Facts, stats and impact: 2SLGBTQI+ communities

Historical actions were taken by the Government of Canada in recent years to build a better, more inclusive future for Two-Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and additional sexually and gender diverse people (2SLGBTQI+), and yet there is still more work to be done. The following statistics highlight that inequality persists for 2SLGBTQI+ communities in Canada and how the Government of Canada is striving to create a future where everyone in Canada is truly free to be who they are.

Facts and stats

The Government of Canada adopted the acronym 2SLGBTQI+ to refer to Two-Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex people and those who use other terms related to gender and sexual diversity. Statistics Canada uses the acronym 2SLGBTQ+ for data analysis purposes, as information is not yet specifically collected about intersex people in surveys.

DemographyFootnote 1 

2SLGBTQI+ population in Canada
Text version

1.3 million or 4.4% of the Canadian population aged 15 years and older, reported being part of the 2SLGBTQ+ population. 

Of this group, 10.5% were between the ages of 15 and 24. Of this group, 1% identified as transgender or non-binary.

BullyingFootnote 2 

Percentage of sexually and diverse youth that having been the target of bullying
Text version

77% of sexually and gender diverse youth had been the target of bullying in the previous year, a higher proportion than that of cisgender youth who are attracted exclusively to a different gender (69%)

Not only are sexually and gender diverse youth more likely to be bullied, but their mental health is also often worse than cisgender youth attracted exclusively to a different gender.

After socio-demographic and socio-economic factors were considered, sexually and gender diverse youth were:

Twice as likely to

describe their mental health as poor (33%) compared with other bullied youth populations (16%) and non-bullied sexually and gender diverse youth (16%).

Twice as likely to

consider taking their own life (27%) compared with other bullied youth (13%).

HomelessnessFootnote 3 

There is an overrepresentation of individuals experiencing homelessness among 2SLGBTQI+ communities.­­ Of all respondents experiencing homelessness collected through Everyone Counts 2020-2022:


identified as 2SLGBTQI+, despite only representing 4% of the general population.

Reasons for housing loss

Among reasons for housing loss, 2SLGBTQI+ respondents cited:

Health challenges

2SLGBTQI+ homeless respondents had a greater likelihood of reporting all health challenges. Differences were greatest for:

IncomeFootnote 4

Research shows that lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals, relative to their heterosexual counterparts,Footnote 5  are more likely to:

Mental healthFootnote 6 Footnote 7 

Among those aged 15 years and older, 3 in 10 (29.7%) 2SLGBTQ+ people reported their mental health to be fair or poor, compared with fewer than 1 in 10 non-2SLGBTQ+ individuals (9.1%).

Mental health of 2SLGBTQI+ people
Text version

3 in 10 2SLGBTQ+ people reported their mental health to be fair or poor. Compared with fewer than 1 in 10 non-2slgbtqi+ individuals.

Minority stress

A common explanation for poorer mental health outcomes among the 2SLGBTQ+ population is minority stress, that is, chronic stress related to:

  • social stigma
  • discrimination
  • internalization of negative societal attitudes

StigmaFootnote 8 

When Canadians were asked about which populations faced the most stigma, 55% of respondents perceived that individuals who are transgender face a lot or quite a bit of stigma in their daily lives in Canada.

Groups in the 2SLGBTQI+ communities facing stigma
Text version

According to Canadians, stigma persists, particularly for certain communities within the wider 2SLGBTQI+ communities.

2S: 33%

L: 34%

G: 39%

B: 31%

T: 55%

Q: 40%

I+: 36%

Types of stigmas

The top five types of stigmas that Canadians perceive these communities to face are:

Top types of stigma
Text version

Top types of stigma

  • being shunned by family (57%)
  • being verbally harassed or threatened (52%)
  • feeling like others don’t understand them (50%)
  • being physically harassed or threatened (49%)
  • being harassed or threatened online (48%)

Top drivers of stigma

Government of Canada’s impact 

The Government of Canada values 2SLGBTQI+ rights as human rights and upholds the values of diversity and inclusion as key to building a better and more prosperous Canada for everyone. The Government is committed to promoting 2SLGBTQI+ equality, protecting 2SLGBTQI+ rights, and addressing discrimination against 2SLGBTQI+ communities, both past and current.

To that end, the Federal 2SLGBTQI+ Action Plan was launched on August 28, 2022. The Plan is a whole-of-government approach aimed at advancing the rights, and improving social, economic, and health outcomes for 2SLGBTQI+ people in Canada. Progress on the Federal 2SLGBTQI+ Action Plan is updated regularly.

Immediately following the Action Plan’s launch, the Government of Canada adopted the new 2SLGBTQI+ acronym and encouraged its use across the public service. However, many instances of different versions still exist, particularly in reference to documents published prior to the Action Plan, and in reference to studies and research that did not include every letter represented within the 2SLGBTQI+ acronym. It evolved following a public consultation prior to the Action Plan and specifically added Two-Spirit, 2S, at the beginning to recognize their presence before Western colonization. At the international level, LGBTQI tends to be the acronym used.

Since August 2022, the Government of Canada has implemented several of its Action Plan initiatives, including but not limited to Expanding Bill C-66 to enable convictions for bawdy house and indecency-based offences to be eligible for criminal record expungement (see Government of Canada takes another step towards righting historically unjust convictions - Canada.ca); and completing consultations to review criminal law regarding HIV non-disclosure(see HIV Non-Disclosure (justice.gc.ca).

As announced in Budget 2024, Women and Gender Equality Canada will support 2SLGBTQI+ not-for-profit organizations by investing $12M over five years, as an additional investment to be delivered through the 2SLGBTQI+ Projects Fund to build and sustain community resilience against hate and discrimination. 

Beyond the Federal 2SLGBTQI+ Action Plan

Beyond what was announced in the Action Plan, the Government of Canada has made sure to embed 2SLGBTQI+ considerations in additional initiatives. It lifted the blood donation ban on men who have sex with men (effective as of September 2022). It provided $1.5M in emergency funding to help pride organizations cover increasing security costs at Pride events in 2023. As announced in Budget 2024, Women and Gender Equality Canada will also deliver $3M in funding over two years to help offset increased security costs for Pride events throughout Canada. It announced $25M to create Canada's first-ever 2SLGBTQI+ Entrepreneurship Program. It partnered with non-profit organization Rainbow Railroad to protect 2SLGBTQI+ refugees and welcome them to Canada. It announced an initial commitment to modernize the Employment Equity Act, which includes the creation of a new designated group for 2SLGBTQI+ people.

Page details

Date modified: