Canada’s Unions call for action against homophobia, transphobia and biphobia during COVID-19 crisis

May 17, 2020

On this International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOBIT), Canada’s unions are calling on the federal government to support 2SLGBTQI organizations struggling with the impacts of the current crisis.

2SLGBTQI peoples are more vulnerable to discrimination, violence, harassment and stigma on the basis of sexuality and gender identity right now. The lockdown makes it more difficult to find support and to escape a less than accepting situation at home.

“COVID-19 has amplified the inequities in our society, including the discrimination faced by 2SLGBTQI peoples,” said Larry Rousseau, Executive Vice-President of the Canadian Labour Congress. “We may all be practicing social distancing, but that doesn’t mean marginalized communities are less impacted by the reality of homophobic, transphobic and biphobic intolerance and violence.”

As the first waves of lockdown hit communities across Canada, over 100 2SLGBTQI organizations sounded the alarm in a letter addressed to Canada’s federal government.

According to data collected by Egale, 53 per cent of Canada’s 2SLGBTQI households have been impacted by job losses since mid-March, compared to 39 per cent of the general population. Further, 42 per cent of 2SLGBTQI respondents to Egale’s recent survey said they have experienced negative mental health impacts due to the added stress, compared to 30 per cent of the general public.

“We need action from the federal government to support 2SLGBTQI organizations dealing with an increase in demand from community members struggling with a lack of resources due to the pandemic,” continued Rousseau. “We also need federal and provincial governments to mandate collection of disaggregated data across Canada to give health officials and policy makers a greater understanding of the disproportionate impact of this pandemic on marginalized communities, including 2SLGBTQI people.”

Learn more about the specific impacts of COVID-19 on 2SLGBTQI communities in Canada here, and learn more about the history of IDAHOBIT here.

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