As library staff, much of our work with LGBTQ+ patrons involves referral – connecting individuals with resources, services and professionals in their communities that can provide them with the information and support they’re looking for.
Thankfully there are fantastic organizations and initiatives across the province that are committed to working with LGBTQ individuals and communities, and to which we can confidently refer patrons. One such initiative is Safe Spaces, which is a service for youth up to 26 years of age who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, two spirit, queer or questioning and their allies in Kamloops, British Columbia.
Krista Gallant, Safe Spaces Program Coordinator 1 with Interior Community Services, took a moment to talk with us about Safe Spaces and the work they do with youth in their community.
Safe Spaces started as a pilot project back in 1998 with 3 other cities, Montreal, Moncton and Halifax.
We offer two different weekly groups. The first one is for three hours and its for youth who identify as LGBTQ2SPA+ and allies. The second is a one hour group for youth who identify as Trans*/Gender Non-Conforming. The groups are youth driven and drop in based. We usually start out with some food and then the youth choose what activity they would like to do. We have art supplies, board games, wii, a pool table etc. Sometimes, if there is a current event that they want to discuss then we chat about that!
There are also one to one appointments available for the youth. We have a wide range of resources for the youth and their parents/caregivers. We also offer free workshops to schools and service providers on a variety of topics (i.e. Sexuality and Gender 101) and have spoken on a few local panels regarding LGBTQ2SPA+ issues. Whenever possible, we include youth who are interested in sharing their story along to co-facilitate the workshops. It’s a great opportunity for the youth to learn how to public speak and gain confidence!
Safe Spaces is a self referral program. The youth can call, text or email me to find out about the program. It is available for youth ages 12-26.
A big thank-you to Krista for sharing her program with us! If you have any questions about Safe Spaces or would like any additional information, please contact them by email or telephone:
Cell: (250) 371-3086