Religious symbols, disability more likely to incite discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation

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      Some things seem to trigger people, making them nasty toward others.

      Like seeing someone wear a religious symbol.

      Or noticing the other person lives with a disability.

      A new Statistics Canada study shows wearing religious items and disability are more likely to incite discrimination against postsecondary students based on their gender, gender identity or sexual orientation.

      The paper was written by Marta Burczycka of the Canadian Centre for Justice and Community Safety Statistics.

      The study titled "Students’ experiences of discrimination based on gender, gender identity or sexual orientation at postsecondary schools in the Canadian provinces, 2019" was released Tuesday (September 15).

      The paper stated that students who indicated that they sometimes (20 percent) or usually (20 percent) wore a visible religious symbol experienced a “higher prevalence” of discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender or gender identity, compared to students who did not wear such items (16 percent).

      Religious items mentioned include a head scarf and turban.

      “This reflected the experience of men in the postsecondary environment, more so than women students,” Murczycka wrote.

      According to the author, women who sometimes (22 percent), usually (22 percent) or never (20 percent) wore a visible religious symbol “experienced discrimination based on gender, gender identity or sexual orientation in similar proportions”.

      Among men, those who sometimes (17 percent) or usually (17 percent) wore a visible symbol associated with their religion had a “slightly higher prevalence of having experienced discrimination than men who did not wear such a symbol (13%)”.

      Burczycka likewise wrote that students who reported that they lived with some form of disability were also “overrepresented”.

      The author noted that a quarter or 24 percent indicated that they had experienced discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender or gender identity, compared to 13 percent of students who do not have a disability.

      Students belonging to a visible minority group have an easier time.

      According to Burczycka, students who identified as members of a visible minority group were “slightly less likely to have experienced discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation (16%) than students who did not identify as a visible minority”.

      The author also wrote that discrimination based on gender, gender identity or sexual orientation was “as common among First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students as it was among those who were not Indigenous”.

      As for the overall picture, close to half or 47 percent of students at Canadian postsecondary institutions “witnessed or experienced discrimination on the basis of gender, gender identity or sexual orientation (including actual or perceived gender, gender identity or sexual orientation)” in 2019.

      “Experiences of discrimination on the basis of gender, gender identity or sexual orientation in the postsecondary setting were more common for students who identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual or with another sexual orientation other than heterosexual (LGB+),” Burczycka wrote.

      In addition, the author noted that “LGB+ students were also more likely than their non-LGB+ counterparts to experience impacts on their emotional and mental health”.

      “This kind of discrimination was also more common for transgender students,” Burczycka stated.

      More details here.

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