It’s not getting better for LGBTQ+ youth
RE: LGBTQ+ youth
The Canadian government amended the Canadian Human Rights Act in 1996 to include sexual orientation as prohibited grounds for discrimination. This marked a big milestone in the LGBTQ+ community, but as we have seen through high youth suicide rates, it wasn’t enough.
LGBTQ+ youth, particularly the transgender and gender non-confirming community, are dying by suicide at alarming rates. Recently, the government further amended the Canadian Human Rights act to include gender identity and expression in an attempt to protect the transgender and gender nonconforming community in Canada.
Changing legislation is a good first step, however government at all levels, has a responsibility to take further action.
There have been many campaigns to help LGBTQ+ youth feel hopeful; sending the message “life goes on” and “it gets better.” While these messages might resonate with few, in my experience these messages are internalized as patronizing and false.
Because the research indicates, it is NOT getting better. It is still very bad.
LGBTQ+ youth experience discrimination in explicit ways and implicit ways through heterosexism, transphobia, biphobia and homophobia on every level of service they access.
While there is progress being made at federal levels, that progress is not translating into tangible change in the lives of LGBTQ+ people, and our youth are suffering for our complacency.
LGBTQ+ youth suicide rates have a direct link to our current political and culture climate we have all created and condoned. Now it’s up to us to do something about it. Charlotte Shipley, Hamilton