Gay pride. by the numbers — A few comments (inserted between the lines of and after the article from Statistics Canada that is quoted in the following) are in order.
Gay pride. by the numbers
By Statistics Canada
[2018 05 01: The preceding link no longer functions, and it cannot be found in the Internet Archive. That appears to be true of most of StatCan’s links identified in the remainder of this blog posting. Whether or not StatCan changed the URLs for those links or deleted the web pages is immaterial. Even with intensive searching for those inaccessible documents, whether they exist in the StatCan data base or not, they are inaccessible to the general public. I indicated the non-functioning links by
lining them out. — WHS, F4L]
Each summer, gay and lesbian pride festivities are celebrated in towns and cities across Canada.
The rainbow flag that symbolizes gay and lesbian pride is just as colourful as the individuals who make up the community. Like all people in Canada, gays and lesbians are of many ethnicities, cultures and backgrounds, and have various education levels and occupations.
That those “gay and lesbian pride festivities…in towns and cities across Canada” are being celebrated each summer is not entirely a voluntary circumstance. The festivities and gay-pride parades are being imposed under influence of the full force of the federal government, whenever a mayor of a city dares to refuse to declare a gay-pride week or -parade. Costs of fines and legal fees incurred for failure to comply or for simply contesting the diktat by the federal government typically ranged from about $20,000 to about $65,000.
Mind you, the majority of Canadian mayors play along without urging by the State. Statistic Canada fails to identify whether that is because a given mayor does so entirely voluntarily or on account of fear of punishment. Still, although some Canadian mayors (e. g.: London, Kelowna, and Edmonton) resisted the federal pressure, they eventually buckled and followed the federal mandate to declare gay-pride festivities.
Still, some private organizations, that at first glance and logically appear to be pro-heterosexual, most definitely and eagerly participate because their sympathies openly lean in that direction. Take, for example,
Fathers 4 Justice (Canada) [2018 05 01: Today, that link leads to a web page which has nothing to do with Fathers 4 Justice (Canada). The organization does not appear to exist anymore. Here is a link to an archived copy of the web page, dated 2008 09 20.] with the rainbow-coloured background in their side-bar menu, who for three years in a row entered a float in the Vancouver Gay Pride parade [2018 05 01: That link no longer functions, and the web page was not archived]. Of course, that carries a price. The popularity ranking for their website is a dismally low 12,466,650th place of all websites in the world (three-month average ranking as of 2008 09 10) [That link no longer functions, apparently the domain had been abandoned by 2013].
Rainbow colours are common. They show up in every rainbow and are most definitely not a gay monopoly.
The presence of a rainbow as part of the display on a parade float is not necessarily a sign of support for gay pride, as shown in the photo of the float of the Bruderheim Moravian Church in the parade that was part of the Bruderheim Centennial celebrating the hundredth year of the incorporation of the village (now a town) of Bruderheim.
Here are some selected numbers on assorted topics related to gay life in Canada.
Same-sex couples across Canada
How many gay, lesbian and bisexual persons are there in Canada?
Statistics Canada does not have the definitive number of people whose sexual orientation is “gay” or “lesbian” or “bi”, but the agency does attempt to quantify some estimates in various surveys.
Nevertheless, a little farther down in their article, Statistics Canada do identify percentage figures for Canadians in the age range of 18 to 59 who declared themselves to be either gay or bi-sexual (1% and 0.7%, respectively).
Given that, a little farther down in its article, StatCan also identifies that of all Canadians 18 and older 1.5 percent identify themselves as being homosexual (gay or lesbian), it would seem that homosexual orientation is for a substantial portion of the gay population a matter of choice that is not necessarily fixed at birth but varies with age.
The Census, however, does count same-sex couples, both married and common-law.
Half of all same-sex couples in Canada lived in the three largest census metropolitan areas (CMA):
21.2% — The proportion of all same-sex couples who resided in Toronto in 2006.
18.4% — The proportion of all same-sex couples who resided in Montréal in 2006.
10.3% — The proportion of all same-sex couples who resided in Vancouver in 2006.
2006 Census: Families, marital status, households and dwelling characteristics“, The Daily, Wednesday, September 12, 2007.
That StatCan publication identifies that “In 2006, same-sex couples represented 0.6% of all couples in Canada. This is comparable to data from New Zealand (0.7%) and Australia (0.6%).”
Want to know how many same-sex couples (both married and common-law) are in your province, territory or CMA? Consult this 2006 Census Highlight table on Families and households:
See also: “Table 3: Persons in same-sex unions by broad age groups and sex” in Families and Households Highlight Tables, 2006 Census.
45,300 — The number of same-sex couples in 2006. Of these, about 7,500 (16.5%) were married couples and 37,900 (83.5%) were common-law couples.
53.7% — The proportion of same-sex married spouses who were men.
46.3% — The proportion of same-sex married spouses who were women.
Source: 2006 Census, Family Portrait: Continuity and Change in Canadian Families and Households in 2006.
See also: 2006 Census information on same-sex common-law and married couples; 2006 Census, Marital status.
774 — The approximate number of same-sex marriages in British Columbia in 2003, representing 3.5% of all marriages in the province that year. Nearly 55% were female couples and roughly 46% were male couples.
A Canadian first
Canadian Community Health Survey(CCHS), Cycle 2.1, was the first Statistics Canada survey to include a question on sexual orientation.
1.0% — The percentage of Canadians aged 18 to 59 who reported that they consider themselves to be homosexual (gay or lesbian).
0.7% — The percentage of Canadians aged 18 to 59 who reported that they consider themselves to be bisexual.
Several concepts can be used to measure sexual orientation. These include behaviour, that is, whether a person’s partner or partners are of the same or the opposite sex, and identity, that is, whether a person considers himself or herself to be heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual.
