I have been celebrating Pride for about 14 years now.
I officially came out approximately 12 years ago during Pride, and then I had a second coming out 3 years ago during Pride. Needless to say, Pride has always held a very sentimental meaning for me.
Every year I go to the parade on Sunday just to cheer on the marching parents and families of PFLAG and every year I cry when I see those proud parents and families.
Pride is about so much more than the naked people, sex, and partying that the media portrays it to be. Pride is not just about commercialism and tourism. There is so much more to Pride that is rarely portrayed in the media. It is a time to come together, stand tall and be proud of who we are. Pride is about making space for all the queer and trans folks who are silenced, made invisible, and pushed to the margins on a daily basis. It is about celebrating our rights and accomplishments, and focusing on how far we have come. Pride is also a time to reflect on all we have been through to be able to be fully authentic, which for many can be a painful reflection.
People often talk about how “safe” Toronto is for LGBTQ people and how homophobia and transphobia no longer exists. While Toronto may be safer than many other cities for queer and trans people, homophobia and transphobia are definitely alive and well in this city.
25-40% of youth experiencing homelessness identify as LGBTQ, however, Toronto does not offer the necessary services to provide safety and support to our youth. Sadly, homophobia and transphobia are rampant in Toronto’s shelter system.
Even though Pride is a time to celebrate and be proud, I think it is important to think about and raise awareness to the issues around LGBTQ youth homelessness because a large proportion of queer and trans youth will be struggling to find a safe place to sleep and a hot meal to eat, not just at Pride, but all year round.
My hope is that by Pride 2014, Toronto will provide support to LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness and my Pride reflection will be very different.
On that note, I wish you all a safe, reflective, and fun Pride weekend!
Thursday, June 27, 2013
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
I recently wrote a Blog Post for the Huffington Post. My Blog Post discusses LGBTQ youth homelessness in Canada and the lack of support available, because Toronto, it really is time to start supporting LGBTQ youth who are street-involved and homeless.
If you're interested in reading, here is the link:
Friday, May 17, 2013
The film "Teal's Story" is part of a Digital Storytelling project from my PhD research study, which investigates LGBTQ youth homelessness in Toronto. I created the film with a very courageous young trans woman named Teal. "Teal's Story" visually illustrates her experiences in Toronto's shelter system and how she navigated daily occurrences of extreme transphobia. My hope is that this film will raise awareness to the issue of LGBTQ youth homelessness and begin a much needed shift in the shelter system. Everyone NEEDS to see this. Please watch and share "Teal's Story".
"Almost all LGBTQ people going into shelters have a fear of them, because it isn’t a matter of if it’s dangerous, but just how dangerous it will be. It is horrible to live in that fear everyday." (Teal, 23 years old, Digital Storytelling project)
A special thank you to the The 519 Church Street Community Centre for supporting this project.
Please watch and share the film:
Today is International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.
Today we raise awareness to the ongoing violence and discrimination experienced by LGBTQ people around the world every single day.
Toronto may be considered one of the safest cities in the world for LGBTQ people, however, the prevalence of homophobic and transphobic violence is often normalized and invisible.
25-40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ. Queer and trans youth experiencing homelessness often feel safer on the streets than in shelters, due to the extreme homophobia and transphobia that occurs in the shelter system. But still there is minimal support available in Toronto and still we do NOT have specialized housing for LGBTQ youth in Canada.
I hope everyone can take a moment today to think about this and to help raise awareness because this type of discrimination affects us all.
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Toronto’s queer-friendly reputation attracts thousands of LGBTQ people looking for a place to feel safe and accepted, celebrate Pride, and wanting to get married.
However, up to 40% of homeless youth are LGBTQ and still there are NO specialized shelters or transitional housing for this population of youth.
Come on Canada, it's time to start prioritizing LGBTQ homeless youth.