For 2S/LGBTQ+ communities across the globe, May 17th marks a day to raise awareness and stand up against stigma and discrimination. This year, amidst rising anti-trans hate and political efforts to remove 2S/LGBTQ+ rights, the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) is as relevant as ever.
While initiatives like Florida’s “don’t say gay” bill are particularly striking in their embodiment of anti-2S/LGBTQ+ hate, discrimination against queer and trans people is alive and well in Canada too.
To learn more about the discrimination our communities face, we turned to findings from Our Health, a Canada-wide 2S/LGBTQ+ community study. CBRC has shared data for IDAHOBIT in previous years (see work from 2022, 2021), but this is the first year that these data reflect people of all 2S/LGBTQ+ identities, including queer women.
What we learned from the Our Health study is that discrimination is common in different contexts across 2S/LGBTQ+ communities and is more commonly experienced by those who are multiply marginalized. Across different settings, white and cis respondents reported discrimination less frequently than those who were racialized or trans.
We also asked about the types of discrimination experienced by our communities since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. 48% overall had experienced discrimination based on sexual orientation, and—among trans and gender-diverse people—81% had experienced discrimination on the basis of their gender identity or expression. Among BIPOC participants, over half of participants had experienced discrimination based on race or skin colour (51%) or based on ethnicity or culture (52%). Meanwhile, 50% of those who identified as disabled had experienced discrimination because of ability.
These findings speak to a reality many of us are familiar with: discrimination against our communities is not just present; it is common and compounded across layers of marginalization.
The IDAHOBIT theme this year, "Together Always: United in Diversity," emphasizes the importance of solidarity and mutual support in light of these realities. And the importance of supporting one another is echoed in our data too.
Findings from the Our Health survey show that social support is linked to better mental health outcomes. The odds of reporting good mental health were 3.7 times higher for those that reported high social support1.
While experiencing discrimination is outside our control, connecting with one another and supporting those we love can help us survive (and thrive) amidst the challenges we face.
Of course, improving mental health for 2S/LGBTQ+ people is a job not just for us, but for governments, health care providers, and other diverse allies to take part in. For 2S/LGBTQ+-identified and non-identified people alike, standing up against discrimination is a task we need to take seriously.
As hate and discrimination continue to impact our communities, and those with multiple marginalizations in particular, we are committed to standing up against discrimination in all its forms. This includes actively working against homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia, as well as racism, ablism, and other forms of oppression common in our communities. On May 17th, we’re proud to join the call—together always: united in diversity!
1: Participants self-described their mental health according to a 5-point Likert scale, with “good” mental health referring to responses “excellent”, “very good”, or “good”, as opposed to “fair” or “poor”. Social support was measured using the SPS-5 scale. A cut-off of 15 was used to qualify high versus low social support.