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Canada's LGBTQ2S+ Community Is Now '1 Million Strong' But Still Faces Big Systemic Issues

Statistics Canada put together striking data on the LGBTQ2S+ community.
Canada's LGBTQ2S+ Community Is Now '1 Million Strong'

Data from Statistics Canada on the country's queer community revealed that as of 2018, there were approximately one million LGBTQ2S+ people in Canada.

Canada's statistical agency released the data on June 16 to create a "portrait" of the "demographic and social profile of Canada's diverse LGBTQ2+ communities" — however, much of the data "[focuses] on LGB Canadians (lesbian, gay, bisexual), since Statistics Canada has been collecting detailed information on these communities since 2003."

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More young people identify as LGBTQ2+

In 2018, 30% of Canada's LGBTQIA2S+ population consisted of people between the ages of 15 and 24.

The same age group made up only "14% of the non-LGBTQ2+ population."

"At the other end of the spectrum," said Statistics Canada, "7% of LGBTQ2+ Canadians were aged 65 or older, compared with 21% of non-LGBTQ2+ Canadians."

"Approximately 75,000 Canadians identified as trans or non-binary" in 2018, "representing 0.24% of the Canadian population aged 15 and older," according to StatsCan's 2018 Survey on Safety in Public and Private Spaces.

[rebelmouse-image 26878759 photo_credit="MTL Blog/Statistics Canada" expand=1 original_size="1080x1080"] MTL Blog/Statistics Canada

There were 72,880 same-sex couples in Canada in 2016, making up 0.9% of all couples in Canada.

StatsCan said half of those same-sex couples lived in the major cities of Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Ottawa–Gatineau.

Between 2006 and 2016, the number of same-sex couples in Canada increased by 60.7%, compared to an increase of 9.6% in "opposite-sex" couples.

StatsCan said the increase "may be reflective, at least in part, of growing awareness and acceptance of sexual diversity in Canada."

LGBTQ2S+ hate crimes are on the rise in Canada

According to StatsCan's 2018 survey, LGB+ Canadians were both more likely to report being "violently victimized" throughout their lives and more likely to have experienced "inappropriate behaviours in public and online" than non-queer Canadians.

In 2018, LGB+ Canadians were "twice as likely" as non-queer Canadians "to report experiencing inappropriate behaviours" in the 12 months prior to the survey:

  • in public: 57% versus 22% of non-queer Canadians

  • online: 37% versus 15% of non-queer Canadians

  • at work: 44% versus 22% of non-queer Canadians.

Violent hate crimes against LGB+ Canadians were on par with violent racially-charged hate crimes in 2018.

Of hate crimes that targeted sexual orientation, 53% were violent crimes.

In comparison, 27% of hate crimes targeting religion and 52% of hate crimes targeting race or ethnicity were violent crimes, according to the data.

Further, according to StatsCan's 2018 survey, transgender Canadians were also more likely to report poorer mental health than cisgender Canadians.

They were also more likely to have "seriously contemplated suicide in their lifetimes."

Transgender Canadians were additionally more likely "to have been diagnosed with a mood or anxiety disorder" than cisgender Canadians.

The pandemic might have had a bigger effect on LGBTQ2S+ Canadians

StatsCan said that the LGBTQ2S+ population could have been "disproportionately affected" by job loss during the pandemic since a greater share of the communities' populations are between the ages of 15 and 24 — an age group whose employment levels "remains furthest from February 2020 levels."

LGBTQ2S+ Canadians also made less than their non-queer counterparts overall.

In 2018, 41% of LGBTQ2S+ Canadians "had a total personal income of less than $20,000" yearly, compared to 26% of non-queer Canadians.

In the same year, on average, queer income-earners in Canada made about 72% — $39,000 — of the average income of non-queer Canadians, at $54,000.

However, StatsCan noted that the income difference could partly be due to the large youth population in LGBTQ2S+ communities. Being enrolled in high school, CEGEPs or universities could reduce their potential income, the agency said.

In 2018, 33% of LGBTQ2S+ Canadians "found it difficult or very difficult to meet their needs in terms of transportation, housing, food, clothing, participation in some social activities and other necessary expenses," compared with just 27% of non-queer Canadians, according to StatsCan.