The CCHS uses the concept of identity. Data from other countries suggest that the number of people who consider themselves to be homosexual is much smaller than the number who report having had sexual relations with someone of the same sex. However, people are more willing to answer questions about identity than about behaviour.
Canadian Community Health Survey“, The Daily, Tuesday June 15, 2004.
Sexual orientation and victimization
According to the 2004
General Social Survey(GSS), gays, lesbians and bisexuals reported experiencing higher rates of violent victimization including sexual assault, robbery and physical assault, than did their heterosexual counterparts.
The number of gays, lesbians and bisexuals who felt they had experienced discrimination was about 3 times higher than that of heterosexuals. Furthermore, 78% of gays and lesbians who experienced discrimination believed it was because of their sexual orientation compared to 29% of bisexuals and 2% of heterosexuals.
1.5% — The proportion of Canadians aged 18 years and over who identified themselves in the GSS as being homosexual (gay or lesbian).
94% — The proportion of Canadians aged 18 years and over who identified themselves in the GSS as being heterosexual.
5% — The percentage of respondents to the GSS who did not state their sexual orientation.
1 in 10 — The proportion of hate crimes that were motivated by sexual orientation.
56% — The proportion of all hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation that are marked by violence. This percentage was higher than the proportion of incidents motivated by race/ethnicity (38%) or religion (26%). Common assault was the most frequent type of violent offence.
As a result, incidents motivated by sexual orientation were more likely than other types of hate crime incidents to result in physical injury to victims.
Study: Hate-motivated crime“, The Daily, Monday, June 9, 2008.
More likely — The probability that gay men, when compared with heterosexual men, would have consulted a medical specialist or mental health service provider.
Less likely — The probability that lesbians, when compared with heterosexual women, would see a family doctor or undergo a Pap test.
Study: Health care use among gay, lesbian and bisexual Canadians“, The Daily, Wednesday, March 19, 2008.
31.4% ” The proportion of homosexuals and bisexuals who reported that they were physically active in 2003, compared with 25.4% of heterosexuals.
According to the Canadian Community Health Survey, homosexuals and bisexuals are more likely than heterosexuals to find life stressful.
Canadian Community Health Survey“, The Daily, Tuesday, June 15, 2004.
3% — The percentage of all male same-sex couples who had children aged 24 and under living in the home in 2006.
16% —The percentage of all female same-sex couples who had children aged 24 and under living in the home in 2006.
Same-sex couples represented less than 1% of all couples (married and common-law) in Canada.
2006 Census: Families, marital status, households and dwelling characteristics“, The Daily, Wednesday, September 12, 2007.
Less “than 1% of all couples (married and common-law) in Canada” is a bit of an overstatement. StatCan could easily have been more precise, as its figures presented in their article and related documentation quite clearly permit to calculate that, given that there were 7,059,830 couple families, 45,300 same-sex families comprise 0.64% or two-thirds of one percent of all couple families. It would have been more appropriate for StatCan to mention that same-sex couples represented the far more precise two-thirds of one percent than the imprecise “less than 1% of all couples (married and common-law) in Canada.”
9% ” The percentage of married same-sex male couples who had children in the home in 2006. Less than 2% of men in same-sex common-law unions had children.
24.5% ” The percentage of married same-sex female couples who had children in the home in 2006. Less than 15% of women in same-sex common-law unions had children.
You want to know what?!?
Times change — and so do the questions asked by Canada’s national statistical agency.
- The 2001 Census was the first census in Canada to provide data on same-sex partnerships.
- The 2003
Vital Statistics – Marriage Databasewas the first source of data on same-sex married couples in Canada.
- The 2003
Canadian Community Health Survey(Cycle 2.1) was the first Statistics Canada survey to include a question on sexual orientation.
- The 2006 Census also included a question on same-sex common-law partnerships.
- Consultations are under way for the content of the 2011 Census, including the questions on same-sex married couples.
Statistics Canada goes to great lengths in assuring its questions–including those questions related to sexual orientation–are relevant and feasible.
In testing questions targeted to specialized populations, Statistics Canada found that the positive rapport between the agency and with various groups and individuals, coupled with assurances of anonymity, contribute to respondents feeling very comfortable with the interviewing arrangements.
This trust has led to a situation where respondents are willing to reveal personal details about their lives, and to answer questions honestly.
The consultations on questions with specialized populations also provided many useful insights into the issues being investigated.
For information on this page or more data, contact
At any rate, it appears that, all official claims, assertions and expectations to the contrary, concerns about Canada becoming more and more a homosexual nation or that homosexuals represent an important, very influential and rapidly growing sector of the electorate are vastly overrated. It is recommended to read the document identified by the second-last link in the StatCan article, Experiences in testing questionnaires with specialized populations.
It is difficult and even impossible to understand why Canada’s gays should require “
Innovative Methods for Surveying Difficult-to-reach Populations“. Given that census forms and Gay-Pride parades have become ubiquitous in Canada, the assumption that Canada’s gays are difficult to reach is incredulous and appears to be a figment of StatCan’s imagination. Canadian Gays are no more difficult to reach than are any other Canadians. In fact, it seems that they are somewhat easier to reach than other Canadians.
The methods described for sample selection as per
Innovative Methods for Surveying Difficult-to-reach Populations raise concern that a selected population sample is not representative of the general population of Canadian gays. Even though any survey results will reflect attributes of the selected survey sample, the rules of the mathematics of statistics do not permit to draw from them any conclusions about the population from which the sample was selected. The fact that such a sample is not randomly selected does not permit the projection of any survey results found in the sample to the population from which the sample was selected.