Census 2021: 20,000 adults in B.C. identified as trans or non-binary

That was one of many highest proportions of any province and territory, new Census report finds

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B.C. has one of many highest proportions of individuals figuring out as transgender or gender nonbinary in Canada, in response to the 2021 Census — the primary time such info has been collected in a nationwide inhabitants survey.

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Nearly 20,000 individuals aged 18 and older in B.C. recognized as trans or nonbinary within the census — roughly 0.44 per cent of the inhabitants.

Experts stated the variety of transgender or nonbinary individuals within the nation was “vastly under-reported” however welcomed the formal recognition that Statistics Canada’s work indicated.

“We have to recognize that while this is a step forward, there are many people who still do not trust systems enough to be able to share that type of data,” stated Marni Parnas, a transgender girl and guide specializing in variety, inclusion and fairness who has labored with companies, neighborhood service organizations and governments of all ranges.

“I think it’s really significant to have formal recognition that many of us don’t simplistically adhere to binary categories,” stated Travers, a professor of sociology at SFU and writer of the guide The Trans Generation, who goes by one title. They additionally felt the census depend was under-reported.

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Image of Dr. Travers from SFU.
Travers, a professor of sociology at SFU and writer of the guide The Trans Generation. Photo by Simon Fraser University

“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” Travers stated, noting {that a} “majority of trans and nonbinary children and youth are invisible because it’s not safe for them to show themselves.”

“I think as time goes on, and as our younger people age, you’re going to also see those numbers increase,” Parnas stated. “It’s not because there’s more trans people.”

Travers agreed, saying they just lately met a retiree “who had just started her transition” at about 65 years outdated. “It’s easier now,” Travers stated the retiree informed them.

“There are not more trans and nonbinary people now than there were (in the past),” Travers stated. “We’ve always been around.”

Nearly 150,000 individuals throughout the nation recognized as transgender or nonbinary in 2021, in accordance Statistics Canada — about the identical because the inhabitants of Kelowna.

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Statistics Canada defines transgender as an individual “whose gender does not align with their gender assigned at birth.” Non-binary refers to an individual whose gender id “does not align with a binary understanding of gender, such as male or female.” The modifications got here following “extensive consultation and countrywide engagement” in an effort to “reflect societal changes” in response to Statistics Canada’s report.

Parnas known as the company’s choice to develop its definitions of gender in Canada validating.

“It took me most of my life to find the words to articulate how I felt as a child growing up,” she stated. “I never heard the word transgender. I never heard the word nonbinary. I never made a connection to my gender.”

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“It wasn’t until I was 40 that I actually said the words out loud,” she stated.

Image of Marni Parnas
Marni Parnas, a transgender girl and guide specializing in variety, inclusion and fairness. Photo by Marni Parnas

Travers stated it was “really significant to have formal recognition that many of us don’t simplistically adhere to binary (gender) categories.”

“The two-sex system is an ideological rather than a scientific concept,” they stated.

The 2021 Census was the primary time a query permitting all cisgender, transgender and nonbinary people to report their gender was included on a nationwide census. The earlier query on intercourse was amended to “sex at birth” to take care of backward compatibility.

In 2017, the Canadian Parliament amended the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Canadian Criminal Code to guard people from discrimination and hate crimes based mostly on their gender identification.

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