Canada is one of the countries with the best protection for the rights of sexual and gender minorities. Canadian society is increasingly open and sensitive to sexual and gender minorities. Noteworthy legal and social gains have been achieved over the past 50 years.
Many legal issues remain outstanding, and much remains to be done to achieve greater acceptance of sexual minorities. Among other things, eliminating discrimination from all environments, adapting services to the needs of the LGBTQ2+ community, and securing support for their social contribution.
What is that really about?
Negative attitudes towards homosexuality that can lead to direct or indirect discrimination against gays, lesbians, bisexuals or people seen as such. There are variants of homophobia, such as lesphobia or biphobia, when the aversion is specifically directed at lesbian or bisexual people.
Negative attitudes that can lead to direct or indirect rejection or discrimination against transgenders and cross-dressers, or anyone who transgresses gender or sexual and gender standards and representations.
Translation based on the Fondation émergence lexis : https://www.homophobie.org/definitions
These phobias are still too prevalent in our society, and they cause (provoke) negative attitudes through words and actions that hurt. There is a long list of such words and actions:
There is still cause for concern, judging by the findings of a study entitled ‘‘LGBT Realities.’’ The study provides an overview of the situation faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Canada. It is based on an extensive survey conducted between January and June 2017 of 2,700 Canadians, 800 of them heterosexual.
All across the country, governments and numerous educational institutions and workplaces are adopting policies on sexual orientation and diversity, and developing tools to promote respect and create environments that are free from discrimination.
Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.
- Nelson Mandela-
Between December 2007 and June 2009, Égale Canada surveyed more than 3,700 high school students across Canada. It is preparing to conduct a second national survey, in 2020, to assess and identify discrimination faced by Canadian LGBTQI2S high school students, and to determine to what extent Canadian high schools are more or less inclusive.
The report released in 2011 describes the situation in several schools as follows:
In schools that have made efforts to introduce LGBTQ-inclusive policies, GSAs, and even some LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum, the climate is significantly more positive for sexual or gender minority students.”
Source in English:
Every Class in Every School: Final report on the first national climate survey on homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia in Canadian schools : https://egale.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/EgaleFinalReport-web.pdf
Source in French:
Chaque classe dans chaque école: rapport final d’Égale sur l’homophobie, la biphobie et la transphobie dans les écoles canadiennes : https://egale.ca/chaque-classe/
Schools are introducing more and more initiatives to fight bullying, whose victims are young people, some of them because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Provincial governments have even brought in legislation forcing school boards to intervene.
However, these school programs are not without their detractors. The goal is to create welcoming, safe and inclusive learning environments for all students, but not everyone agrees on how to go about it.
More and more employers in Canada are seeking to create safer and more inclusive work environments, to optimize their employees’ potential, and to eliminate the barriers to employment faced by Canada’s LGBTQ2+ community.
“Biphobia, homophobia and transphobia still exist in the workplace and remain under-represented in diversity and inclusion conversations. Only 59% of organizations communicate strong leadership messages about the importance of LGBT inclusion in the workplace to all employees.
14% of organizations consider LGBT-inclusive diversity and inclusion as required knowledge for manager roles.
11% of organizations have their people managers undergo advanced training on LGBT issues relevant to their role.
7% of organizations expect managers to make resources and guidance available to LGBT employees.”https://prideatwork.ca/en/
Pride at Work Canada campaigns employers to encourage them to act, and unions have gotten several clauses included in collective agreements to protect the rights of LGBT workers.
The impact of homophobia and transphobia on the health of young people and the AIDS crisis have raised awareness about the fact that sexual and gender minorities are facing physical, mental and sexual health issues related to their sexual or gender identity. They are more susceptible to mental health problems (anxiety, depression and suicide), sexually transmitted diseases and certain forms of cancer, while the transition of trans individuals requires complex global approaches.
Organizations are working on better adapting services to the specific needs of sexual minorities and to reducing the barriers related to negative attitudes and lack of information of workers about the health issues faced by sexual minorities. Some of the gaps in health care service appear to be linked to heterosexism.
The AIDS crisis in the early 80s led to a large coordinated effort in Canada and around the world. The number of individuals affected continues to rise, but according to the Public Health Agency of Canada, the number of new cases and deaths keeps falling thanks to treatments.
The Canadian Psychiatric Association released a position paper highlighting the need for the profession to fully understand the situation and the mental health needs of LGBTQ individuals.
This controversial practice stems from a theory that people could change their sexual orientation from gay to heterosexual by undergoing therapy. This theory has recently been challenged by groups that defend and promote health.
May 2015 – Manitoba became the first province to prohibit the highly ridiculed conversion therapy.
June 2015 – Ontario passed a law prohibiting the application of conversion therapy to gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans children by prohibiting doctors from billing the Ontario Health Insurance plan for such procedures.