Although Canadians are broadly supportive of LGBTQ2S+ people and issues, they are less likely to engage in behaviors that demonstrate a true ally to the community, according to a new poll conducted for PKBNEWS.
The majority of Canadians – 78 per cent – believe transgender people should be protected from discrimination in employment, housing and access to businesses. Seventy-four percent think same-s*x couples should have the same rights to adopt children as opposite-s*x couples. However, the latest poll conducted by Ipsos reveals that only one in ten people consider themselves an active ally of the queer community.
Just under half (47 percent) of Canadians express some degree of support, either because they see themselves as active allies and/or committed members of the community (10 percent), or because they support the LGBTQ2S+ community, but do not actively engage. in alliance (37 percent).
And regardless of how people view their ally or supporter status, the poll also found that there is a noticeable gap between general support and active engagement.
Less than half of 1,000 Canadians surveyed said they would be likely to engage in forms of active support, such as signing petitions (46 per cent), speaking out against homophobic or transphobic comments online (48 per cent) or attend a rally in support of the queer community (32 percent.)
“When you get past that kind of superficial support and start getting into systems of specific areas of support and things that people should be doing, that’s when you start to see things get a little softer,” Darrell Bricker, Ipsos CEO of Public Affairs told PKBNEWS.
Bricker says polls have shown this “slowdown” in support over the past few years and points to a number of factors at play.
“Most people have a live-and-let-live perspective and they just want to leave it at that. They don’t necessarily feel they have to go beyond that,” he explained.
Additionally, he says an increase in hate and vitriol directed at the queer community and its supporters in recent years has kept allies away from overt signs of public support, as they themselves “could be a bit more worried about possible negative reactions”.
The perils of silence
Kojo Modeste, executive director of Pride Toronto, says growing silence from allies is allowing overt hatred and opposition to the queer community to grow.
“I think people are afraid of negative reactions; the reaction they see in the workplace, the reaction they see in the schools, from their neighbours. As a result, people say, “I support the community, but I don’t want to get involved.” And that’s why I believe the hate we are witnessing continues to grow, not diminish,” Modeste told PKBNEWS.
Perhaps more people would be willing to engage in an active alliance if they were better informed about how to talk about difficult issues or stand up to people with different opinions using tactics that open up a conversation. , instead of closing them, says Carmen Logie, Canada. Research Chair in Healthy Global Equity and Associate Professor at the University of Toronto.
“What I think might be difficult is the lack of ability to talk about differences and accept that people can make mistakes. And we have to call people instead of calling them.
Logie also explains that definitions of alliance can be murky, and while some people may see their appreciation for certain facets of queer culture, a fondness for shows like Ru Paul’s Drag Racefor example, or attending LGBTQ2S+ events, but only during Pride month – as a form of ally, the queer community needs active forms of support, all year round.
However, the Ipsos poll reveals that certain groups of Canadians are more willing than others to speak out on behalf of the LGBTQ2S+ community.
Canadian women and youth are “significantly” more likely to demonstrate meaningful and active support for the queer community – not surprisingly, given that recent research by the firm has shown that people from these groups are more likely to identify themselves as LGBTQ2S+ and say they have. an LGBTQ2S+ friend, relative or co-worker.
And, with the exception of attending a rally or donating to an LGBTQ2S+ charity, the likelihood of showing support tends to be higher among Canadians with a post-secondary or university education than among graduates. high school or those with less education.
However, support varies widely across the country, with people in certain provinces being much more likely to show a true ally. The likelihood of reporting homophobia and transphobia is highest in Quebec (55 per cent) and Atlantic Canada (56 per cent), while Albertans are most likely to say they wouldn’t it be report homophobia or transphobia online (68 percent)
“The alliance requires risks”
Across Canada, anti-LGBTQ2S+ protesters are growing bolder and their voices are getting louder, which means the queer community needs allies who come forward more frequently and fight back with more determination, Modeste says.
“When our allies are silent, it…gives extra ammunition to people attacking the community,” Modeste said, explaining that when people speak out against hate, it sends three distinct messages: a show of support for the community queer, one it sends a message to the perpetrators of these acts: bigotry will not be tolerated and, thirdly, it sends a message to Canadian politicians.
“When we speak up, it shows our lawmakers that we don’t agree with the haters and won’t allow them to sit idly by.” »
And while Modeste maintains that public and vocal support sends the strongest message, there are other ways to support the queer community that also have a big impact.
“Support is not always such an important and public thing. It can take the form of, you know, very private, very intimate, personal, out of the public eye ways of supporting people,” a gender and s****lity researcher at Columbia University Briton, who wished to remain anonymous after being the target of recent online attacks by anti-LGBTQ2S+ activists, told PKBNEWS.
He added that it should be recognized that, like being queer, a*sociating with the queer community carries risks; sometimes it’s just not safe to speak up, especially when it could lead to workplace repercussions, targeted online hate campaigns, or a threat to someone’s emotional or physical safety.
“There are other kinds of life-saving support that are just as important – like creating safe places for your queer friends, letting them know they can turn to you for help, being there for them. when the going gets tough and they need a hug or hug. someone to talk to.”
Despite the somewhat disheartening numbers from Ipsos polls, Logie hopes Canadians will increasingly speak out on behalf of the LGBTQ2S+ community and says it’s never too late for anyone to pledge to be a stronger ally.
“I don’t think Canadians want to live in an environment where there is overt or even covert homophobia and transphobia,” she said, adding that there are many different ways to stand up for the less marginalized and that expressions of solidarity will be unique. to each individual.
She said supporting as an ally starts with stepping out of your echo chamber and learning about issues of gender, s****lity and queer identity. From there, people can figure out how they want to get involved – maybe educating others, maybe volunteering with an LGTBQ2S+ organization or maybe helping circulate petitions or attending events to show their support.
“Whatever alliance brands you choose, they all have their place and they all help to create a better world for everyone.”
About the study
Ipsos conducted its survey between June 20 and 21, 2023 on behalf of PKBNEWS. For this survey, a sample of 1,000 Canadians aged 18 and over was interviewed. Quotas and weighting were used to ensure that the composition of the sample reflected that of the Canadian population according to census parameters. The accuracy of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ±3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, if all Canadians aged 18 and over had been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including but not limited to coverage error and measurement error.