The Pride Report

SK Women’s Shelters Working Towards LGBT Inclusion

Southwest Crisis Services is hosting an LGBT Diversity Training session in Swift Current next Wednesday, and is inviting other community service agencies to participate.

Laura Beddome, Community Relations Coordinator for Southwest Crisis Services said
staff at the organization realized there was a need for education and action after receiving a call from an LGBT person who was unsure about accessing their services:

“We realized that we had questions. We really questioned whether or not we were a safe space for LGBT people, how we could be more inclusive and how we could be more familiar and informed. A lot of us admitted discomfort with language and understanding the experiences of LGBT people.”

Southwest Crisis Services is joining other women’s shelters across Saskatchewan in starting conversations around creating positive and inclusive spaces for LGBT people.

Over the past year, Moose Jaw Pride has offered diversity training workshops to the Moose Jaw Transition House in addition to presenting at the Provincial Association for Transition Houses in Regina.

Beddome said that she hopes this training session offers hope to people within the LGBT community that some community agencies in the area are wanting to learn more about respecting diversity:

“Whether it’s those we work with as clients or students—or others we work with directly as coworkers—I think it’s important in all of our human interactions that we empathize with other people and try to have a better understanding of each other.”

Beddome said that they were encouraging others from various human service agencies to join them in their training session, sectors such as: education, health, social services and other community organizations.

The upcoming training session will be led by Joe Wickenhauser, the Executive Director for Moose Jaw Pride, who said that the education session is an important first-step for any organization looking to become more inclusive:

“Shelters work with some of the most vulnerable members of the LGBT community, so diversity training is an essential part of creating welcoming spaces and updating critical policies.”

Transgender and gender diverse people in particular face many challenges in accessing emergency housing in Canada and across the United States, with 1 in 3 transgender youth being rejected from a shelter due to their gender identity or expression.

“There is so much work to do on LGBT homelessness, it’s very encouraging to see organizations beginning to actively address these service gaps,” Wickenhauser said.

Anyone interested in participating in the diversity training session can sign up online by visiting: https://moosejawpride.ca/event/diversity-swift-current/

For questions or media inquiries, please contact:

Laura Beddome
Community Relations Coordinator
Southwest Crisis Services

306-778-3386 Ext. 3
preventviolence@sasktel.net

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