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The reality for over one million queer people

June is Pride Month: a time to celebrate the 2SLGBTQIA+ (Two-Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, plus) community, and to remember the fight it has taken the get to where we are, and how much fighting there is still left to do.

Statistics Canada has released some information about the realities of queer people in Canada. The wage gap between queer folks and straight folks is quite wide. Heterosexual men earn an average yearly salary of $61,400 compared to gay men ($51,400) and bisexual men ($39,400). Lesbian women and heterosexual women had a similar average income ($48,600 and $47,300 respectively); however, bisexual women only made an average of $38,500. This could partly be due to the fact that the average age of a bisexual person in the workplace is younger than that of straight people, gay men, and lesbians.

The queer community is a growing population in Canada. Data from 2019 to 2021 shows that approximately 4.4 per cent of Canadians (1.3 million people) identify as queer. That being said, one in ten youth aged 15 to 24 years (10.5 per cent) identified as queer, making them the demographic with the highest percentage of queer people. About one per cent of people in this same demographic identify as transgender or non-binary.

The Quebec government has also released some information about the mental health of the queer community. It says that queer folks are “at greater risk of having suicidal ideations or attempting suicide because of the isolation, stigmatization, discrimination, homophobia, or transphobia that they may face… Moreover, cases of mood disorders (in particular, depression) or anxiety disorders are more common in the LGBTQ+ population.”

Statistics Canada backs this up by sharing that “Transgender or non-binary people (54.7 per cent) were over five times as likely as cisgender people (9.9 per cent) to consider their mental health to be fair or poor. The likelihood of reporting fair or poor mental health was also higher for bisexual (36.8 per cent) and gay or lesbian (16.9 per cent) people than for heterosexual people (9.1 per cent).”

It should also be noted that folks who live at different intersections of marginalization (race, gender, socio-economic background, etc.) experience these realities at a much higher rate.

With the population of queer Canadians growing each year, it’s important to recognize the reality of how people’s lives are affected based on their sexuality and gender identity.

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