PRIDE: DON’T RAIN ON OUR PARADE
June 29, 2023
In the last few years, states across America have advanced a record number of bills that attack LGBTQ rights and freedoms, especially for transgender youth. While not all of these bills will ultimately become law, they all cause harm to the LGBTQ2S+ community.
While LGBTQ2S+ Canadians are lucky to have some of the most extensive rights in the world, that doesn’t mean our fight is over just yet. Pride is as much about celebrating the LGBTQ2S+ community’s historic past as it is about paving the way for future generations to be afforded the same rights and freedoms as every other citizen, regardless of nationality. For that reason, rather than focusing on celebrations and historic triumphs, we wanted to understand exactly how the LGBTQ2S+ community is perceived in terms of their rights, respect, and acceptance in Canada.
Here’s what we found:
11% of Canadians (or just over 4.2 million Canadians) identify as a member of the LGBTQ2S+ community. This is relatively consistent across demographic groups, but differs by age. Those between the ages of 18 and 29 were significantly more likely than any other group to identify as a member of the LGBTQ2S+ community. This is most likely due to the relatively recent acceptance of the community and the fact that when others see people like them being accepted into society, they are more likely to openly be their true selves.
When asked about the current state of LGBTQ2S+ rights, respect, and acceptance in Canada, it is evident that Canadians may be overly optimistic about some of the realities this community faces. While 55% of those not in the LGBTQ2S+ community believe that the community has all of the same rights and freedoms as every other Canadian, only 38% of those who identify as part of the LGBTQ2S+ community agree.
Furthermore, when asked whether or not Canada was moving in the right or wrong direction regarding LGBTQ2S+ rights, those not in the community are significantly more likely to say that we are moving in the wrong direction. With so many LGBTQ2S+ individuals feeling that Canada is headed in the right direction regarding their rights and freedoms, this could very well point towards a divide on the issue. While more research is needed to be certain, it may be the case that a sizeable group of Canadians is not supportive of the LGBTQ2S+ community being afforded all of the same rights and freedoms as every other Canadian.
In terms of how LGBTQ2S+ rights are respected in Canada, both groups are relatively consistent in their views. That being said, non-LGBTQ2S+ individuals were 6-points more likely to say that LGBTQ2S+ rights are fully respected and honoured in Canada while the LGBTQ2S+ community are 8-points more likely to feel that their rights are only mostly respected and honoured. Again, these differing views, while minor, point towards an overly optimistic view from those who do not identify as a member of the LGBTQ2S+ community.
Interestingly, Canadians from both groups are also quite consistent in their views regarding LGBTQ2S+ acceptance in Canada. Identical proportions from each group feel that individuals are fully accepted and celebrated in Canada, with every other category receiving a 3-point difference or less. While views may be consistent between groups, it is evident that the outlook is not a positive one. In fact, 4 in 10 Canadians believe that LGBTQ2S+ individuals face challenges to their acceptance in Canada.
While remaining optimistic is rarely a negative thing, being overly optimistic in the face of disparity can present a major barrier to progress. While it may be commonly believed that LGBTQ2S+ individuals are respected and accepted in Canada, in reality, they are nearly twice as likely to rate their overall happiness at or below a three out of ten.
Furthermore, LGBTQ2S+ individuals are significantly more likely to feel that they have not achieved as much in life as they thought they would by now. Given the gap in those who agree, it is evident that the LGBTQ2S+ community is likely not being presented with the same opportunities, support systems, and resources as every other Canadian.
And to make matters worse, our survey finds that LGBTQ2S+ Canadians are over 4x more likely to have faced discrimination as a direct result of their gender, sexual identity, sexual attraction, or sexual orientation. So, while it may be nice to believe that our LGBTQ2S+ community is respected, accepted, and celebrated in Canada, understanding that there is still major room for improvement is a fundamental component to establishing the positive changes we still need to make.
Pride is as much about celebrating the LGBTQ2S+ community’s historic past as it is about paving the way for future generations to be afforded the same rights and freedoms as every other citizen, regardless of nationality. While Canada has made tremendous strides on paper, at the end of the day, there needs to be greater recognition amongst the general public that we need to continue to work towards equality and that everyone needs to do their part to respect and honour the LGBTQ2S+ community’s rights and freedoms in our nation. And, as our neighbours to the south continue to advance bills attacking LGBTQ2S+ rights and freedoms, it is more important than ever to stand with the LGBTQ2S+ community not only during times of celebration but also when your support and acceptance are needed most.
The survey was conducted with 1,750 Canadian adults from May 25 to 29, 2023. A random sample of panelists were invited to complete the survey from a set of partner panels based on the Lucid exchange platform. These partners are typically double opt-in survey panels, blended to manage out potential skews in the data from a single source.
The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size is +/- 2.343%, 19 times out of 20. The data were weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Canada’s population according to age, gender, educational attainment, and region.
Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding.
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