RFP: Identification of Health Priorities for 2SLGBTQ+ Communities in Peel

Thank you for supporting Rainbow Salad and the 2SLGBTQ+ communities in Peel Region! We are glad to have you here on our virtual hub.

This year, as part of the Collaborative that runs Rainbow Salad behind the scenes, we are conducting an outcome mapping exercise to identify the health priorities of the 2SLGBTQ+ communities in Peel Region. In order to do this we are looking for a consultant to utilize outcome mapping, strategic visioning and priority resource mapping exercises to develop a road map for the Collaborative and its member agencies to support these communities.

Does this sound like something you’re interested in? Read more about the position here in the RFP: https://www.rainbowsalad.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/2SLGBTQ-Collaborative-Outcome-Mapping-RFP-Final.pdf.

The deadline for submissions is June 29, 2020 at 11:59 pm. If you have any questions about the project itself or the submission process, reach out to the 2SLGBTQ+ Special Projects Coordinator, Allegra Morgado, at allegram@moyohcs.ca.

Thank you for your continued support of Rainbow Salad and the 2SLGBTQ+ Collaborative of Peel Region.

As a female-identified transwoman, it is essential for me to feel included amongst my community, especially on the milestone days of each year. This year on May 17th, 2020, in honour of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, it was a pleasure to be included and take up space at WE BELONG hosted by MOYO Health and Community Services.

Through our series of videos, you have experienced the contributions of so many beautiful and talented folks. We had the privilege to hear a variety of thoughts, evidence, and perspectives.  We discussed the many issues with the system in which we live. And, it served as a reminder that there is still much work to be done.

In Peel, there is a distinct lack of social and healthcare services, and an equal amount of stigma aimed at 2SLGBTQ+ folks, especially so where it pertains to trans-identified people. I had left the care of medical practitioners because their staff constantly misgendered me. I was fortunate enough to be directed to an excellent nurse practitioner. Erin Zeigler is a nurse practitioner with The Wise Elephant in Brampton. One of the very few medical clinics in Peel that I can name. It is easy to count on one hand the medical clinics within Peel that openly support the 2SLGBTQ+ community. It really shouldn’t be.

There has been a push for many years now towards the youth in our community for services aimed at employment help, social support etc. That’s amazing. But, do we suddenly stop needing services once we age out of the youth population? What about the youth who were previously receiving services, whom no longer qualify, yet still find themselves in need? Where are all the supports for social programming,  employment assistance, and medical care for non-youths? The “golden years” for the 2SLGBTQ+ community aren’t so golden when consumed with concern about how they will access much-needed healthcare services and social supports.

My heartfelt thanks go out to MOYO for inviting me to this lovely event and all of the contributors involved. From the beautiful music of Brenda MacIntyre, the Wisdom of Rosalyn Forester, the talented dancer Sam Yoon and our keynote speaker Dr. Andrew B Campbell’s passionate talk, it’s an event to be remembered.

Written by: Laura Vincent

Disclaimer: this article is written as an opinion piece and is not a replacement for a professional referral or medical advice. Rainbow Salad suggests this as a good starting point to discuss potential treatments or resources with your physician or other health care provider.

The first week of May (May 4-10, 2020) marks the Canadian Mental Health Association’s (CMHA) mental health week, a time to openly discuss and educate ourselves on mental health issues and initiatives. In honour of this, we would like to share a new mental health initiative geared towards guys into guys (G2G) – gay, bisexual, queer, questioning, and/or men who have sex with men—goodhead.ca.

Goodhead.ca is a valuable new resource that acts to educate, destigmatize, and create a dialogue about G2G and mental health. When exploring mental health resources, it can be hard to know where to start, what resources are right for you, and what resources are accessible—goodhead.ca helps with all of that. The website acts as a starting point for those who are looking to work on their own mental health or to educate themselves.

The website does a good job of approaching various topics from an unbiased, no shame approach. It provides historical context and discusses various mental health pressures, as well as other stressors unique to G2G, all without adding to the stigma and judgement that often surrounds these discussions. Goodhead.ca encourages folks to reflect on their actions and coping mechanisms but does so in a non-judgemental way; in fact, it encourages readers to abandon learned stigma while approaching these reflections.

Goodhead.ca also acknowledges intersectional identities and the impact that being part of a marginalized group has on one’s mental health. It’s refreshing to see the extra thought and care that went into this initiative, acknowledging the mental health struggles of G2G beyond and in combination with their sexual identity. So often, people of colour and gender nonconforming folks are left out of these initiatives; however, goodhead.ca assures they are given a place in the conversation.

