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Pride and Empowerment

Do You Count Yourself In for Teens?

You Can Support Safer Spaces for 2SLGBTQIA+ Youth

When a teen says, “I didn’t know that people like me can exist and also be happy,” Serena Dixon is reminded of the many challenges facing young people in the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. 

As team lead for education at the Centre for Sexuality in Alberta, she helps develop programs and spaces where young people can find affirmation and belonging. The Canadian Women’s Foundation supports the organization’s From Me to We program. It’s one of the many teen healthy relationship programs we fund across Canada that offer life-long skills in inclusive environments.

Battling Online Hate and Polarization

Youth mental health concerns are on the rise, particularly among the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, which faces higher risks of depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. It doesn’t help that online hate and harassment is rampant, and debates about sex education and trans rights have become polarized. From Me to We and other teen healthy relationship programs let teens know they are not alone and offer crucial support during formative years.

Support and Affirmation

Through sessions, teen healthy relationship program participants get opportunities to discuss how gender norms and stereotypes are linked to abuse and violence. They practice relationship skills, like assertive communication and setting boundaries, to help prevent abuse and foster self-respect. Facilitators discuss coping strategies, as well as how to counter sexist, homophobic, and anti-trans sentiment.

Transformative Impacts: Leadership and Giving Back

The impact of these programs can be profound. Dixon has observed how reserved teens often form close connections with other participants and get engaged in critical conversations. They may take on leadership opportunities, like joining the youth advisory committee for the organization’s summer program for queer and trans youth. “Seeing teens grow into confident leaders is incredibly rewarding,” Dixon says “Yet it’s heart-breaking that such spaces remain scarce.”

Building Safer and More Inclusive Communities

The Canadian Women’s Foundation’s vision for gender equality and justice includes safety and support for all young people no matter who they are and where they go. Your support helps make it possible for us to fund programs where young people can ask questions they may not get to ask anywhere else, feel safer with their peers and caring adults, learn about healthy relationships, and embrace their true selves. If you want to help ensure that no woman, girl, Two Spirit, trans, or nonbinary person feels out of options, out of sight, out of time, or out of mind, you can take action

Count Yourself In today to join our growing community that’s advancing gender justice across Canada.

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