A recent survey by online security experts vpnMentor indicates nearly three-quarters of 2SLGBTQ+ people have experienced cyberbullying.
The survey of almost 700 two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and other individuals worldwide revealed 73 per cent had experienced personal attacks or harassment online.
The findings are part of the basis for vpnMentor’s new resource The LGBTQ+ Guide to Online Safety.
Many 2SLGBTQ+ people find community and helpful resources online, but the Internet can also fuel homophobic and transphobic messages, sexual harassment, death threats and even physical violence when individuals’ real names and addresses are revealed. Some of vpnMentor’s tips to stay safe online include blocking and reporting abusive users, using pseudonyms, increasing privacy settings, customizing who can see each of your posts, and meeting new online friends or dates in public spaces.
CMHA Ontario has researched the impact of mental health, discrimination and the social determinants of health on 2SLGBTQ+ people and identified they have higher rates of mental health and substance use problems than the general population. Information and resources can be found here.
Additionally, 2SLGBTQ+ youth are at a very high risk of suicide and substance use problems compared to heterosexual youth. CMHA Ontario has published a mental health guide for 2SLGBTQ+ youth, which includes crisis services, medical transition services, mental health supports and resources for families and service providers, available here.