The Consensus team received a letter telling of the creation of a LGBTQ youth centre at Beaconsfield United Church. Let us welcome them and remember to give them a visit when you’re in Quebec. Here is an excerpt from the letter:
Since May 2011, the LGBTQ Youth Cenre has provided a safe space where queer-identified and questioning teens in the West Island of Montreal can meet, talk, develop relationships and understand themselves better as queer-identified people. We offer a drop-in service where area teens may easily and safely seek guidance, care and support individually or in a group setting. Inquiries are confidential, and the Cetnre follows safe space guidelines which strive to respect each participant’s background and circumstances. The West Island community has demonstrated interest and support for our initiative, and is coming together to help create an authentic, genuine program for this “at risk” group of youth in our midst.
Our work is deeply necessary for a society where homophobia and transphobia are still widespread, and represent major obstacles for young people who are just beginning to question their gender and/or sexual orientation. We opened the Centre on the day Beaconsfield United Church officially became an Affirming Ministry. In establishing this Centre, Beaconsfield United Church is actively working to make a tangible difference in the lives of this historically maligned community’s youngest members. It is important to note that the Centre has no particular religious affiliation and it celebrates the diversity of spirituality expressed in and throughout the LGBTQ community. This congregation is proclaiming that LGBT people, like everyone else, deserve God’s love. This is a tremendously powerful message in light of the religions across the world which continue to spread hate-filled, homophobic intolerance.
The long-term goal of our ministry is to empower queer youth to take control, develop leadership skills and get involved, to become informed and to inform others about the issues and concerns faced by LGBT people everywhere. By instigating dialogue within the wider community, we seek to educate individuals, organizations and community leaders such as clergy and teachers about queer-identified people. We recognize that homophobia is best confronted through understanding. By providing information and support to parents, families and friends of LGBTQ teens and young adults, we help the community better understand the issues and challenges these young people face, and thereby cultivate acceptance and loving support.