When navigating the website, it feels like any possible question you could have is concisely answered. For questions they may not have the exact answer to, they provide other valuable resources to help users as much as possible. They also recognize that not all folks want the same things out of mental health services and provide information on various types of mental health care options and professionals.

A surprising, yet key feature, of this site is the section that prepares folks who are ready to access services. It provides questions to ask yourself before and after accessing services, as well as questions to ask service providers to ensure they are a good fit. This is such an important addition as so often we may not feel equipped to access or navigate the services when provided with information, which leads to users not reaching out when they made need it most.

Overall the Goodhead.ca initiative provides a valuable and necessary resource for G2G. It acts as an inclusive resource, acknowledging varying identities, and acts as a good tool for mental health education. While being aimed at G2G, navigating the site can be a good tool for educating yourself as an ally as well.

With increasingly challenging times, we hope this initiative is found by those who need it. Stay safe and take care of yourselves. 

With growing concerns in regards to the Covid-19 pandemic, we want to assure that our community is still able to access various resources. We would like to extend our gratitudes to our friends over at Interim Place for putting together a document with external resources currently present in the Peel Region. We will also be adding resources to this page as they become available.

It’s a scary and confusing time for a lot of folks and we sincerely hope these resources help everyone stay safe and healthy.

General Resources

Public Health Ontario resources: https://www.publichealthontario.ca/en/diseases-and-conditions/infectious-diseases/respiratory-diseases/novel-coronavirus/public-resources.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) updates from the Public Health Agency of Canada: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html.

Information regarding rentals during COVID-19: https://www.ontario.ca/page/renting-changes-during-covid-19.

North Peel & Dufferin Community Legal Services (for legal questions, including those about renting): https://www.northpeeldufferinjustice.ca/.

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) application and information: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/cerb-application.html.

Region of Peel Food Programs: https://geohub.brampton.ca/datasets/region-of-peel-food-programs.

Central West Healthline: https://www.centralwesthealthline.ca/.

Non-medical masks and face coverings from Government of Canada: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/prevention-risks/about-non-medical-masks-face-coverings.html.

Physical and Sexual Health Resources

Clinics who can provide PrEP: ontarioprep.ca.

HIV, hepatitis c and COVID-19 from CATIE: https://www.catie.ca/en/covid-19-resources (available in French here: https://www.catie.ca/fr/vih/ressources-covid-19).

YMCA free video exercises: https://www.thisisy.ca/body/.

Q&A: HIV, antiretrovirals and COVID-19: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/question-and-answers-hub/q-a-detail/q-a-on-covid-19-hiv-and-antiretrovirals.

COVID-19 and HIV: What you need to know: https://www.iasociety.org/covid-19-hiv.

Mental Health Resources

Bloom Clinic Mental Health Resource by Stacy

YMCA mindfulness and mental health: https://www.thisisy.ca/mind/.

Crisis Services Canada: crisisservicescanada.ca/en/.

CMHA COVID-19 and Mental Health resource: https://cmha.ca/news/covid-19-and-mental-health.

CMHA Peel Dufferin crisis supports: https://cmhapeeldufferin.ca/programs-services/24-7-crisis-support-peel/.

BounceBack Ontario, “a free, guided self-help program that’s effective in helping people aged 15 and up who are experiencing mild-to-moderate anxiety or depression, or may be feeling low, stressed, worried, irritable or angry”: https://bouncebackontario.ca/.

Big White Wall: https://www.bigwhitewall.com/about-us/.

Within the peel region there is a definitive lack of resources, spaces, and services catered to queer identifying women. Moyo HCS is working with communities and service providers to conduct a community needs assessment to address the divide between service providers and queer women within the Peel Region. Through this process we hope to provide an opportunity for queer women to identify their needs through the use of surveys, focus groups, and in-person / phone interviews. This opportunity is open to individuals who self-identify as being queer, and a woman, and have an attachment to the Peel Region. This attachment can range from currently or previously residing within the region (preferably within the last 5 years) or spending a significant amount of time within the region.

After the data collection, Moyo HCS is aiming to arrange open community meetings with queer women in the Peel Region to share the results, have an open space for discussions on the assessment and recommend the future direction of the project. We hope the Queer Women’s Community Assessment can be used to explore more programs, workshops, and opportunities to deliver more services directed towards queer women in the Peel Region.

If this assessment sounds like something you, or someone you know would like to be involved in, please contact Amneet Bhogal at amneetb@moyohcs.ca or 905-361-0523 ext. 236 for further information.