Study looking to improve 2SLGBTQ+ services in the north

·2 min read

Fierté Timmins Pride has launched a project to identify and fill gaps in the current community services provided for the 2SLGBTQ+ community in northeastern Ontario.

The non-profit has received $125,000 from the Department of Women and Gender Equality Canada to conduct a needs assessment study that will include three components: a survey, focus groups and key informant interviews.

The study will gather input from 2SLGBTQ+ community members, friends, families and service providers. At the end, there will be a report that the organization will use to determine the next steps and funding opportunities.

The community and service provider surveys are available in both languages.

The first focus group will be held at 3 p.m. on June 13 with three more focus groups to be held in September.

At Tuesday’s virtual media call, Fierté Timmins Pride president Matthieu Villeneuve said the current gaps mostly exist around mental health, education, medical and social services.

“At this moment, we’re trying to figure out exactly what the gaps are, so we can fill them. And if there’s already a service taking place, we’ll make sure to highlight it so that we’re able to promote it,” he said.

The organization has been approached for trans inclusion or for mental health support by community members who don’t have a good relationship at home, at work or they experience discrimination.

People can also be concerned when reaching out for medical help or social services if it’s something related to their sexuality or gender identity, according to Villeneuve.

“Sometimes, certain professionals may feel a sense of homophobia or transphobia when it comes to dealing with these members, so we’re looking to identify those gaps where if it needs to be a certain training that needs to take place or anything like that, we should be able to be jumping in.”

The organization hired ATZ Equity Consulting to complete the study, which will also focus on the experiences of First Nation and Métis communities.

“We realized there are many gaps in needs for the Indigenous people than for any other members, if not sometimes more of a gap. So, we want to make sure we’re completely inclusive when trying to get the gap needs assessment going,” Villeneuve said. “We want to make sure everybody is included and there’s representation there.”

The entire project with all the data will be completed by April next year, according to Villeneuve.

Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,

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