Canadian Trans Youth Health Survey
Halifax locals Jacqueline Gahagan & Kirk Furlotte were on the team conducting a survey of trans youth in Canada. The survey had 923 trans youth participants from all 10 provinces and one of the territories and included somewhat different questions for younger (14-18 years) and older (19-25 years) trans youth about a wide range of life experiences and behaviours that influence young people’s health. This national report is a first snapshot of survey results.
The survey is one of the first of its kind in Canada and provides an important picture of the health and well-being of trans youth. There are serious concerns that require additional attention, including the rejection faced among trans youth, discrimination and even violence within their families, at school or work, in their community, and in health care settings. Trans youth report significant stress and mental health challenges, a profound lack of safety in navigating their daily lives, barriers to supportive health care, and worrying rates of poverty.
At the same time, there are signs of hope. Many of the trans youth who participated in the survey provided thoughtful and inspiring comments about how they have navigated the complexities of gender, and the improvements in their lives when their identity has been recognized and affirmed. Some trans youth noted personal strengths and supportive relationships, and many noted helpful professionals. When young trans people felt cared about, they reported much lower levels of distress and better health. Trans youth, like all youth, need the support and care of family, friends, school staff, and other professionals, to reach their full potential as healthy adults. A number of key recommendations have emerged from our findings, and from trans youth in our trans youth advisory groups.