NORTHERN EXPOSURE

POLL: 5% Of Canadians Are LGBT, And A Third Of Them Are Married

A comprehensive poll commissioned by Canada’s National Post is providing a unprecedented snapshot of our neighbor to the north’s LGBT community.

Among the findings of the survey, conducted by Forum Research: 74% say they know someone who is LGBT, 28% say that person is in their own family, and a whopping two-third support marriage equality.

The poll also found that a third of the country’s gays and lesbians are in same-sex marriages.

“Social scientists have never been able to pin down how many Canadians are LGBT, but we believe this is the best estimate to date,” said Forum Research president Lorne Bozinoff. “This is something people want to know; they’re curious. And now is the time to measure it: people are less reluctant to answer the question, so we can actually ask it.”

The official statistics bureau, Statistics Canada, attempted to determine how many residents were LGBT in 2009, but came up with only 2% of adults 18-59. Sociologists say that rate was likely under-reported because some people were suspicious about how Ottawa would use the information.

Reports the Post:

But the new Forum poll reveals much about Canada’s gay community and how the community interacts with straight Canadians, at times confirming what was widely believed true and other times offering fresh insight on how age, gender, income and region can affect a person’s experience with the gay community.

Younger Canadians are far more likely to say they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender than older Canadians, with 10% of those aged 18 to 34 answering the question with a “yes,” compared to 2% or 3% in the four older age categories.

The survey also found that Canadians in rural areas like Manitoba or Saskatchewan are less likely to know someone who is LGBT and—not surprisingly—are less likely to support same-sex marriage.

Of course, you never know how many people are in the closet. To encourage subjects to answer honestly, Forum Research used a computer, the Interactive Voice Response, to take responses. The IVR machine randomly dialed 2,694 people in June, allowing them to answer by pressing 1 for “yes” or 2 for “no.” “We thought people would be more frank with us that way,” said Bozinoff.


Below: the complete findings of the National Post poll