Oral Presentation The 26th International Nursing Philosophy Conference 2023

Using the concept of epistemic injustice as a philosophical lens to uncover discrimination experiences of LGBTQIA+ migrants with nurses (#75)

Roya Haghiri-Vijeh 1
  1. School of Nursing, York University, Toronto, ON, Canada

Both stigma and discrimination, defined as a lack of knowledge of and a sense of discomfort in providing care to LGBTQIA+ migrants, was found to manifest in a sample of LGBTQIA+ migrants who received nursing care in a recent study. The study concluded that nurses continue to have a limited understanding of the experiences of LGBTQIA+ migrants in the Canadian context, and that LGBTQIA+ migrants continue to have troubling "care" experiences with nurses. Miranda Fricker has developed the concept of epistemic injustice in her work by drawing on feminist philosophy and social epistemology. Epistemic injustice refers to unfair treatment of a person by judging them as a “not knower” in a communicative and testimonial situation. For example, in a few situations when LGBTQIA+ migrants were admitted to psychiatric units due to suicide ideations as a direct result of identifying as a LGBTQIA+ migrants, the medical and nursing team responded with “They are in Canada now. It is safe here!” and “So, you are [LGBTQIA+]! What’s the big deal?” These dismissive statements reflect an epistemic situation in which the hearer is negating what was heard, i.e., that the speaker’s intersecting identities of LGBTQIA+ and new immigrant has directly led to suicide ideation. The concept of epistemic injustice helps to frame this situation as one where the care provider is not doing justice to the needs of LGBTQIA+ migrants. This presentation draws on the experiences of LGBTQIA+ migrants who are not recognized as a credible source of knowledge about their own lives and needs in the context of Canadian nursing care. Epistemic injustice helps to understand how stigma and discrimination is produced in this community by the very nursing professions who ostensibly want to help them.