It may be 2021, but Canada’s GBT2Q communities continue to face health and social challenges

We’ve been celebrating the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT) for over thirty years now–ever since the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders. But even with all the progress that’s been made in that time, there’s still lots more work to be done.

This year, CBRC has used data from the Our Stats dashboard to examine how gay, bi, trans, and queer men and Two-Spirit and non-binary people (GBT2Q) have been doing in the last few years. The data came from both the 2019 (sample size: 6,200) and 2020 Sex Now (sample size 1,650) surveys (the latter of which took place in the midst of the pandemic) and shows that GBT2Q continue to face elevated health and social challenges. These issues are even higher among racialized communities who are more likely to experience discrimination, which may have impacts on their mental health and wellbeing.

When it comes to discrimination, it was found that nearly 2-in-5 participants (38.7%) in the 2019 survey reported having experienced discrimination due to their sexual orientation in the past year. That number was higher when it came to participants who identified as bisexual (45.7%) or queer (49.6%). Additionally, the majority of trans (78.1%) and non-binary (80.3%) participants reported discrimination based on trans experience and gender expression respectively. Experiences of racial discrimination over the past year were also reported by about 4-in-5 (78.2%) participants who identified as a Black, Indigenous, or a Person of Colour (BIPOC).

Discrimination takes its toll on mental health, and many respondents expressed an increased need for help with anxiety (45.9%) and depression (41.5%). These figures were even higher for BIPOC, trans, and non-binary participants:

  • Among BIPOC participants, 50.0% said they wanted help with anxiety and 44.8% said they wanted help with depression
  • Among trans participants, 72.5% said they wanted help with anxiety, and 58.8% for depression
  • Among non-binary participants, 67.4% said they wanted help with anxiety, and 55.8% for depression

The news isn’t all bad, however. In line with the theme of this year’s IDAHOT (Together, Resisting, Supporting, Healing!), we found that GBT2Q communities have continued to demonstrate their capacity for support and care throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, 97.0% of participants in the 2020 survey reported providing emotional support to others since the start of the pandemic, with an additional 57.7% providing support to others for food and 44.5% with finances. Participants also reported receiving emotional (92.8%), food (44.5%) and financial support (30.8 %) from others. Even though much more work remains to be done to challenge anti-GBT2Q discrimination, we are still supporting one another in these uncertain times.

The Sex Now 2021 survey is currently open, so if you would like to share your experiences and thoughts, please visit The answers you provide will assist organizations across the country advocate for better programs and resources, and will be used to shape public policy when it comes to our health and wellbeing.





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About CBRC

Community-Based Research Centre (CBRC) promotes the health of people of diverse sexualities and genders through research and intervention development.
It may be 2021, but Canada’s GBT2Q communities continue to face health and social challenges
It may be 2021, but Canada’s GBT2Q communities continue to face health and social challenges
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