YCC Magazine

Vol.2 Issue 2

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w w w . y o u t h c e n t r e s c a n a d a . c o m 11 By Victoria St.Michael and Diane McNulty W ith same sex marriage having been recently legalized in the United States, this is a great time for Canada to celebrate being ahead of the curve. Our country legalized same sex marriage nationwide in July 2005, becoming the fourth country to ever do so and earning the title as one of the pioneers of same sex marriage recognition. However, as far as the LGBTQ rights movement is concerned, Canada still has a long way to go… especially when it comes to its youth. According to Statistics Canada, suicide is the third leading cause of death among adolescents, and a 2009 survey shows us that LGBTQ youth are more likely to be targets of bullying and harassment than heterosexual youth. MyGSA.ca reports in a recent survey that 70 percent of all partici- pating youth reported hearing expressions such as "that's so gay" and other derogatory remarks every day at school. 10 percent of participants even reported hearing these remarks from teachers. 74 percent of transgendered students and 32 percent of sexual minority students reported being verbally harassed at school, and more than one in five LGBTQ students reported being physically harassed. This doesn't even begin to touch their findings about sexual harassment regarding LGBTQ youth, which were high across the board. Additionally, PovNet recently conducted a study showing that 25-40 percent of homeless youth in Canada identify as LGBTQ. Our goal for youth centres across Canada is to provide safe spaces for LGBTQ youth from all walks of life. Somewhere for youth to feel included, safe, accepted and at home… especially if they have nowhere else to go. We spoke to various youth centres across Canada who are implementing programs specifically designed to do just that. One exceptional program that caught our eye is happening right in our nation's capital at the Kanata Haven Youth Centre. On the first Thursday of every month from 6 -10 p.m., the Haven, in partnership with Kind (formerly PTS Ottawa), hosts their monthly #OK2BME drop-in program for LGBTQ & allied youth ages 24 and under. This program provides youth with an open & friendly place to hang out, get connected, ask questions and celebrate their diversity. The Haven is a centre that provides a safe, supportive and non-judgmental environment for youth in the Kanata area, with a focus on the hard-to-service youth population. The Haven reaches out to youth and engages them in a number of programs and workshops that focus on social interaction, positive role modeling and supportive counselling. Kind is a centre for Ottawa's Queer community that offers support, counselling, education, and resource services. Kind believes that everyone on the human sexuality and gender spectrum should be celebrated and supported. Kind space is open to all. They provide a diverse, protective and nonjudgmental environment for talking, learning, laughing, napping, petting cats, sharing food, hanging out, finding community, and simply being. Visit their website at www.kindspace.ca. For more information on the #OK2BME drop-in, please contact Diane at info@kanatahavenyouthcentre.com or visit the Kanata Haven Youth Centre's website at http://kanatahavenyouthcentre.com. RESOURCES: http://www.povnet.org/node/4913 http://mygsa.ca/setting-gsa/homophobia-transphobia-statistics http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/bullying-and-sexual-orientation-by- the-numbers-1.909444 http://www.povnet.org/node/4913 At YCC, It's

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