Gays At Higher Risk Of Violent Assault: StatsCan
A Statistics Canada study released this week reports that gays and lesbians in Canada are nearly twice as likely to experience violent assault than heterosexuals.
Kathleen Lahey, a researcher at Queen’s University in Ontario, is unsurprised:
The research that was done on this issue previously in Canada has disclosed, surprisingly, very high results in all categories [of violence], ranging from extreme assault resulting in death, way to the other end of the continuum, which is threatening behaviour in public, including spitting, saying derogatory comments and so on.
While this isn’t really news, most previous studies attributed higher levels of violence to assumptions about “lifestyle,” comparable to how young people, singles, and those who go out at night are more likely to experience violence. Stats Canada’s study, on the other hand, shows that sexual orientation still resulted in higher victimization rates, even when those factors were taken into account.
Lahey attributed this directly to homophobia:
It is important to have these figures, because it helps erase the denial about how tolerant and equal Canadian society is.
There is an increased perception that all must be well with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and transsexual individuals in Canada. But, as people who live these lives know, that is not true.
It’s sad news, given Canada’s advancements in human rights—but as long as there are groups denouncing the existence of gay people, there will be those who listen to that message and react violently.
Despite the increased threat of violence, however, gay people are not living in fear. Over 90% of gay people said they were either “somewhat” or “very satisfied” with their safety level, a proportion nearly identical to heterosexuals.
- Experts fear violence against gays, lesbians under-reported [Canada.com]
- Sexual orientation a factor in violence: Statscan [Globe and Mail]