I often wonder what life would have been like if there had been a place to turn.
I was raised in small town Ontario in the 80s and 90s. My evangelical upbringing made questioning my sexuality and gender identity much more than just a hurdle.
The internet was gaining in popularity, and anti-bullying movements hadn’t yet started.
There were no gay/straight alliances at school. Widespread stigmas allowed the use of the three-letter F word toward people like myself.
Generations of LGBTQAI2 people in rural Ontario have no doubt experienced much worse than myself.
I often wonder what life would have been like if there had been a place to turn. It would have been nice to know my options. If there had been the support, resources, and programs, where would I be? Would anything be different?
Times have changed. Religion and community interaction still play a huge role in small town living.
Very clearly, I remember the negative feelings and experiences of my youth.
I hope everyone has a space and access to support that is welcoming and safe. A town where no person is left behind and prejudice isn’t the norm despite race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression.
There’s room for everyone.
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