Montague physician Dr Nicole Fancy and a team of volunteers are looking to create a group for young adults in the 2SLGBTQIA+ (Two-Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transexual, queer, intersexual, asexual, aromantic and pansexual) community in eastern PEI called the King's Youth Project.
The aim of King's Youth Wellness is to provide time in the week for young adults to be open about their identity without fear of being bullied or worse.
“It’s really important because they do not feel accepted in this area. There’s been a couple times where youth have gone to town councils and asked for the pride flag to be flown as a sign of respect and they’ve been turned down,” Dr Fancy said.
She added she’s also seen hate messages on social media related to the 2SLGBTQIA+ community and King’s Youth Wellness.
Dr Fancy and volunteers have visited Morell High, Souris Regional School and Montague High to hold information sessions to gauge what young adults in the community want to do together, where and at what point in the week.
She said there have been approximately 50 kids attending these sessions.
“There’s certainly a cultural issue with a lack of acceptance of gender and sexuality diversity which is really hard on kids who already have enough on their plates,” Dr Fancy said.
One of the biggest issues at this point for the volunteers is transportation. The team isn’t sure how to go about transporting kids to and from outings. A worry will be that some group members will only participate in outings close to their home communities.
One idea that has been discussed is having a parent support group that could parallel when drop-in sessions for the youth project happen. The idea would be a double-edged approach.
The project idea started with Dr Fancy and other clinicians in King’s Youth Wellness when they found kids going through issues with their sexual or gender identity were struggling with their mental health.
The information sessions haven’t concluded yet, but so far the feedback Dr Fancy has been getting is that kids want to do casual outings together such as hiking, going for coffee or going to a gym together instead of holding more formal events.
The group that will be created following the sessions will be inclusive to young adults from all three of the eastern PEI schools.
Dr Fancy and her team aim to have the first drop-in group sometime in December.
The King's Youth Project is funded by the Canadian Medical Association.