UBC launches second national survey to study health of Canadian trans youth

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      Among the most divisive and controversial flashpoints in the recent municipal elections were related to sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) issues in schools.

      However, Canadian researchers have published numerous studies that have found that both LGBT and non-LGBT students benefit from LGBT inclusion.

      A UBC–led survey of Canadian trans youth conducted from 2013 to 2014 also found that trans youth received less support at schools and homes than their cisgender peers. Further underlining the importance of acceptance and inclusion, trans youth who did have supportive families and schools demonstrated comparatively better health, particularly when it came to mental health.

      The survey identified several issues that trans youth experience but cisgender peers do not, such as transphobic discrimination related to their gender identity and higher rates of violence and harassment.

      For instance, the results revealed that almost 50 percent avoided necessary healthcare, with only 15 percent feeling comfortable with their healthcare provider in discussing their trans-specific health needs. Also, the result showed that 68 percent of trans youth neglected needed mental-health care while 34 percent did not address their physical-health care needs for reasons that included trans-negative experiences with healthcare providers.

      The Stigma and Resilience among Vulnerable Youth Centre (SARAVYC) at the University of British Columbia is leading Canadian researchers in the second national trans youth survey to examine what changes, if any, have taken place in Canada, and to expand their knowledge in this area. The study is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

      “We want to know whether trans youth feel things have gotten better in the past five years across Canada," SARAVYC principal investigator and UBC nursing professor Elizabeth Saewyc stated in a news release. "Understanding what is changing for the better—or is getting worse—can help healthcare providers, schools, and policymakers know where to focus their efforts to support trans and non-binary young people and their families.”

      Trans and non-binary youth between 14 and 25 years of age who are permanent Canadian residents can participate in the survey available online. All responses are anonymous and is available in English or French.

      Questions cover subjects such as identity; physical and emotional health, injuries, diet, sleep, and stress; safety, including abuse, violence, and discrimination; school, work, family, and community; alcohol or drug use; technology use; sports; and sex. The deadline for responses is April 30. 

      For more information, visit the SARAVYC website.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook. You can also follow the Straight's LGBT coverage on Twitter at @StraightLGBT or on Facebook.