Why 2SLGBTQ+ Health?

2SLGBTQ+ as a health disparity population

2-Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (2SLGBTQ+) individuals experience high rates of health disparities.

As a result of social stigma and discrimination, 2SLGBTQ+ people report higher rates of mental health challenges, anxiety, and depression:

  • 2SLGBTQ+ youth are up to three times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual, cisgender peers. In an Ontario-based study, 47% of trans people aged 16-24 recently considered suicide, and 19% had attempted suicide in the past year.
  • Racialized 2SLGBTQ+ individuals have mental health needs nearly 5% higher compared to non-racialized 2SLGBTQ+ people.
  • Due to the high burden of mental and emotional distress arising from the challenges and obstacles not experienced by heterosexual, cisgender population, coping behaviours that include tobacco, alcohol and drug use are more prominent in the 2SLGBTQ+ communities.

Transgender and non-binary people populations face many of the same health-related challenges that other members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community face, while experiencing greater barriers to social inclusion and higher rates of discrimination and stigma.

Health care providers have a role in identifying and addressing these disparities. The biases of medical providers encountered in health care settings can contribute to these disparities. Due to discrimination, harassment and barriers to equitable health services, 2SLGBTQ+ communities experience:

  • higher rates of mental health concerns, including depression, anxiety and substance use;
  • lower screening rates and higher rates of certain cancers and chronic conditions; and
  • disproportionate rates of HIV among men who have sex with men and certain segments of the trans population. These rates are exacerbated by social and systemic issues such as HIV stigma, poverty, and anti-2SLGBTQ+ prejudice.

The barriers transgender people face in accessing necessary transition-related care and services are associated with poorer mental health and high rates of suicidality.

a collage of photos and quotes from LGBTQ+ people (access the quoted text in the appendix or by clicking the photo: https://ecampusontario.pressbooks.pub/inclusivehealth/back-matter/appendix/)


These stories are all too common, especially for trans and non-binary people. For more stories, take a look at the YouTube video below (5 minutes and 54 seconds). Although it depicts trans folks living in Oregon, their stories resonate with 2SLGBTQ+ individuals living in Canada and worldwide.

This video was created by the Oregonian, and copyright belongs to them. We have been made aware of a properly captioned version of this video made available through Amara.org (thank you, Cheryl Colan).

Media Attributions



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2SLGBTQ+ Healthcare Copyright © 2022 by Selinda Berg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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