Fredericton among top Canadian cities for 'gender diversity,' according to census data

·4 min read
According to new census data, 0.6 per cent of people 15 and older in Fredericton identify as either transgender or non-binary in the 2021 census. (Travis Kingdon/CBC - image credit)
According to new census data, 0.6 per cent of people 15 and older in Fredericton identify as either transgender or non-binary in the 2021 census. (Travis Kingdon/CBC - image credit)

Fredericton ranks among the top cities in the country for the number of people who identify as either transgender or non-binary, according to newly released Statistics Canada data.

Results from the federal agency's 2021 census show that 0.6 per cent of people 15 and older in the Fredericton census metropolitan area identify as either transgender or non-binary — almost double the national average of 0.33 per cent.

With 63,116 people living in Fredericton as of 2021, it means roughly 379 individuals identify as either transgender or non-binary.

It puts Fredericton behind only Halifax and Victoria, B.C., with 0.66 per cent and 0.75 per cent of their populations identifying as transgender or non-binary, respectively.

The statistics, released Wednesday, are the first of their kind to be recorded and shared by the federal agency, and advocates for LGBTQ+ rights say it provides a powerful tool for showing the need for enhanced services for transgender and non-binary people.

"I remember talking at conferences, you know, in 2017 and saying, like, I didn't think that there were this many people that needed this service in such a small province," said Dr. Adrian Edgar, medical director at Clinic 554 in Fredericton.

"And if you ask me that question now, I would say that the need is so great in not just Fredericton, but New Brunswick and the Atlantic provinces."

Hadeel Ibrahim/CBC
Hadeel Ibrahim/CBC

Up until 2019, his clinic offered services such as hormone replacement therapy for patients transitioning genders, along with other reproductive health-care procedures such as abortions.

However, due to the provincial government's refusal to fund abortions outside of hospitals, Edgar was forced to put Clinic 554 up for sale, and had to stop taking on new transgender patients.

With the new Statistics Canada data, Edgar said he hopes people get a better understanding of how great the need is for health-care and other services for transgender people.

"I think it's going to help us really kind of cross examine where are the gaps in terms of employment, healthcare, you know, education.

"Like, it's just going to allow us to give so much more nuance to what the lived experiences of people from a gender diverse community."

When respondents filled out the national census last year, Statistics Canada, for the first time in its history, asked respondents to record not just their sex at birth, but also their chosen gender, in a move the agency says addresses "an important information gap on gender diversity."

They were also able to choose "Other" and were given a box to provide their own entry.

"These data can be used by public decision makers, employers, and providers of health care, education, justice, and other services to better meet the needs of all men and women—including transgender men and women—and non-binary people in their communities," said Statistics Canada, in a report it released on the data.

The new data specifically showing Fredericton's high proportion of gender diversity comes as no surprise to Nicki Lyons-MacFarlane, chair of Imprint Youth Association, which offers support sessions and does advocacy work for the local LGBTQ+ community in the city.

New Brunswick is lacking in a lot of trans health care - Nicki Lyons-MacFarlane, chair of Imprint Youth Association

One of the projects Imprint Youth has been working on develops training for primary care providers on how to offer health care to transgender and gender-diverse patients.

"I am really hoping that this does support and enforce the need that we have here in this province," Lyons-MacFarlane said.

"New Brunswick is, is lacking in a lot of trans health care... but I'm really hoping that this does bring forward more change for the positive that we need in this province."

As part of its analysis of the new data, Statistics Canada says respondents in the Generation Z and Millennial cohort were up to seven times more likely to identify as transgender or non-binary compared to older respondents.

It also says that the cities with the highest proportion of gender diversity, including Fredericton, had larger proportions of people aged 15 to 34 years old than the national average, and were home to several major colleges and universities.

"... since students tend to be younger, this could explain the proportionally higher presence of transgender and non-binary people in these urban centres."

The overall percentage of people 15 and older who identified as transgender or non-binary in New Brunswick was 0.34 per cent, about the national average.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting