Stay Safe, Stay Healthy
During this pandemic, safety is a key feature in everyone’s lives, especially when it comes to living in an unsafe and unsupportive environment. LGBTQ2IA+ youth across the globe suffer from possibly dangerous households, and though Canada is a safe country, not everyone is always welcoming or supportive.
Having to hide items that represent your gender or sexuality, being misgendered and deadnamed, and being threatened by homophobic family members can all cause anxiety and depression. Misgendering and deadnaming are by far one of the worst culprits for the latter because it can occur often and in multiple spaces that should be safe for everyone.
As such, if you are stuck in such a situation, I have interviewed a staff member from the Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School QSA who provided great suggestions on how you can handle quarantine.
Trina Penner, the grade 11 Learning Assistance Teacher (LAT), said that school is like a second home where LGBTQ2IA+ youth can come and thrive, but she worries about when summer comes. What will happen to all the youth who suddenly don’t have access to the support they had when they were in school?
Penner suggests that LGBTQ2IA+ surround themselves with things/items, people, and activities that make them feel comfortable: watching movies or reading books that represent how they feel, or who’s characters are similar to their own life, body, and feelings.
There are many ways to do the latter. Penner encourages youth to find an online community that suits them, like the Red Deer Queer Community Association (RDQCA), the Teagan and Sara Foundation (TSF), and Youth HQ.
RDQCA has a Discord server, regular online meetings, and online events for LGBTQ2IA+ youth. Penner states that these online communities can help youth meet new friends, and create long-lasting experiences that will carry them through the rest of this quarantine-time.
The TSF does not offer an online community, however, they do have mental health resources for anyone who needs it. Whether you are at your breaking point or not, these sources can help you feel ten times better about the situation you might be stuck in. You can find these sources on the TSF website, linked above.
For those youth who are just graduating or those who are coming back home after being away at university or college to unsafe conditions, Penner emphasizes that it is all the more important for these youth to find their community. As such, joining local groups like RDQCA and Youth HQ can be the perfect solution to meet new people just like you.
The support staff at Lindsay Thurber encourages you to check in on your friends, regardless of whether or not they are in a toxic situation; isolation is not good for anyone’s mental health. Schedule a video call, or social distancing meet up to connect and check in on those around you.
Another thing that was brought up in my conversation with the support staff was the use of binders. One of the main symptoms of COVID-19 is trouble breathing, therefore wearing a binder without the following precautions can put you at risk. Remember to take breaks more often than you normally would, and don’t exceed the 8-10 hour per day limit.
Stretch often; I find doing yoga in my binder is a great way to make sure I stay comfortable while wearing it. Most importantly, never forget to listen to your body. If you think you need to take a break from wearing it, then you better take a break from wearing it.
There are many positive sides to being isolated at home, like catching up on all your queer content. If you’re not sure where to start looking, “Queer your Queue” are hosting livestream performances and events, for free, during the quarantine. For even more content, the TSF website has links to LGBTQ2IA+ books and movies. And don’t forget that RDQCA is holding plenty of events and meetings too!
For those that haven’t had a chance to purchase the right binder, GC2B is still offering coupons and discounts on their binders through websites like Dealspotr, as well as an online community filled with information about how to get the right binder for you.
Now that things are starting to open up a little more in Red Deer, it will hopefully be easier to leave those unsafe and unsupportive situations, if only for a little while. Get out there for a walk or whatever you like to get a breath of fresh air and spend a bit of time with your chosen family in a safe space. That said, remember to follow all of the guidelines set out by the province; these will keep you healthy and able to do more as the quarantine slowly ends.