New survey reveals 13 percent of the Canadian population belongs to the LGBT communityAround the World, Online Only, Top Highlights Thursday, August 10th, 2017
MONTREAL – According to the recent Fondation Jasmin Roy survey “LGBT Realities”, 13% of the Canadian population belongs to the LGBT community. Because they fear being rejected, hindered from progressing in their careers or mocked and bullied, 54% of LGBT respondents have not come out to their work colleagues, and 45% have not come out to their classmates.
Reflection about gender identity and sexual orientation seems to begin earlier in life among individuals of the younger generations (15-24 years of age) and leads more quickly to acceptance and coming out. Proportionally, there are more bisexuals*, pansexuals, asexuals and/or transgendered or non-binary individual among young people (especially in those who are 15-24 years of age).
Eighty-one percent of LGBT respondents say that Canadian society has shown a willingness to make efforts to integrate people from LGBT communities. Also, 73% of Canadians strongly or somewhat agree that much remains to be done to stop homophobic behaviour and the bullying of members of the LGBT community, encouraging news for future work to be done at various institutions.
“The results of this survey will be used to help organizations and governmental bodies implement action plans to better meet the needs of young people in this community and foster settings that are more positive, caring and supportive of integration in educational and workplace settings,” says Jasmin Roy, founder of the Fondation Jasmin Roy.
- Members of the LGBT community experience greater distress
Fifty-one percent of binary trans individuals, 44% of non-binary trans individuals, 38% of asexuals, 35% of bisexuals and 35% of pansexuals say their family did not believe them or ignored the information when they ‘came out.’
Fifty-four percent of respondents from the LGBT community feel that their life will be or has been more difficult than that of a person not part of a sex or gender minority. Indeed, looking at the results in detail, 81% of LGBT individuals say they have felt or feel distressed, loneliness, isolation or discouragement related to their sexual orientation or gender identity, and three out of four LGBT respondents say they have experienced bullying, threats or hurtful or derogatory comments, including 60% at school, 33% at work and, surprisingly, 20% within LGBT settings. “These numbers are worrisome and indicate that LGBT communities are still the target of intimation in school and work settings. Moreover, they show that discrimination occurs within these groups themselves,” says Jasmin Roy.
Forty percent of respondents from LGBT groups say they have experienced discrimination. In 40% of cases, this discrimination occurred at work (21% indicate they were fired, forced to quit or turned down for a job), while 13% were discriminated against in a public setting and 9% at school.
Surprisingly, the LGBT community itself has some work to do when it comes to stereotyping, as the majority of respondents (78%) believe some LGBT groups harbour stereotypes about other LGBT groups.
Among the general public in Canada, 76% of respondents are familiar with the LGBT acronym. However, when additional letters are tagged onto the acronym, comprehensive decreases: 60% say they recognize the LGBTQ acronym, while only 12% have a vague or good understanding of the LGBTTIQ2S+ acronym.
Cultural communities: LGBT individuals who belong to other non-Caucasian ethnocultural groups have a harder time than other members of the LGBT community because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, especially within their families. Their sexual orientation or gender identity is much less accepted by their immediate family (29% rather badly or very badly accepted, compared to 19% for Caucasian LGBT individuals), which means they receive less support than other LGBT groups. In about half the cases, the family will tend not to believe, or even ignore, this reality, or try to convince them that it is just a passing phase. The ensuing familial emotional burden is also heavier since, in 34% of cases, the family will let the individual who outs themself know they are disappointed (a situation experienced by 19% of Caucasian LGBT individuals).
LGBT individuals who belong to other non-Caucasian ethnocultural groups are also more likely to report having been isolated in their school environment and less accepted by school staff or subjected to more limitations and intimation in their workplace after disclosing their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Aboriginals: Aboriginal LGBT respondents set themselves apart by their tendency to live more comfortably with their sexual orientation or gender identity than the average member of the LGBT community. They also express more reservations than do other LGBT groups about the willingness of Canadian society to make efforts to integrate members of the LGBT community.
- More resources and support still required
58% of respondents from LGBT groups felt that the available support and assistance resources were insufficient. They would like to benefit from:
- Support organizations, resources and visible and accessible networks in their communities, neighbourhoods and schools (26%).
- Clear and accessible information on sexual and gender identity in educational settings, libraries and on the internet (20%).
- Greater access to role models with diverse sexual orientations and gender identities to guide them (19%).
In the view of respondents, the most useful interventions to enhance the well-being and inclusion of LGBT people in Canadian society today are:
- The return of, or more, sex education courses in schools (49%).
- More visibility for LGBT resources and groups, so that people who need them have better access (42%).
- More awareness workshops in schools (41%).
- Better representation of LGBT people in the media (41%).
- More advertisements against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia (27%).
Forty-six percent of LGBT respondents say they are poorly represented in the media. Sixty-nine percent would like to see less stereotyped representations, and 66% would like to see greater diversity in the types of people from LGBT communities represented in fiction or the media in general. “The question of representativeness in the media is an issue that needs to be addressed quickly. The CRTC, unions that represent artists and various government bodies should insist on better representation of LGBT groups in Crown corporations and all subsidized productions,” says Jasmin Roy.
- Encouraging contacts with the LGBT community
Individuals born outside Canada are proportionally less likely to be in contact with sexual diversity and are somewhat less open in this regard than those born in Canada. Quebecers report more contact with homosexual or bisexual people (70%) than other Canadians (51%). However, the percentages are reversed when it comes to having contact with a person of another religious denomination or skin colour than their own. According to Jasmin Roy, this “significant gap should be analyzed to discover why Quebecers are more open to sexual diversity and less receptive to various cultural communities, while this tendency is reversed in the rest of Canada.” Moreover, only 9% of Canadians overall report having contact with transgender individuals.
According to the results of the Fondation Jasmin Roy survey, 52% of Canadians say they are “very comfortable” around people who were homosexual or bisexual, and over a quarter (27%) of them say they were “very comfortable” having contact with trans individuals. This proportion, which is considerably higher than the proportion that has actual contact with trans individuals, suggests that some of the efforts to raise awareness about homosexuality and bisexuality also benefit the trans community.
However, respondents’ comfort level decreases when it comes to witnessing displays of affection. Forty-four percent are very comfortable seeing people of the same sex holding hands in public, while only 27% said they are comfortable seeing same-sex couples kissing on the mouth in public, versus 41% when it comes to a heterosexual couple.
Respondents are divided in terms of defining their comfort level about using the same toilets or locker rooms as a transgender individual. A little over one-third (38%) say they are very comfortable. For its part, the issue of locker rooms seems slightly more problematic (only 31% say they are very comfortable).
- LGBT community values
The Fondation Jasmin Roy has asked the Canadians about their values. Four main concerns distinguish LGBT respondents from the average of the population:
- A strong desire for self-fulfillment and authenticity that leads them to seek personal well-being, value the pleasures of life and express their “true” personality
- A more developed sense of creativity than the average of the population, which leads them to think outside the box and allows them to adapt more easily to the world around them
- A greater social and ecological consciousness, which makes them more concerned with their environment on a broad scale (on an individual and planetary basis)
- A significant distancing from traditional family values.
These values take the form of personal activities that are more focused on friendly ties and culture than they are for heterosexuals, more frequent and diversified support for social causes, a personal fashion sense that lies on the margins of fashion trends and less desire to marry and have children.
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