As Canada celebrates its first national Pride Month this June, we are presented with not only a salute to our country’s amazing diversity, but also a reminder that intolerance is still a very real obstacle for the LGBTQ+ community.
The attack in Orlando on June 12 highlighted that truth in the most devastating of ways. As the LGBTQ+ community in Orlando and around the world continue to heal from this tragic event, we offer our condolences to those affected, and reaffirm United Way’s commitment to inclusivity, respect and the embracing of diversity.
Together, we will continue to tackle the serious challenge of intolerance. It is a clear issue in Canada, where 20% of transgender people have experienced physical assault due to their identity, and almost 30% of the LGBTQ+ community has experienced discrimination in the workplace.
The impact on our social system as a whole is also significant – the LGBTQ+ population is significantly overrepresented among homeless youth and LGBTQ+ youth face 14 times the risk of suicide and substance abuse than their heterosexual peers.
And so, United Way’s work to provide opportunities for a better life for everyone – no matter their race, religion, gender or sexual orientation – has never been more important. Across the country, we are dedicated to supporting the LGBTQ+ community. For example:
- In Ottawa, United Way’s support of the Ten Oaks Project provides LGBTQ+ children and youth with the opportunity to attend a week-long sleepaway camp – a safe space where their differences are not only accepted but celebrated.
- United Way Winnipeg is a proud supporter of the Rainbow Resource Centre’s Peer Project for Youth program, which focuses on teaching LGBTQ+ youth valuable skills, increasing their self-confidence and creating social change.
- In Toronto, the LGBTQ+ Settlement Support program, supported by United Way, is helping LGBTQ+ newcomers overcome unique challenges and find a supportive community in Canada.
Together, we can stand united against hate and intolerance, and embrace the wonderful diversity that makes our communities vibrant, healthy and strong.