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Canada’s government asked citizens whether they’re ‘comfortable’ with LGBT people

Josh Milton December 29, 2019
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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau waves to the crowd as he marches in the Pride Parade in Toronto, 2017. (Getty/ AFP/ GEOFF ROBINS)

Canada’s federal government posed a rather simple question to its residents: are they comfortable with LGBT+ people?

In a preliminary assessment to better understand the challenges faced by the country’s queer community, a wing of the government surveyed Canadians and found an overwhelming amount are, indeed, comfortable.


‘We obviously have more work to do’, LGBT+ activists say. 

The survey, conducted in the summertime, asked Canadian citizens whether they would be comfortable if their neighbour, manager or doctor was LGBT+, Global News reported.

Around 91.8 per cent said that would be comfortable if a next-door neighbour were gay, lesbian or bisexual, and 87.6 per cent would be comfortable if that neighbour were trans.

“It’s really good to see the attitude of Canadians changing and being more open and inclusive,” said Helen Kennedy, executive director of the LGBTQI2S advocacy group Egale Canada.

“We obviously have more work to do. But it’s definitely a step in the right direction.”

Hundreds of thousands came out to celebrate Toronto's Pride Parade. (Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Hundreds of thousands came out to celebrate Toronto’s Pride Parade. (Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

The survey was conducted by the Privy Council Office, the department that supports the work of the Prime Minister’s Office.

Weekly polls are part and parcel of the PCO, and for the survey on the week of July 26, the body included six questions that gauged Canada’s attitudes towards queer folk.

The poll questions were:

“How comfortable would you be in each of the following situations?

  • If you had a next-door neighbour who was gay, lesbian, or bisexual
  • If you had a next-door neighbour who is a transgender person
  • If you had a manager or supervisor who is gay, lesbian, or bisexual
  • If you had a manager or supervisor who was a transgender person
  • If you had a doctor who is gay, lesbian, or bisexual
  • If you had a doctor who was a transgender person.”

The survey suggested that 90.5 per cent of Canadians are ‘very comfortable’ or ‘somewhat comfortable’ with an LGB boss, versus 7.6 per cent who said they would be ‘somewhat uncomfortable’ of ‘very uncomfortable’.

Sightly less Canadians are comfortable with trans doctors, poll suggests. 

Moreover, 88.2 per cent said they’d be ‘comfortable’ versus 10.2 per cent ‘uncomfortable’ with an LGB doctor.

Although, this number dipped slightly with trans medics – 79.9 per cent ‘comfortable’ and 17.6 per cent ‘uncomfortable’.

“The separate questions regarding gender identity were deliberate given experiences of discrimination faced by many transgender people in Canada,” PCO spokesperson Stephane Shank said in e-mail Saturday.

“The Government of Canada is committed to better understanding the challenges faced by LGBTQ2 people.

“That is why the Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth [Bardish Chagger] has been given a mandate to consult civil society representatives of LGBTQ2 communities to lay the groundwork for an LGBTQ2 action plan that would guide the work of the federal government on issues important to LGBTQ2 Canadians.”

The findings of the study comes after Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party secured a second mandate to helm the government earlier this year.

Trudeau’s administration has several positive initiatives for the community in the pipeline, such as increased funding to aid LGBT+ organisations hire more staff and expand and banning conversion therapy.

Related topics: Canada

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