Media release – For immediate release
La Coalition montréalaise des groupes jeunesse LGBT deploys phase 2 of its awareness-raising program about the realities of homeless and at-risk LGBTQ2S youth
MONTRÉAL, April 25, 2018
The Coalition montréalaise des groupes jeunesse LGBT, Montreal’s coalition of LGBT youth groups, is thrilled to announce the support of TD Bank Group for the phase-2 development of its awareness-raising program about the realities of homeless and at-risk LGBTQ2S youth. The program aims to educate staff members from organizations that assist at-risk youth.
“We are happy to help the Coalition montréalaise des groupes jeunesse LGBT continue its work to improve access to services for homeless and at-risk youth,” says Marc- Antoine Saumier of TD Bank Group. In addition to helping the organization offer more free trainings for aid organizations that serve at-risk youth, this funding will allow the Coalition to develop a guide to inclusive practices for serving homeless and at-risk LGBTQ2S youth. This guide will help to better equip staff to welcome and assist LGBTQ2S young people.
The pilot phase of the program concluded in March. It was initiated by Julie Duford and the Coalition montréalaise des groupes jeunesse LGBT in collaboration with the Regroupement des Auberges du Cœur du Québec, a coalition of Québec youth shelters. The pilot was made possible thanks to the financial support of the ministère de la Justice du Québec’s anti-homophobia office, the Bureau de lutte contre l’homophobie. The development of the program called on the expertise of many people (1). To date, some sixty workers and coordinators from seven Auberge du Cœur shelters in various regions of Québec have received training. The program’s objective is to help them identify homophobia and transphobia when it occurs in order to better intervene. It also aims to support staff in creating safer and more welcoming environments.
Results from the first phase
The preliminary results obtained from the evaluation questionnaire have already revealed the program’s strengths. Participants reported a better understanding of the vocabulary of sexual and gender diversity; better skill at formulating questions free of heterocisnormative assumptions and at intervening when they witness LGBT-phobias in action; a better respect for confidentiality when a young person discloses their identity; and, above all, a better understanding of the specific challenges faced by at-risk LGBTQ2S youth.
“There’s still a lot of work to do,” says Julie Duford, doctoral candidate in sexology and initiator of the program. “On the one hand, we can observe heightened awareness on the part of directors and administrations when it comes to supporting and encouraging staff members to develop competencies related to sexual and gender diversity. On the other hand, we can also see the resistance to changing certain practices in order to achieve this. For instance, we see a lot of hesitation to broach the subject of sexual and gender diversity with young people, to ask them what pronouns they use, and to gather data on the sexual orientation and gender identity of the young people who make use of these resources,” she adds. Julie Duford specializes in issues that affect homeless and at-risk LGBTQ2S youth.
The Coalition’s upcoming initiatives
The Coalition montréalaise des groupes jeunesse LGBT aims to pursue its work in relation to the issues facing homeless and at-risk LGBTQ2S youth. “Young trans people in particular are still refused access to shelters for reasons that often boil down to lack of understanding rather than real danger. We plan to bring together our members and our academic, community and institutional partners that are concerned with the situation of homeless LGBTQ2S youth to assess the feasibility of working together to open a shelter that would be devoted entirely to this population,” says Annie Savage, the organization’s director.
About the Coalition
The mission of the Coalition montréalaise des groupes jeunesse LGBT is to support the social integration of sexually and gender diverse youth and to create environments that foster their development. One of the Coalition’s programs is l’Astérisk, a welcoming, bilingual, non-commercial space for young people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, trans, non-binary, queer and questioning. L’Astérisk provides a permanent home for the organizations Project 10, Jeunesse Lambda and AlterHéros. As such, young people have access to information, services and a range of activities under the same roof, as well as benefiting from peer support. The space is also available upon request for LGBTQ+ youth collectives that need a space to hold their meetings and events.
Annie Savage, Executive Director
Coalition montréalaise des groupes jeunesse LGBT
firstname.lastname@example.org // coalitionjeunesse.org