VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — By almost every measure, members of Canada’s LGBTQ+ community are more likely to be the targets of violence and inappropriate behaviour than their heterosexual neighbours, according to Statistics Canada.
The Survey of Safety in Public and Private Spaces conducted in 2018 has found sexual minority Canadians are much more likely to report experiencing sexual behaviour directed at them, whether it be online, in the workplace, or out in public.
The new federal data also tracks what impact the levels of violence have on the sexual minority, while showing members of LGBTQ+ community are far more exposed than heterosexual Canadians.
Stats Canada estimates there are roughly one million people (about four per cent of the population) 15 years or older in the country who identify as a sexual minority, so they reported their sexual orientation as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or a sexual orientation that is not heterosexual.
About 75,000 Canadians (about 0.24 per cent of the population 15 or older) identify as either transgender or non-binary. This group was about twice as likely to report experiencing unwanted behaviours, regardless of the setting.
At work, that means inappropriate jokes and unwanted sexual attention. Online, it’s being sent explicit images or messages from people they know, while in public, it’s things like inappropriate comments, gestures or body language.
Both since the age of 15 and within the last year, the LGBTQ+ community is more likely to have been physically or sexually assaulted compared to heterosexual Canadians. That doesn’t include violence committed by an intimate partner.
LGBTQ+ Canadians are less likely to report physical assault to police and they are more likely to be hurt by targetted violence.
At large, the LGBTQ+ community reports higher rates of binge drinking and use of non-medical drugs.
Transgender Canadians, in particular, are more likely to report being assaulted, and they are more likely to turn to street drugs or alcohol to cope with the mental toll of the violence.
A survey like this offers a more fulsome look at these problems than data from police reports since not all inappropriate behaviour is considered a crime.
The survey has provided the very first national estimate of how many transgender and non-binary Canadians there are.