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Trans Fusion Crew Is Supporting Our Youth

This welcoming and supportive space is for all trans and non-binary gender experiences…
 
Trans Fusion Crew (TFC) has become a lifeline and beacon for trans and non-binary youth across Toronto, providing supports for people who often aren’t sure where to turn. “Moving here as a queer and trans teenager on the run from an abusive and transphobic home environment, attending the program helped me find community and support,” says Markus*, a TFC participant. “I was able to access healthcare services, get fed regularly, and learn about issues relevant to the LGBTQ+ community. I am sure that the relationships, support and skills I gained are what helped put me on a positive and healing path.”
 
TFC is a community program operated by Sherbourne Health, an urban health agency in downtown Toronto that works primarily with underserved populations including LGBT2SQ communities, people experiencing homelessness and newcomers to Canada. As with most of our programs, TFC was born from a need in the community – an overwhelming lack of supports for trans and non-binary individuals. Through groups and one-on-one supports, TFC provides critical assistance to trans, gender non-binary and gender-questioning youth in a safe, trans-positive space designed to help youth build confidence and resilience, empower youth with health knowledge and inspire a supportive community. These supports became even more critical during the COVID-19 crisis.
 
Access to mental health supports is vital to the overall well-being of LGBT2SQ youth, and during this past year, many of Sherbourne’s group programs like TFC saw an alarming increase in the need for greater mental health supports. Transgender and gender-diverse youth already face significant challenges and complex barriers (transphobia, discrimination, a disproportionate rate of unemployment and homelessness), and now added to this was extreme social isolation brought on by the pandemic.
 
TFC was able to adjust its programming to ensure that online one-on-one mental health supports were available during the pandemic. Generous support has been provided by TD Bank Group through the TD Ready Commitment, the Bank’s global corporate citizenship platform. This helped ensure TFC could continue to provide and adapt these vital services for our trans and non-binary youth. Along with mental health supports, we were also able to address food insecurity, which became a growing concern for youth during the pandemic – many had been laid off or lost their employment altogether. TFC began to offer food hampers that contained nutritious essentials like fresh produce, meat and meat alternatives, milk and rice so that our clients were receiving physical sustenance along with the mental health supports they required.
 
To further help in combating feelings of social isolation brought on by the pandemic, we have incorporated some new and creative activities, like our recently launched QueerTrans book club and, when public health orders allow, a walking group where TFC participants can walk and explore the city and queer up the streets together. We are also implementing programming that brings together clients from more than one of our groups to create intergenerational discussions, learnings and social experiences.
 
TFC is part of Sherbourne Health’s Supporting Our Youth (SOY) program, an innovative and award-winning capacity-building program that has been in operation for over 20 years. SOY programs work to support the health and well-being of all queer and trans spectrum youth 29 years old and under through groups, programs and events, and by providing one-on-one support. For more information on SOY programs and services like Trans Fusion Crew, visit soytoronto.com. For more Trans Fusion Crew information and programming, please contact facilitators at tfc@sherbourne.on.ca.
 
*Markus is a pseudonym to protect this participant’s anonymity.
 

 

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