While June was declared Philippine Heritage Month, it is also Pride Month! The goal of this article is to provide resources for support and help to those who identify as LGBTQ2+. Health issues, discrimination, increased likelihood of abuse and suicide, poor treatment in the workplace or schools, are things that should be addressed. Further, there are times that being part of the LGBTQ2+ community means that additional context is necessary to get the help needed, which can be better met by specific agencies or initiatives. Here is an introduction to resources that can be helpful.
Resources for Community and Support
1. Pride Centre of Edmonton: The Pride Centre offers a library, peer counselling, community groups, advocacy and resources for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and questioning individuals. The website is: www.pridecentreofedmonton.ca/
2. Queer YEG: Provides a directory of businesses in Edmonton that welcome people of all sexual orientations. It is an active directory where you can check out all the businesses and have your business added to the list as well. It offers a wide range of services from lawyers, communications, pet care, real estate, restaurants, and more. The website is: www.www.queeryeg.ca/
3. LGBT Centres in Post-Secondary Institutions: Many post-secondary institutions, like NAIT and University of Alberta, not only have student clubs, but also actual departments that aim to provide help and support to the LGBT community. By going directly to the main website, it is easy to find information about online resources and locations of offices for support. As an example, NAIT has a page for LGBTQ Community Resources and they celebrate Pride Week. The University of Alberta has a group called OUTreach.
Religious Institutions that are LGBT Friendly
1. Anglican Churches: A number of Anglican churches in Alberta are welcoming towards LGBT individuals. Someone searching for a church can go to the website http://www.proudanglicans.ca/, go to the sub-menu Inclusive Anglican Churches in Canada and then narrow down by province.
2. Affirming United Church Congregations: The United Church is a Christian denomination that is fairly widespread in Canada. Someone searching for a church can go to the website http://affirmunited.ause.ca/alberta/ and search for a church that is within their geographic area.
Resources for Employers, Teachers, and Authority Figures
1. Freedom to Be: A Teachers’ Guide to Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Human Rights: As a figure of authority, especially in schools, it is very valuable to be informed, compassionate and conscious of the laws involved in supporting LGTBQ2+ youth. An online copy of this resource can be found here: https://aclrc.squarespace.com/new-page-40
2. Employer’s Guide: Trans-Identified People in the Workplace: This resource tackles topics that are important in order to provide adequate support to employees such as bathroom, privacy, the education of other employees and handling an employee’s recovery from surgery. An online copy of this resource can be found by going to http://www.aclrc.com/lgbt and clicking the title.
3. Gay-Straight Alliances in Schools: Parents of children who want to learn more about Gay-Straight Alliances can find out more information straight from the Government of Alberta website, and the link is www.alberta.ca/gay-straight-alliances.aspx. The webpage covers key topics about what GSAs do and their importance, how students can set up such an alliance in their schools, and information for school administration members such as principals.
While this is no way an exhaustive list, the goal is to encourage seeking information and assistance for any type of challenge, no matter how big or small, whether common or not. For any readers who are not directly served by the area where the outlined organizations are listed, it is likely that equivalents are available by searching the topic and adding the name of your location.