Emerging international evidence indicates the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated socioeconomic and health challenges faced by transgender (trans) and non-binary populations globally. This qualitative study is among the first to characterize impacts of the pandemic on these groups in Canada.
Drawing on data from the Trans PULSE Canada survey (
N= 820), we used thematic analysis to examine the free-form responses of 697 participants to one open-ended question on impacts of the pandemic. We first organized responses into descriptive themes, and then used this preliminary analytical process to construct more refined, higher order themes that provided a rich account of the pandemic’s impacts. Results
Our results are organized into five themes that highlight the pandemic’s impacts on trans and non-binary populations in Canada. These include: (1) reduced access to both gender-affirming and other healthcare, (2) heightened financial, employment, and housing precarity, (3) strained social networks in an era of physical distancing and virtual communication, (4) an intensification of safety concerns, and (5) changes in experiences of gender affirmation.
Our findings highlight the pandemic’s systemic impacts on the lives of trans and non-binary people in domains such as healthcare, employment, and housing, and on the social networks of these groups, many of which reflect an exacerbation of pre-existing inequities. Based on our analysis, we recommend that public health researchers, policymakers, and practitioners attend to the structural impacts of the pandemic on these groups as primary sites of inquiry and intervention.