MONTREAL—A new Canadian survey on the LGBT community suggests while a majority believe society has shown a willingness to integrate people, a similar number believe there's still much to be done to combat homophobic behaviour.
The findings are part of a wide-ranging survey that was commissioned on behalf of the Fondation Jasmin Roy, a Quebec organization committed to fighting bullying, discrimination and violence against children.
The study, released yesterday, found that 13 percent of respondents identified as LGBT, far higher than the three percent cited by Statistics Canada.
But fear of rejection or bullying leads many to keep it under wraps: 54 percent said they didn't come out to their work colleagues while 45 percent kept it from their classmates.
However, there are also signs that people are reflecting on gender identity and sexual orientation at a younger age (15-24 age bracket), which tends to mean they are more quickly accepted and come out.
While 81 percent of LGBT respondents agreed Canadian society has shown a willingness to integrate, 73 percent strongly or somewhat believe much more needs to be done to combat homophobic behaviour and bullying of the community.
For the president of CROP, which conducted the survey, its a sign a fundamental social change is underway.
“If we do the study in 10 years, will we see another generation with more openness? We can make this hypothesis because something is changing in our society,” said Alain Giguere.
Giguere said youth are increasingly focused on how they want to live and the “social mould” in which people had to live in the past is cracking.
“The whole process of accepting, expressing, living these alternative genders and sexual identity are much easier the younger you are,” Giguere said.
“Even though there's a lot of work to be done, and young people feel they are victims of bullying, discrimination, there's a fundamental trend between older generations and younger generations.”
The results involved 2,697 online questionnaires sent to people 15 and older, including 1,897 that went to respondents who identified as LGBT.
Liberal MP Marc Miller said the survey provides valuable data that will help develop action plans in regards to the community.
“This is an extremely important tool that Jasmin Roy put together to guide policy-making frankly, and the byproduct of that is it keeps raising awareness to a very important issue in our society, which is acceptance,” he said.