After May 17th: A Reflection

By Yuddha Maharaj

This year’s We Belong: Voices of Youth event honouring the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia was a hit! It was a day to bring together 2SLGBTQ+ youth, allies and workers within the community in order to amplify young 2SLGBTQ+ voices. The outcome and presence of about 200 individuals made this event successful and empowering in so many ways.

‘We Belong: Voices of Youth’ kicked off with fun and exciting activities such as a "LOVE" photo booth sponsored by Perfect Planners - Your Wedding Specialists, an interactive quiz for anyone to play, and who can forget about the scrumptious breakfast that made everyone happy (and full)! We were proud to see our tables filled with fellow community members taking part in this movement, including the Peel Region Police, Peel-Dufferin School Board as well as many organizations that dedicate their work to 2SLGBTQ+ issues or are supporters and allies of the community.

Youth voices shone bright. Along with a short documentary focused on a young boy struggling with transphobia in his community, we had incredible young influencers who shared their inspiring personal journeys, talked about their work and gave us insight on the changes they’d like to see within this community.

The support and love throughout the room was incredibly inspiring and we left with not only new perspectives and knowledge but also a commitment to work toward a more inclusive region. Events such as these are much needed and I’m proud to see the progressive stance that Peel is taking in regard to fostering and nurturing inclusivity and belongness. I believe things have changed, are changing, and will continue to change as long as there is work to be done. It was an honour and a pleasure to be a voice and advocate for We Belong: Voices of Youth and I cannot wait for next year's event!

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