As the summer begins, it brings the bitter-sweet realization that yet another successful Gender and Sexuality Alliance Forum. But this year was such a blast, with 100 LGBTQ+ and allied youth coming from all over Canada to learn leadership skills with the hopes that they would bring them back and implement them into their schools. Throughout the week-long education forum, the students acquired the knowledge and skills required to be leaders in their schools and youth communities on the topics of gender and sexual minorities, diversity, anti-bullying, anti-racism, mental health, and how to create inclusive safe(r) spaces. The forum featured insightful keynotes, amazing workshops and a talent show where the participants showcased their singing, dancing, acting, and poetry. So much talent!!! I was fortunate enough to attend this forum for the third year in a row as the Interim GSA Forum Coordinator in the weeks leading up to the forum and as the Assistant to the Coordinator for the duration of the forum. Throughout our week at Glendon College, I was able to watch as students opened their minds to new information and new ways of learning, and as they made strong connections to both other youth and to what the various presenters had to say.
As a Two Spirit individual, one of the best parts of my experience at the forum was connecting with youth who were at the place in their journey to accept and reclaim their own Two Spirit identities. The forum offered us a space where we could all come together and share our collective struggles, triumphs, and joys as both queer and Indigenous folks, which was much needed and very healing. I hope to continue this healing work in my new role with the CCGSD as the Two Spirit Coordinator, where I will create a campaign centered around Two Spirit identities, reclamation, and education.
Overall, the GSA Forum offers us all a space to come together to learn, laugh, share, and create bonds that will last beyond the duration of the forum. For that, I am thankful to have been a part of the amazing work that this forum has done over the past three years and I look forward to see what its future will bring!