Survey to study the impact of the pandemic on 2SLGBTQQIA+ Canadians
The first trilingual national survey is being conducted on the current health status of 2SLGBTQQIA+ people in Canada to help inform decision makers and mobilize for change.
The Our Health: Pan-Canadian Survey of 2SLGBTQQIA+ Communities is now available to eligible participants. Respondents will receive a small reward for completing the survey, which will provide essential data to improve health and social services for the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community.
Spearheading the study is the Community-Based Research Center (CBRC), a Vancouver-based non-profit that was recently involved in advocating with the federal government to ban conversion therapy in the whole county. Canada passed the motion earlier this year.
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In Canada, Two-Spirit, Indigest, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, and Other Sexually and Gender Diverse (2SLGBTQQIA+) people have worse mental and physical health outcomes than cisgender heterosexual people due to systemic inequalities. Among the many barriers that contribute to this reality is the lack of information available regarding the specific health needs of 2SLGBTQQIA+ people.
“For too long, our politicians and service providers have relied on limited data about the realities of our 2SLGBTQQIA+ community. Through this broad survey asking a wide range of questions, we will gain a more complete understanding of the issues that 2SLGBTQQIA+ people face in relation to our overall health,” says lead researcher Dr. Nathan Lachowsky.
Lachowsky is an expert in epidemiology and health equity. He is currently Director of Research for CBRC, the organization responsible for carrying out the Our Health survey in collaboration with Egale Canada, The Enchanté Network and 2 Spirits in Motion Society. Its community research team knows the detrimental effects of the pandemic on the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community.
“COVID-19 continues to change the ways we work, socialize, get support and build community,” he says. “This study is not just about the challenges we face as 2SLGBTQQIA+ people, but about the ways we have shown ourselves for each other and as a community. As the circumstances of this pandemic evolve, we need data to advocate for services, programs and policies that affirm who we are and adequately meet our needs. This survey gives us the opportunity to understand and advocate for better health and well-being for 2SLGBTQQIA+ people across Canada.
Participants in the Our Health survey will have the option of receiving a COVID-19 antibody test by mail. The objective of this intervention is to collect information on the number of 2SLGBTQQIA+ people in Canada who have contracted SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). Entrants will be asked to perform a Dried Blood Spot (DBS) test and return the sample in a prepaid envelope, which will then be tested in a lab. This test is confidential and participants can decide if they want to receive the results. They can also choose to have their sample tested for HIV, Hepatitis C and/or Syphilis, and receive those results as well. This helps address reduced access to sexual health services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Survey participants who complete a DBS test will receive a small additional reward.
To ensure that the survey is able to provide enough information about the general state of health and well-being of its participants, the questions will cover a wide range of topics. Participants will be asked about their mental health, chronic health, sex life and relationships, caregiving, community connections, discrimination and violence, substance use, economic impacts, housing and how they coped with COVID-19.
“Questions about community support and social connections are good indicators of an individual’s ability to cope with difficulties,” says Lachowsky. “They give us an idea of how resilient we as 2SLGBTQQIA+ people and a community are in the face of the kind of challenges and lack of support we are experiencing during this pandemic.
In addition to focusing on COVID-19, the study worked hard to include members of the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community living with chronic health conditions (e.g. diabetes, cancer, fibromyalgia). Given that chronic health conditions are often underrepresented or less understood, and those who experience them are among the groups most severely affected by the pandemic, the emphasis on their inclusion in the survey has important implications. .
CBRC’s 2SLGBTQQIA+ Chronic Health Research Lead, Anu Radha Verma, explains, “Health research has an opportunity to use an intersectional lens ⎯ with the distinct impact of the pandemic on members of the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community living with chronic health problems. We want to honor individual and collective experiences while advocating for systemic change.
The Our Health: 2SLGBTQQIA+ Canada-wide survey is funded by the Canadian COVID-19 Immunity Task Force and the Public Health Agency of Canada, with testing support provided by the Laboratory national of microbiology.
All data collected will be used to advocate for programs, services, and policies that better support the health and well-being of 2SLGBTQQIA+ people across Canada. The survey takes approximately 30-60 minutes to complete and is available in English, French and Spanish. To participate, click here.
The Our Health: 2SLGBTQQIA+ community survey across Canada is the largest national multilingual social health survey of two-spirited people, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual and other sexually and gender diverse ( 2SLGBTQQIA+). It is made possible through the work of a large team of researchers and community partners, and support from the Community Research Center (CBRC), Egale, Enchanted Network and 2 Spirits in Motion.
CBRC promotes the health of people of diverse sexualities and genders through research and the development of interventions.
Click here for more information.
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