Bringing down LGBT barriers

News Jun 29, 2016 by Bill Jackson Kitchener Post

Randy Farrell was going to provide a detailed description of what life was like for a gay man in the 1960s, but chose not to.

“It sucked,” he said. “I came out and grew up in a time where there was no such thing as a safe space for rainbow folk. Everything was stacked against us.”

Despite advances since then, marginalization still occurs, said Sue Weare, a member of the Kitchener Downtown Community Health Centre’s LGBT+ advisory committee.

An event last Thursday celebrated the Francis Street centre as an LGBT-positive space — the culmination of new policies that have been put into practice to address the health needs of LGBT clients.    

There was a brief moment of silence for the victims of the Orlando Massacre.

During his address, Liberal MP Raj Saini recalled studying at pharmaceutical college in Boston during the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s.

“People within the LGBT community still have barriers to health care because of not being as welcome or informed,” said the centre’s executive director Eric Goldberg.

The past 18 months have seen a lot of changes to primary care and programming at the health centre, he said.

“People have been trained in specific clinical areas to increase their knowledge linked to support of the LGBT community and we’ve developed orientation for new staff and volunteers so everybody’s aware of good practices and good language, ensuring that we are very welcoming.”

Intake and client registration forms are now more inclusive and all-gender washrooms have been established on the first and second floors, he added.

“Some people don’t identify with gender boundary,” said Weare. “Some folks just feel it’s safer for them to use a single stall washroom so people won’t look at them up and down, trying to figure them out, or maybe accuse them of being in the wrong bathroom.”

Darby Kent, who identifies as bisexual and “gender fluid,” never felt safe growing up and didn’t come out until three years ago.

“It’s really great to come into a community and just be myself and be accepted for who I am in every way,” Kent said.

Goldberg said the next step will be taking a closer look at services dedicated to the LGBT community this fall.

He said the commitment of the health centre puts “positive pressure” on its staff to look closer at the needs of the LGBT community.

“Rainbow folk now have quality health support without fear or stigma,” Farrell said.

“What you’ve accomplished wasn’t even dreamed of in my youth. You’re offering a lifeline to the marginalized, support to the ignored, hope to the forgotten and love to the most vulnerable in our rainbow family.”

Bringing down LGBT barriers

News Jun 29, 2016 by Bill Jackson Kitchener Post

Randy Farrell was going to provide a detailed description of what life was like for a gay man in the 1960s, but chose not to.

“It sucked,” he said. “I came out and grew up in a time where there was no such thing as a safe space for rainbow folk. Everything was stacked against us.”

Despite advances since then, marginalization still occurs, said Sue Weare, a member of the Kitchener Downtown Community Health Centre’s LGBT+ advisory committee.

An event last Thursday celebrated the Francis Street centre as an LGBT-positive space — the culmination of new policies that have been put into practice to address the health needs of LGBT clients.    

There was a brief moment of silence for the victims of the Orlando Massacre.

During his address, Liberal MP Raj Saini recalled studying at pharmaceutical college in Boston during the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s.

“People within the LGBT community still have barriers to health care because of not being as welcome or informed,” said the centre’s executive director Eric Goldberg.

The past 18 months have seen a lot of changes to primary care and programming at the health centre, he said.

“People have been trained in specific clinical areas to increase their knowledge linked to support of the LGBT community and we’ve developed orientation for new staff and volunteers so everybody’s aware of good practices and good language, ensuring that we are very welcoming.”

Intake and client registration forms are now more inclusive and all-gender washrooms have been established on the first and second floors, he added.

“Some people don’t identify with gender boundary,” said Weare. “Some folks just feel it’s safer for them to use a single stall washroom so people won’t look at them up and down, trying to figure them out, or maybe accuse them of being in the wrong bathroom.”

Darby Kent, who identifies as bisexual and “gender fluid,” never felt safe growing up and didn’t come out until three years ago.

“It’s really great to come into a community and just be myself and be accepted for who I am in every way,” Kent said.

Goldberg said the next step will be taking a closer look at services dedicated to the LGBT community this fall.

He said the commitment of the health centre puts “positive pressure” on its staff to look closer at the needs of the LGBT community.

“Rainbow folk now have quality health support without fear or stigma,” Farrell said.

“What you’ve accomplished wasn’t even dreamed of in my youth. You’re offering a lifeline to the marginalized, support to the ignored, hope to the forgotten and love to the most vulnerable in our rainbow family.”

Bringing down LGBT barriers

News Jun 29, 2016 by Bill Jackson Kitchener Post

Randy Farrell was going to provide a detailed description of what life was like for a gay man in the 1960s, but chose not to.

“It sucked,” he said. “I came out and grew up in a time where there was no such thing as a safe space for rainbow folk. Everything was stacked against us.”

Despite advances since then, marginalization still occurs, said Sue Weare, a member of the Kitchener Downtown Community Health Centre’s LGBT+ advisory committee.

An event last Thursday celebrated the Francis Street centre as an LGBT-positive space — the culmination of new policies that have been put into practice to address the health needs of LGBT clients.    

There was a brief moment of silence for the victims of the Orlando Massacre.

During his address, Liberal MP Raj Saini recalled studying at pharmaceutical college in Boston during the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s.

“People within the LGBT community still have barriers to health care because of not being as welcome or informed,” said the centre’s executive director Eric Goldberg.

The past 18 months have seen a lot of changes to primary care and programming at the health centre, he said.

“People have been trained in specific clinical areas to increase their knowledge linked to support of the LGBT community and we’ve developed orientation for new staff and volunteers so everybody’s aware of good practices and good language, ensuring that we are very welcoming.”

Intake and client registration forms are now more inclusive and all-gender washrooms have been established on the first and second floors, he added.

“Some people don’t identify with gender boundary,” said Weare. “Some folks just feel it’s safer for them to use a single stall washroom so people won’t look at them up and down, trying to figure them out, or maybe accuse them of being in the wrong bathroom.”

Darby Kent, who identifies as bisexual and “gender fluid,” never felt safe growing up and didn’t come out until three years ago.

“It’s really great to come into a community and just be myself and be accepted for who I am in every way,” Kent said.

Goldberg said the next step will be taking a closer look at services dedicated to the LGBT community this fall.

He said the commitment of the health centre puts “positive pressure” on its staff to look closer at the needs of the LGBT community.

“Rainbow folk now have quality health support without fear or stigma,” Farrell said.

“What you’ve accomplished wasn’t even dreamed of in my youth. You’re offering a lifeline to the marginalized, support to the ignored, hope to the forgotten and love to the most vulnerable in our rainbow family.”