Institute for Sexual Minority Studies & Services

CPHO State of Public Health in Canada 2011

2011 report — Youth and Young Adults: Life in Transition — draws a disturbing conclusion: While, in general, Canadian youth and young adults comprise a healthy and resilient population, SGM (sexual and gender minority) individuals are disproportionately represented among those young persons who are not thriving.

In sum, the report indicates that these youth are at inordinate risk of experiencing physical and electronic bullying, verbal and sexual harassment, and physical violence in key life spaces including families, schools, and communities. SGM youth are also more likely to ideate about, attempt, or complete suicide.

In the face of these stressors and risks, they also experience more comprehensive health problems, which the report states are exacerbated by a lack of adequate and appropriate health and educational policies, health and social services, protective measures, and educational and community programs.

Linking health and education, the report accentuates the importance of school-based comprehensive health education and interventions, which need to start early and consider the histories, social and cultural attributes, and sexual and gender differences that locate SGM youth as a multivariate population.