Vancouver Island Transgender Needs Assessment

In 2010-2011, the Vancouver Island Transgender Needs Assessment, a community-based, applied research project, sought to identify the health and social needs of trans people on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. An advisory board consisting of trans-identified community members and trans-service providers guided this descriptive analysis. The design of the study reflected input received from members of trans communities and trans-service providers on Vancouver Island in 2009.

Two research questions guided the study:

  • What are the needs of trans individuals and communities on Vancouver Island?
  • From the perspective of trans individuals, to what degree are these needs being met?

A total of 54 individuals identifying as transgender participated in a survey modeled after the TransPULSE Ontario instrument. Of the participants, 43% identified on the transmasculine spectrum, 39% on the transfeminine spectrum, and 18% as transgender/ genderqueer only. Participants were surveyed in regard to education, employment, and income; housing; health care needs and services; suicidality; violence; life satisfaction and attitudes toward self; post-transition experiences; and community belonging. They reported health care, social support, and public education/acceptance as top needs.

The project was supported by the advice and feedback of Aaron H. Devor, Jordan Duffy, Gail Knudson, Theo Jakob Naven, Lenore Newman, Bernard Schissel, Liam (Captain) Snowdon, Lucretia Van Den Berg, and Julian Young. Members of the TransPULSE Ontario Project generously lent their expertise to this project. Royal Roads University provided internal grant support.

The project would not have been possible without the participants, who were willing to give their time to participate in this project and who helped recruit others to participate.

The findings were published in a peer-reviewed SAGE Open article:

heinz, m. & MacFarlane, D. (2013). Island lives: A trans community needs assessment for Vancouver Island. It is available online at or can be obtained by emailing matthew heinz at

Findings were also presented at community meetings and presentations to island educators and service providers as well as at the Canadian Professional Association for Transgender Health conference. A web site dedicated to Vancouver Island transgender resources was created as a direct result of the project and maintained for seven years before it became part of the University of Victoria’s Transgender Chair website.