VANCOUVER, BC – New findings from the national Sex Now survey show that 1 in 20 gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (GBMSM) in Canada experienced discrimination at work related to their sexuality in the last year. Experiencing workplace discrimination was associated with a variety of negative health outcomes, including suicide attempts.
Dr. Olivier Ferlatte (Assistant Professor, Université de Montréal and Centre de Recherche en Santé Publique) analyzed the CBRC’s third national Sex Now survey (conducted in 2015), which included responses from 7,872 participants. 512 (6.5%) reported experiencing discrimination at work based on their sexuality in the last 12 months. Men reporting workplace discrimination had between 1.5 and 2 times the odds of experiencing intimate partner violence, of discussing anxiety with a healthcare provider and of considering or attempting suicide.
Olivier Ferlatte explains: “Despite the social and legal gains of the last three decades, GBMSM continue to face violence and discrimination, including in workplace settings. It is important to recognize that workplace discrimination not only limits employment opportunities for this population, but it is also detrimental to their health and wellbeing.”
Some GBMSM were more likely to experience workplace discrimination than others. Men self-identifying as queer had 65% higher odds compared to men of other sexualities. Indigenous and Latino men experienced 45% and 84% more discrimination than white men. GBMSM living in rural areas were 41% more likely than urban-dwelling GBMSM to report workplace discrimination. Transgender men were particularly at risk for sexuality-based workplace discrimination with one 1 in 6 transgender men reporting discrimination in the past 12 months.
“Gay bisexual and queer men are not a monolith population. Some groups are more likely to report workplace discrimination. How sexuality-based discrimination intersects with other forms of discrimination such as racism and transphobia will need to be considered in future research as well as in interventions to promote safe workplaces for this population,” says Olivier Ferlatte.
CBRC's Executive Director, Michael Kwag, says more should be done address workplace discrimination: “Discrimination at work not only threatens 2S/LGBTQ+ people's ability to make a living and feel safe, it has a profound impact on our health overall. CBRC calls on workplaces across Canada to enact policies that combat sexuality and gender-based harassment while empowering third-party complaints resolutions systems. We urge employers to take the results of this study to heart, and to understand the impact their workplaces have on the health of GBMSM employees.”
Pride at Work Canada (PaWC) is another organization working to improve 2S/LGBTQ+ inclusion in the workplace. PaWC’s Executive Director Colin Druhan notes that discrimination is also tied to economic disparities: “We also have data that showcase the economic reality of queer and trans communities when bisexual women make half of what straight men make a year in Canada (on average: $26K compared to $56K); and trans and non-binary people face incredible barriers to employment and advancement not encountered by cis people.”
To read this study in full, please visit: https://connect.springerpub.com/content/sgrlgbtq/early/2023/05/26/lgbtq-2021-0052
For more information, please contact CBRC. We also suggest you contact Pride at Work Canada (PaWC).
For interviews, please contact:
CBRC's Knowledge Translation Manager
Luis Augusto Nobre
PaWC’s Senior Communications Coordinator
Community-Based Research Centre (CBRC) promotes the health of people of diverse sexualities and genders through research and intervention development. Its core pillars – community-led research, knowledge exchange, network building, and leadership development – position the organization as a thought leader, transforming ideas into actions that make a difference in our communities.
CBRC was incorporated in 1999 and is a non-profit charitable organization. Our main office is located in Vancouver, British Columbia, and we also have satellite offices located in Edmonton, Toronto, and Halifax.