Research News: Racialized trans and non-binary Canadians report increased harassment and violence

By Crystal Mackay, MA'05

For the first time, researchers have survey results about the health and wellbeing of trans and non-binary Canadians who also identify as—or say they are perceived or treated as—people of colour.

This group faces increased levels of physical violence, harassment and sexual assault according to findings from the newest report from Trans PULSE Canada, a national collaborative community research project led by Western University and funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

TransPulseinset.jpg“This latest Trans PULSE Canada report shows racialized trans and non-binary people are similar to other trans people in many ways, for example in their levels of education and in their mental health. Where differences really jump out are in experiences of being targeted for discrimination and violence,” said Greta Bauer, PhD, Professor at Western’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry and one of the study’s principal investigators. “These are, unfortunately, common occurrences for white trans and non-binary people, but are even more common among those who are racialized.”

Almost one-quarter of the racialized trans and non-binary survey respondents experienced physical violence in the past five years, and nearly half experienced sexual harassment. Half had been harassed at work or school at some point in their lives.

Seventy-three per cent of racialized trans and non-binary respondents said they worried about being stopped or harassed by police or security, and just over 30 per cent said they had avoided calling 911 for police services when it was needed.

“The inability to move safely in society and access emergency services highlights how the risk of violence is amplified when it cannot be safely addressed," said Bauer.

The Trans PULSE Canada research team includes contributions from more than 100 community and academic researchers working on different analyses from a large national study.