‘Abysmal’ meeting

Dear Editor:

An open Letter to LGBTTQQI Kids in our community.

Being queer, being trans, being different is tough in a small town. It always has been.

For many of us, we kept our differences hidden until we found ourselves at university or in the city where we could find our people. We waited until it was safe to be who we were.

I know for some of you, you can’t hide it. You can’t “pass” and your mental health would suffer if you didn’t allow your wondrous, fabulous light to burst forth from within you. I sincerely admire and applaud you.

I am 35 and think that the bravest people on this planet are young people who dare to be themselves. You are inspiring, just as you are.

However, right now, you might be hurting. I want you to know that there are people, strangers, many, many strangers who care deeply about your wellbeing and who want this to be world where you can be yourself without fear of being ostracized or physically harmed.

There are people out here who love you just because you are you.

The UGDSB and community partners made an abysmal attempt to make you feel seen. After the keynote speaker talked about his resume for 15 minutes, barley mentioning transphobia, not inviting gender diverse speakers and not requiring people to identify their pronouns, it became clear that the meeting was not for you. The intention of the “meeting,” (if we can continue to call it that) was to make the community agencies and the UGDSB tick off some boxes and move on with business as usual.

Keep heart, continue to fight for being you. Fight systems that will simply pay a hate crime with lip service. Fight systems that will nod at your concerns and then do nothing. Fight to be seen and fight to be represented by people who look like you.

And, if you need us, there are many vocal, outraged, organized adults in your community.

Tiffany Burtch,