2SLGBTQIA+ people are over-represented in many social issues including safety, well-being, homelessness, and school discrimination.
Community Safety and Well-Being
Queer people experience stigma and discrimination across their life spans, and are targets of sexual and physical assault, harassment and hate crimes:
- Hates crimes motivated by sexual orientation more than doubled in Canada from 2007 to 2008, and were the most violent of all hate crimes
- An Ontario-based study of trans people found that 20% had experienced physical or sexual assault due to their identity, and that 34% were subjected to verbal threats or harassment
- Trans people in both Canada and the US report high levels of violence, harassment, and discrimination when seeking stable housing, employment, health or social services
Housing and Homelessness
While there are few studies examining the relationship between the LGBTQ+ community and poverty in Canada, data in the United States and Canada suggests that queer members are more likely to be low income than their non-queer counterparts.
Studies suggest that Canadian LGBTQ+ youth are over-represented in poverty statistics, with Between 25 and 40 per cent of homeless youth identifying as LGBTQ+. Studies suggest that this is due to rejection from family members during the coming out process. Barriers in housing and education also prevent LGBTQ+ youth from accessing services and support. Services with a “one size fits all” approach to poverty can also contribute to LGBTQ+ members falling through cracks in services, making it important for services to understand the unique needs of the community.
Mental Health and Addiction
Queer youth face approximately 14 times the risk of suicide and substance abuse than heterosexual peers
- 77% of trans respondents in an Ontario-based survey had seriously considered suicide and 45% had attempted suicide
Trans youth and those who had experienced physical or sexual assault were found to be at greatest risk
- 67% of trans youth in Ontario reported experiencing discrimination because of their gender identity
- 75% of surveyed Canadian transgender youth reported self-harming in the past year, nearly 50% experienced extreme stress in the past 30 days, and a third had attempted suicide in the past year.
- 42% of trans students in Ontario were sexually harassed, 30% were physically threatened or injured, and 19% had run away from home.
- A school GSA costs about an hour per week to sponsor a teacher or public health nurse during the school year (about $1,000). This can save $183,000 in healthcare costs.