Statistics Canada Open Letter

To whom it may concern,

I am a woman who was Assigned Male At Birth (AMAB), as such I have masculine traits that have lead to many psychologically damaging impacts on me and my well being. I am hurt every time I am misgendered or attacked and I will be pursuing surgeries to help end this constant danger. I, like many other people in the trans community, do not have easy access to the money required to feel safe in my own body or behind my own face due to gender dysphoria and social bais.

Gender Dysphoria is a life threatening condition that affects anywhere from 0.1 to 3% of the global population. More localized studies suggest that 0.3 to 0.7% percent of people in Canada are open about being trans. It is hard to have a more complete picture as Statistics Canada currently does not collect information outside of the binary of male or female.

The rate of suicide in the trans community is significantly higher than the cis community. As a result the amount of trans people who are refused housing is significantly higher than cis people. Social agencies judge people based on how masculine or feminine they look or sound and this is a barrier that prevents them from accessing shelter and security. The amount of trans individuals who are attacked or sexually assaulted is significantly higher than the cis population because of ignorance, anger, discrimination, and many other discriminatory behaviours. Trans individuals have a higher probability of becoming sex workers in order to afford the shelter they have been refused, the medication they may need to be themselves, or basic necessities like food. We have cursory data relating to these concerns, but more data outside of the binary could show the struggles that trans people face in greater detail.

Even though the Government of Canada plans on counting people outside of the gender binary during the next census in 2021, trans people must be counted sooner. Presently, Statistics Canada, along with Statistical Survey Operations, does not collect this information in any of their surveys that happen year round. These surveys include, but aren’t limited to, the Labour Force Survey, the Canadian Community Health Survey, and the Survey of Household Spending.

If 0.3 to 0.7% of the people in Canada are trans but 0.0% are counted, how can any agency get reliable information to help many people in the community? I am asking as a citizen of Canada, and as an AMAB woman, that trans people be counted as people much sooner than census 2021. With more data, Canada can become more inclusive to a greater amount of people. With more data, Canadians can gain a greater knowledge on the diversity of sex, sexuality, gender identity, and gender expression.

The benefits of collecting this data could mean help in preventing things like suicide and homelessness, while adding more security for people in the trans community. For many, it is not a question of “if” they are going to commit suicide, it is “when.” It is not a question of “am I going to be homeless?”, it is “when will I next have a bed and or meal?” It is not a question of “is this john going to be safe?”, it is “I hope I am not hurt tonight.” It is not a question of “am I going to be attacked in public?”, it is “how will I get away?”

No one regardless of the gender identity, expression, or any other factors should have to ask themselves these questions. Please do your part to ensure that those individuals who identify somewhere on the trans spectrum are treated with the full dignity and respect they deserve. Knowing numbers and statistics will aid to get more of the much needed resources.

Thank you for your time,

Reann Legge

I use the pronouns She/Her