Support from a community organization can mean the difference between life and death for many people within the LGBTQ community. Other cases are less drastic, but still important to address. Dealing with bullying or being misunderstood by friends and family can take its toll. Whatever the issue may be, there is plenty of support in Durham Region for the LGBTQ community, their allies and their families.
From face-to-face sharing or chatting on the phone, the community connects in a different way than it does at events like the Pride Parade, parties or fundraisers. In these supportive settings, people not only celebrate each other, but help one another with education through resources and personal experiences.
Durham Region Police Services in Toronto’s 2011 pride parade. Photo by Nathan MacKinnon
These are a few of the great services offered in Durham for a variety of issues faced by people within the LGBTQ community and their partners, friends and families.
My Sister’s Voice
My Sister’s Voice (MSV) is a non-profit organization in Whitby that offers a variety of services to lesbian, bisexual and transgender women. They offer support to women at any stage of coming out of the closet with a monthly sharing group. They also offer support to queer women or transgendered women facing abuse in their relationship. According to MSV, Intimate Relationship Abuse (IRA) happens at about the same rate (20 to 30 per cent) in same sex relationships as it does heterosexual relationships. A woman suffering any type of abuse, whether it’s economic, physical, sexual, emotional, or verbal abuse can find a way to change things with My Sister’s Voice. To learn more about the organization visit www.mysistersvoice.ca or call 905-668-5578.
Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) Durham is really more like a family than an organization. Attending one sharing meeting is enough to see that everyone really is there for each other. Part of a national organization of chapters, it offers support and meetings not only for LGBTQ youth, but their families and friends as well. They meet in various spots throughout Durham, but always with one purpose: to help anyone struggling with home life or bullying because of their identification with the LGBTQ community. They provide people with education on sexual orientation and gender identity, but they do the same for families or friends as well. It gives families or other allies a chance to connect and share their stories and problems as well. You can connect with PFLAG on Facebook or learn more about them on their website pflagdurhamregion.com.
Pride Line Durham
Help is just a phone call away with this relatively new service in Durham Region. Pride Line Durham launched in 2011 through the Distress Centre Durham. The new service caters to the LGBTQ community as well as their families. They offer a number of services over the phone including crisis intervention and community referrals. They help people struggling with their sexuality whether it’s because they’re confused, bullying or problems at home or work because of their LGBTQ status. They also offer support for families of people who identify within the LGBTQ community as well answering any questions they may have. Pride Line is available from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at 1-855-877-7433, but the distress centre is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 905-430-2522 or 1-800-452-0688