The Health of LGBTQIA2 Communities in Canada

The lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex, asexual and two-spirit (LGBTQIA2) communities in Canada experience numerous health inequities. That is why, between 28 February and 9 May 2019, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health undertook a study on the health of LGBTQIA2 communities and ways to reduce these health inequities. During this study, the Committee heard from 33 witnesses and received 44 briefs. The Committee also travelled to Montreal, Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver where it met with organizations that provide health services to LGBTQIA2 communities.

Over the course of the study, the Committee learned that health inequities are experienced differently by each of the LGBTQIA2 communities, but in general, these communities are more likely than heterosexual Canadians to develop mental health disorders, have suicidal thoughts and attempt suicide. Witnesses told the Committee that lesbian and bisexual women are more likely than heterosexual women to suffer from chronic diseases such as arthritis and that gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (gbMSM) are at greater risk of being diagnosed with anal cancer or infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) than their heterosexual counterparts.

In its report, the Committee notes that a number of factors contribute to the health inequities experienced by LGBTQIA2 communities, including discrimination and stigmatization. The Committee also emphasizes that health inequities among LGBTQIA2 communities are exacerbated when other identity factors and determinants of health—such as age, ethnic origin, income and access to health care—intersect with gender identity and sexual orientation.

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