Queer Vote Ontario: 2SLGBTQ+ family members and friends need you to consider our interests

SPECTRUM is one of many 2SLGBTQ+ organizations across Ontario that worked together to launch the non-partisan Queer Vote Ontario initiative last month.
  • Scott Williams (he/him) is the Executive Director of Rainbow Community Space at SPECTRUM Waterloo Region.

We reached out to members of Metroland’s Community Advisory Boards, asking them to write about important issues in this provincial election. This is one of those columns.

One of the issues that 2SLGBTQ+ people face is that we are often invisible outside of Pride month. As we head into a provincial election, we want our voices to be heard. SPECTRUM is one of many 2SLGBTQ+ organizations across Ontario that worked together to launch the non-partisan Queer Vote Ontario initiative last month.

We call for action on three priorities, including the development of a provincial 2SLGBTQ+ action plan, funding for 2SLGBTQ+ community organizations and services, and access to gender-affirming healthcare coverage.

At queervote.ca, individuals can pledge to stand with 2SLGBTQ+ people when voting, and candidates can pledge to support 2SLGBTQ+ people if elected. Candidates can also complete a questionnaire that will help voters understand the candidate’s position on issues important to us.

Here in Waterloo Region, 2SLGBTQ+ people — and especially transgender and non-binary people — face discrimination and hatred. Whether it’s disguised as discussions about the appropriate age of books in school libraries, or involves the overt sharing of trans-exclusive writing and speech, it means we don’t feel safe and we don’t feel welcome.

The local OutLook study found that 73% of trans people fear dying young. Read that again. 73% of trans people in our community fear dying young.

2SLGBTQ+ youth in our community struggle to deal with hate and harassment, family rejection and homelessness, as well as a variety of mental health issues. Despite these crises, rainbow organizations like SPECTRUM are chronically underfunded. We need our leaders to recognize this and commit to providing stable financial support to 2SLGBTQ+ community organizations. We need them to commit to providing access to gender-affirming healthcare coverage. We need them to commit to developing a provincial 2SLGBTQ+ action plan that will help us track these and other important life-saving issues.

When you go to the polls, your 2SLGBTQ+ family members and friends need you to consider our interests. Will you help us fight homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in Waterloo Region? Visit queervote.ca to take the pledge and share it with your networks. And, as we head into Pride Month, remember that Pride isn’t just a party, it’s a protest. There is still a lot of work to do and you can help make a difference by voting.

Scott Williams (he/him) is the Executive Director of Rainbow Community Space at SPECTRUM Waterloo Region. He is a member of the LGBTQ2+ community with experience working and volunteering in the nonprofit sector.

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