better funding and access to mental health care.
Journals System - logo
Scroll to top