In a generation where one in six adults identify as being LGBTQ, a new report is providing insight into the current and future needs of youth in the community. The overarching message is: we need to do better.
LGBT YouthLine surveyed roughly 1,200 Ontarians under the age of 30 who identified as 2SLGBTQ+. Their responses revealed their varying experiences, hopes and demands for change.
“We encouraged participants to dream about futures that prioritized 2SLGBTQ+ youth. These ideas were brought to Youth Ambassadors who then helped shape the 7 recommendations [in the report]” reads the document titled We’re Here: 2SLGBTQ+ Youth across Ontario Assert Needs and Experiences.
1/3 of 2SLGBTQ+ youth in Ontario said that their mental health needs are not being met.
The proposals focus on not just highlighting the issues, but also providing solutions; ranging from redesigning our healthcare system in support of mental health, to mandating change in building standards to incorporate all-gender washrooms.
Most of the recommendations reiterate the long-existing demands of safety and basic needs that remain unmet. But they also work towards modernizing our day-to-day living, through incorporating the needs of 2SLGBTQ+ youth, as well as hiring them in positions of power in order to be a catalyst for change.
“Not only did 2SLGBTQ+ express that decision-makers seemed to not care about them, they also shared that they did not see 2SLGBTQ+ community members amongst those who get to make decisions,” the report notes.
The report is calling on Ontario to do better by considering these recommendations, coining #DoBetter as their call to action.
“The youth-led recommendations are targeted at those in decision-making roles, including elected officials, service providers, school boards, community stakeholders, and youth-serving groups,” said Hayley Moody, Manager of Engagement and Partnerships at YouthLine in a release. “If put into action, the recommendations will directly support the wellbeing and survival of 2SLGBTQ+ youth”
Only 14 per cent of Catholic School Boards and 50 per cent of Public School Boards in Ontario have any publicly listed resources for 2SLGBTQ+ youth on their websites.
This report comes on the heels of the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) removing YouthLine from its resources list, which sparked a larger conversation around the major gaps in support for 2SLGBTQ+ youth in schools. The board later reinstated the list after backlash from the community.
“With TCDSB, we saw how quickly change can happen when community members and those with decision making power feel the urgency to act,” said Berkha Gupta, Executive Director of LGBT YouthLine. “In this report, 2SLGBTQ+ youth have done the work to tell us what changes they need; it is now up those in decision-making roles to #DoBetter!”