2SLGBTQIA+ youth deserve safer spaces, but across Canada, 2SLGBTQIA+ youth face high rates of gender-based violence (GBV), hate and harassment. GBV against 2SLGBTQIA+ youth is pervasive in Canada. Here’s what we know:
- 63% of trans and non-binary youth reported they had experienced verbal sexual harassment in the past year.
- 77% of 2SLGBTQ Indigenous students report having been harassed at school, the highest percentage out of all of their peers.
- 30% of 2SLGBTQ youth had been victims of cyberbullying, compared to 8% of cisgender heterosexual youth.
Safer Access for Everyone in the Rainbow Project (SAFER) is a three-year capacity-building initiative funded by the Women’s Program at Women and Gender Equality Canada (WAGE). The SAFER project has been guided by a national council of 2SLGBTQIA+ youth from across Canada. As well, Wisdom2Action (W2A) has worked in partnership with diverse and national partners including Access Open Minds, the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity (CCGSD), the Enchante Network, Gris MTL, 2 Spirits in Motion Society (2SiMS), Kickstand, Kind Space, YWCA Halifax, and Elder Blu.
Together with youth and partners, the SAFER project has resulted in online and in person training sessions for service providers across Canada. There is also a public education campaign, and national and regional knowledge mobilizing events, to address and prevent gender-based violence (GBV) against 2SLGBTQIA+ youth. SAFER has been made possible due to the generous support provided by the Women’s Program at Women and Gender Equality (WAGE).
Service providers play an integral role in addressing and preventing Gender-Based Violence against 2SLGBTQIA+ youth. From supporting young people impacted by GBV, to helping create safer environments that help prevent GBV in the first place, service providers have an integral role to play. Over the last 3 years, W2A has met with service providers across Canada and would like to share both project content and also lessons learned from this national engagement in a workshop at CMHO.
For this workshop, a Wisdom2Action/SAFER team will hopefully include a member of the Youth Council and a service provider. The workshop is designed to quickly provide some key foundational information and terminology and then to focus on the experiences of service providers. We want participants to share their own practical experiences and walk away with new connections and tangible tools to support them in their work.
Lisa Lachance is the MLA for Halifax Citadel–Sable Island since 2021 and is the the critic for 2SLGBTQ+ Affairs, L’nu Affairs, and Mental Health and Addictions. Having founded consulting firm Wisdom2Action and led its transition from government-supported network to independent social enterprise, Lisa has a long-standing track record as a prolific community engager. She started her career in the public sector, advocating for the rights of children and youth at an international level.
Lisa holds a BA with Honours in International Development Studies and a Masters of Public Administration, both from Dalhousie University. She is still a student of Dalhousie, completing her PhD in health on integrating community into youth-centred mental health planning. Lisa’s constituency is located in Mi’kma’ki, the unceded ancestral territory of the L’nu people.