How much we take diversity for granted down south: Gender Identities

Hello to my lovely frontliners,

Just to clarify when I talk about south and north: currently I am a youth worker in two Inuit communities in Nunavik which is considered Northern Arctic Quebec. However, combined, I have lived and worked down south for 26 years.

Get it? okay good? now onto my moment:

I met an awesome youth this week who identified as transgender. At first they were shy to chat about their experience but after exchanging stories, we began to talk about self-identity.

I said, so I guess you are familiar with the LGBTQ community.

Youth: *Mouth wide open* OMG you know what that is….

I was hesitating and quite baffled, ” yea of course I do….” Why wouldn’t I?

*PAUSE*

“Marleigh remember where you are and the context and the histories of the land”  Remember you are part of an area in Canada that does not really accept or acknowledge diverse sexual orientations and gender identities” 

As I was pondering my own ignorance, I was surveying the youth’s face and how happy yet shocked they were that I knew this acronym

Youth: I really feel relieved that you know what that is…I feel like I have been researching this for a long time and no one would understand me. My parents are quite accepting but I am scared of the rest of the community.

My interaction with the youth became more genuine. It gave me the opportunity to share some resources to not just the youth but to the main student counsellor as well.

It made me reflect after that day because, I realized I always took for granted my experience with working with youth down south, but I acknowledge at that moment how I am privileged that I had the opportunity to work with a diverse range of youth in the last 5 years.

It was truly a reminder of the diversity of needs and unique abilities that each youth carries even in a community of 400 people.

Thank you to this youth for this special moment 🙂

Have a great weekend!

Marleigh

 

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