How to be a good ally, offer safe spaces, and support the 2SLGBTQIA+ community
There is A LOT happening in the world today that is directly affecting members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. Current events are taking a huge toll on the mental health of the entire 2SLGBTQIA+ community, particularly youth.
In a world that can be filled with so much hate and negativity, it’s important that as members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community and as allies, we stand together and show up for each other – not only during Pride season, but every day. It is also to remember the purpose and origins of the Pride Movement.
Although the movement has come a long way, we still have a long journey ahead of us. Here are some important facts to keep in mind:
- According to Statistics Canada, about one third of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community in Canada are under the age of 25.
- 2SLGBTQIA+ youth experience 14X the risk of suicide and substance use than heterosexual peers.
- According to Trevor Project research, 36% of 2SLGBTQIA+ youth reported that they have been physically threatened or harmed, and those who were threatened or harmed in the past year attempted suicide at nearly triple the rate of those who were not.
- LGBTQ youth who found their school and home to be LGBTQ-affirming reported higher self-esteem, better mental health and lower rates of attempting suicide, with family support in particular lowering the rates of attempted suicide by almost half.
There is still a lot of work to be done to create safe, 2SLGBTQIA+-affirming spaces – particularly for youth. For the allies out there, here are some tips on how you can support the 2SLGBTQIA+ community:
- Educate yourself on issues facing 2SLGBTQIA+ community, as well as how you can become a better ally.
- Support the community through your votes and donations, by sharing resources, or even volunteering. There are so many great local agencies in Ottawa who are doing great work in our community.
- Cultivate and support safe spaces in your workplace, school, and communities that are welcoming and inclusive to all. Learn what it means to offer a truly safe space.
- Share your pronouns and respect pronouns of others’.
- Use gender-inclusive language when you are not sure of someone’s gender identity. Avoid gendered pronouns and terms such as “sir” or “ma’am” until an individual has shared their pronouns.
- Speak up! If you hear or see something discriminatory or exclusionary, use your voice to stand up in support and solidarity of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.
Let’s show up for one another, support one another, and most importantly, keep each other safe.
For more information and support, check out community resources such as: