In 2018, approximately 75,000 people in Canada were transgender or non-binary, representing 0.24% of the Canadian population aged 15 and older.
The International Transgender Day of Visibility recognizes the struggles, sacrifices and achievements of those who fought, and continue to fight, for gender equity. This day highlights our friends, family, colleagues and neighbours who contribute to the diversity in Canada, and it encourages us to recognize that transgender and non-binary individuals continue to resist oppression by simply being exactly who they are.
Gender and sexual diversity is being increasingly recognized as a strength; challenges, however, persist. In 2018, lesbian, gay, bisexual and other sexual minority people in Canada were twice as likely as heterosexual people to report experiencing unwanted sexual behaviours in public (57% versus 22%) or at work (44% versus 22%), as well as online harassment (37% versus 15%), over the previous 12 months.
Transgender people in Canada were more likely to report their mental health as poor or fair than their cisgender counterparts, more likely to have seriously contemplated suicide in their lifetimes and more likely to have been diagnosed with a mood or anxiety disorder. A 2020 crowdsourcing initiative found that non-binary participants (that is, participants who did not report their gender as exclusively female or male) were almost three times more likely than male participants to report that they had experienced discrimination during the pandemic.
Although much has been accomplished since the beginning of the new millennium, including the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2005, and the protection of gender expression and identity in the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code in 2017, concerns remain as transgender people were still more likely to have experienced unwanted behaviours at work, online or in public places in 2018.
Police reported 259 hate crimes targeting a sexual orientation in 2020. This number represented a slight decrease from a peak in 2019 but was higher than in other years since comparable data have been available.
The International Transgender Day of Visibility reminds us that we can all be allies in many ways and work together to stand up for the protection and promotion of the human rights of people in Canada who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or Two-Spirit, or who use another term that refers to gender or sexual diversity. The human rights of all people are universal and indivisible, regardless of their sexual orientation and their gender identity and expression.
The 2021 Census of Population included, for the first time, a question on gender in addition to a question on sex at birth. This two-step approach will allow Statistics Canada to have reliable data on the transgender and non-binary population and will help address information gaps about gender diversity in Canada.
The introduction of gender in the 2021 Census will also allow Statistics Canada to identify, for the first time, couples where at least one person is transgender or non-binary. This will provide a more complete picture of the growing diversity of Canadian families.
A portrait of the transgender and non-binary population will be presented with the initial release of 2021 Census data on sex at birth and gender on April 27, 2022. Additional analysis of various sociodemographic and socioeconomic characteristics of the transgender and non-binary population will be forthcoming once all census variables are released. In addition, an article on the growing diversity of couples in Canada will be published in the families, households and marital status census release on July 13, 2022.
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