Egale hosted a Queer Prom for 2SLGBTQI youth Friday June 18th on their IG Live.
Egale Canada is an advocacy group with a mission to improve the lives of 2SLGBTQI people in Canada. They planned a wide variety of events during Pride Month, among which is a virtual Queer Prom on June 18th.
Jonathan Cafarelli, Digital Marketing Coordinator at Egale, told Secret Toronto that this event, like most of their events, aims to support and connect the community of queer youth during this pandemic.
“There was a lot of appreciation [last year] from parents and educators as well as the youth themselves” said Jonathan. “If I was in high school at this time, [this event] would have meant so much to me personally”. Jonathan said an event like this would have made him feel safe and comfortable to be who he is.
In 2021, Egale released the Second National Climate Survey on Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia in Canadian Schools. They had published a similar survey in 2008, with the study focusing on 2SLGBTQ youth in middle schools and secondary schools. They called it Every Class in Every School.
This year, they called it Still in Every Class in Every School to mark the issues that persisted since last year’s report. The study assesses the school’s climate and documents the students experiences of hostility, inclusion and support. For instance, the study found that 64% of all participants reported hearing homophobic comments daily or weekly at school.
In addition to that, 62% of 2SLGBTQ respondents feel unsafe at school, compared to 11% of cisgender heterosexual students. And 77% of 2SLGBTQ Indigenous students had been harassed at school in the year leading up to the survey. This was the highest percentage of any group. These statistics provide evidence and background information for people in positions of power to develop policies concerning the 2SLGBTQ community.
Egale organized the Queer Prom event to serve as a safe space for queer youth, and celebrate them and young allies as well. It features hosts, performers and guests from within the community with different backgrounds and points of view. And though the events are entertaining, they also organized and hosted webinars and offer resources for parents, students, educators and more. Egale aims to create tangible change and reassure members of the community that they are not alone.
Fabulous couple Omar Ahmed and Matt Benfield hosted Queer Prom together on Instagram Live. Performers included Ilona Verly, TiKa, Kayla Diamond, Basement Gang, and Gary Beals. In case you missed it, Egale will post the Live on their IGTV here.
[Featured Image Source: Egale Canada]