Due to on-going systemic barriers and gaps for youth who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Two-Spirit, and other non-heteronormative non-cisnormative genders and sexualities (LGBTQ2S+) in Edmonton, a group of representatives of service providers and agencies from across Edmonton began to meet to tackle critical issues that this specific population experiences. While service providers and agencies know that LGBTQ2S+ youth are accessing their services and experiencing unique challenges, policy development and systems planning have been challenging for our community because there is limited research and identified best practices with an Edmonton-specific context.
With increased resources and advocacy work occurring in Edmonton for LGBTQ2S+ youth, the Rainbow Alliance for Youth of Edmonton (RAYE) was brought together to help identify these key issues, get an accurate picture of the unique needs of LGBTQ2S+ youth, act as a space of information sharing, and address the challenges that service providers and agencies have identified in their work.
Our committee’s purpose is to share the diverse stories of LGBTQ2S+ youth between ages 12 – 24 living in the Edmonton area to promote increased understanding, empathy, and knowledge of this community’s specific needs, strengths, and experiences.
This group will work towards maintaining accountability through the following:
Identify barriers, strengths, and opportunities for LGBTQ2S+ service provision and access;
Provide recommendations on LGBTQ2S+ youth needs in Edmonton and area;
Engage youth voices and increase their ability to advocate for themselves;
Review and share findings and research; and
Advocate for LGBTQ2S+ youth in the areas of service/program access, mental health and addictions, physical health, housing, employment, education, and overall quality of life.