[infographic] Trans and Non-Binary Youth Accessing Shelters

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Trans and Non-Binary Youth Accessing Shelters

  • 67% of trans youth reported self-harm
  • 25% of trans youth reported running away from home
  • 55% of trans people have difficulty meeting housing-related costs

Trans and non-binary youth face more discrimination than any other youth group and frequently report great difficulty accessing shelters. They often avoid shelters altogether.

Shelters are often segregated by "male" and "female" floors. Transphobia happens when youth are segregated based on how shelter staff perceive their gender, instead of how youth actually identify. Forcing a trans individual to classify themselves as a gender with which they do not identify is transphobic. It is emotionally, psychologically, mentally and physically harmful, and lead to suicide.

Rejected by shelters

Shelters are supposed to be accessible to trans, non-binary and two-spirit residents, in their self-defined gender. However, youth are often rejected by shelters and are regularly not permitted to access the shelter that matches their gender identity because shelters do not feel equipped to support trans, non-binary, or two-spirit youth.

Different needs

  • help getting ID and legal name changes
  • access to hormones or surgery

The complexity of these needs intensifies when youth are homeless, have no money and no health card. This can result in the use of unmonitored street suppliers to meet these needs, and can lead to sever health complications.

When trans and non-binary youth do not see themselves reflected in services, they feel like they do not belong. When people feel like they do not belong, they avoid services.


Abramovich, A. (2013). No Fixed Address: Young, Queer, and Restless. In. Gaetz, S., O’Grady, B., Buccieri, K., Karabanow, J., & Marsolais, A. (Eds.), Youth Homelessness in Canada: Implications for Policy and Practice. Toronto: Canadian Homelessness Research Network Press.

Bauer GR, Scheim AI, for the Trans PULSE Project Team. Transgender People in Ontario, Canada: Statistics to Inform Human Rights Policy. London, ON. 

Mottet, L., & Ohle, J. (2003). Transitioning Our Shelters: A Guide to Making Homeless Shelters Safe for Transgender People. New York: The National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute. 

Veale J, Saewyc E, Frohard-Dourlent H, Dobson S, Clark B & the Canadian Trans Youth Health Survey Research Group (2015). Canadian Trans Youth Health Survey. Vancouver, BC: University of British Columbia.

LGBTQ2S Youth Homelessness in Canada Infographic Links

Download Complete set of Infographics

LGBTQ2S Youth Homelessness in Canada

Youth Homelessness Research Findings

» Trans and Non-Binary Youth Accessing Shelters

LGBTQ2S Safe, Inclusive and Affirming Shelter Spaces

LGBTQ2S Barriers to Employment and Training

Top 10 Reasons Homeless Youth Struggle to Find Employment

Homophobic, Biphobic and Transphobic Slurs

LGBTQ2S Youth Suicide

Types of Housing Models/Programs

Family Conflict and Family Reconnection

Improving Intake Processes for LGBTQ2S Youth

Our Fostering an Inclusive Shelter Environment for LGBTQ2S Youth curriculum and infographics were developed in collaboration with Dr. Alex Abramovich and A Way Home, a national coalition dedicated to preventing, reducing and ending youth homelessness in Canada. Development of this new resource has been generously supported by TD Bank and The City of Toronto.