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Life changing support for LGBTQ2S+ youth

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In a small city without a large LGBTQ2S+ community, finding likeminded people can make a world of difference, especially to a young teenager.

Thanks to your generosity, Nanaimo LGBTQ2S+ youth now have a place to go where they can be 100% authentically themselves, while learning important life skills and building lifelong friendships.

Once a week, youth who identify as LGBTQ2S+ or who are questioning, come together to be around others who are compassionate, understanding, and accepting of their journey. Through this program, youth not only have a support network, but they also learn about healthy relationship dynamics, have role models to look up to and the opportunity to discuss what it means to identify as LGBTQ2S+ in today’s world.

 

LGTBQ2S+ Youth are more at risk

Being a teenager is difficult; being an LGBTQ2S+ teenager is even harder. Studies confirm that bullying, discrimination, and suicide rates are extremely high among LGBTQ2S+ youth in Canada:

·        33% of LGBTQ2S+ youth have attempted suicide, compared to 7% of youth in general.[1

·        40% have felt discriminated against because of their sexual orientation/gender identity;

·        74% have been a victim of bullying, threats or hurtful, unkind comments[2]

 

Stand-up and be an ally

More than ever, being an LGBTQ2S+ ally is extremely important in our society; it sets an example of respectful behaviour and let’s LGBTQ2S+ people know that they’re supported. Here are some of the ways you can be an ally[3]:

·        Listen to the experiences and perspectives of LGBTQ2S+ people and respect their opinions.

·        Seek out information and opportunities to expand your understanding.

·        Reflect on and question the stereotypes and negative assumptions held by yourself and others.

·        Avoid assuming how people identify. Listen for, or politely ask, how someone wants to be identified.

·        Intervene when you witness offensive behaviour or language.

·        Use inclusive language to ensure everyone feels welcome and respected.

·        Challenge policies, practices, and procedures that create barriers for LGBTQ2S+ people.

·        Apologize regardless of intent. Everyone makes mistakes in an ally role, what matters, is how you respond.

·        Be courageous! Don’t be afraid to learn, ask for more information and provide support.

 

Show your support for the LGBTQ2S+ community on Vancouver Island by attending Comox Valley Pride:

Comox Valley Pride July 22 – July 27

 

 


[1] Saewyc 2007
[2] Fondation Jasmin Roy survey "LGBT Realities"
[3] https://egale.ca/how-to-be-an-lgbtq-ally/