News / Ottawa

A complex picture of Canada's LGBT communities

A new study released on Wednesday about Canada's LGBT communities shows many positives, but reveals a lot of work left to do.

Mark Blinch / THE CANADIAN PRESS

A study released on Wednesday that surveyed over 2,600 Canadians paints a detailed, if complex, picture of LGBT communities in Canada and the relationship between these communities and the heterosexual community.

The study, conducted by the Montreal-based polling firm CROP for the Fondation Jasmin Roy, was funded by the federal government, as well as a number of provinces and through the Quebec government’s anti-homophobia program.

On the one hand, there is plenty to celebrate in the report: 75 per cent of all LGBT-identifying people in Canada report feeling very accepted among their social circles. Interestingly, feelings of acceptance were strongest within the Indigenous communities: 92 per cent of Indigenous respondents reported feeling very accepted, compared to 75 per cent of white Canadians and 70 per cent of other minorities.

49 per cent of Canadians said that they believe a child can develop just as well with homosexual parents as with heterosexual parents; only 10 per cent said the opposite.

There are differing levels when it comes to feelings of acceptance, however, across racial lines. 29 per cent of non-white LGBT Canadians felt poorly accepted by their immediate families, compared to only 19 per cent of white Canadians, and 11 per cent of Indigenous Canadians. And across the board, non-white, non-Indigenous LGBT Canadians report feeling less happy than their white and Indigenous counterparts.

Above all else, this paints a picture of ongoing social change. “If we do the study in 10 years, will we see another generation with more openness? We can make this hypothesis because something is changing in our society,” said Alain Giguere, president of CROP.

But other figures suggest that there is still plenty of work to do to bridge cultural chasms. Barely more than half of Canadians—55 per cent—report being in regular contact with homosexual or bisexual people. Only 9 per cent of Canadians report regular contact with transgender people.

Some cultural fault lines clearly still exist: only 25 per cent of Canadians reported feeling comfortable with the idea of children seeing people of the same sex kissing on the lips.

That change is something that has support from the population: 73 per cent of respondents said that, though advances have been made, there is more that needs to be done to stop homophobia.

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