The IN Directory helps folks find support, safer spaces…
By Jumol Royes
This isn’t a story about a directory.
It’s a public service announcement about a critical lifeline for individuals who are searching for safety, support and community connections.
If you’ve been following the news lately, you’re aware of the pushback and hateful protests targeting Pride flag raisings and drag queen storytimes in communities across the country. It feels like 2SLGBTQI+ communities are under constant attack these days.
Despite all the conversations around diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and the strides made towards progress and acceptance, the need for trusted information sources to help community members connect to resources is greater than ever.
IN Magazine recently asked 2SLGBTQI+ folks about the biggest challenges they face when it comes to finding information to access services or seek support. Almost half (42%) of survey respondents said that 2SLGBTQI+ non-profit organizations and service providers don’t have the resources to promote their services; 21 per cent shared that 2SLGBTQI+-specific programs, services and supports are hard to find; 15 per cent confessed they don’t know where to look; and 12 per cent said searching for information online can be frustrating and time consuming (the remaining respondents cited other challenges).
Enter the IN Directory: Canada’s newest 2SLGBTQI+ community resource directory for 2SLGBTQI+-specific programs, services and supports.
The IN Directory launched during Pride Month in June, and currently features 325 community resource listings across all 10 provinces and three territories: from St. John’s to Victoria, Iqaluit to Windsor, and everywhere in between.
There’s OutLoud North Bay, an organization committed to the mental health and well-being of young people in North Bay and surrounding communities that provides additional resources for 2SLGBTQI+ youth and organizes activities, events and workshops designed to engage local youth of all ages, empowering them to build a supportive network of peers.
All Inclusive Ministries, or AIM, in Toronto offers a welcoming, safe and affirming Catholic community for 2SLGBTQI+ individuals and allies, and serves as a bridge between the Catholic Church and 2SLGBTQI+ communities. The group provides opportunities for community life, outreach, education and spiritual growth in the form of social gatherings, lectures, film screenings, workshops and more.
Out west in Vancouver, Health Initiative for Men, or HIM, strengthens health and well-being in communities of self-identified GBQ (gay, bisexual, queer) men and gender-diverse people in British Columbia by offering a full spectrum of health-based programming and services to meet sexual, mental, physical and social needs.
Community resources found on the IN Directory can be seen in a grid or map view with search results filtered by province, city/town, keywork search and category (i.e., community programs; health care; mental health and addictions; trans; crisis and helplines; employment, education and training; housing, emergency housing and shelters; sexual health; youth; abuse and assault; arts and culture; people with disabilities; children and family services; legal; African, Caribbean and Black; faith and spirituality; Indigenous peoples; older adults; Francophones; newcomers; and sport and recreation).
Each community resource listing contains a detailed description outlining the 2SLGBTQI+-specific programs, services and supports that the organization or service provider offers, along with contact information including a website, phone and/or text number and social media handles.
Co-created by the IN collective and diverse 2SLGBTQI+ communities, and proudly sponsored by Pride Parenthood with Anova Fertility and Reproductive Health, this digital platform is meant to serve as a living community resource navigation tool that will be continually edited, expanded and updated by communities.
We know from data compiled by Statistics Canada that 2SLGBTQI+ Canadians are more likely to be victims of violent crimes like hate crimes, more likely to experience poor mental health outcomes and be diagnosed with a mood or anxiety disorder, and more likely to have seriously contemplated suicide in their lifetimes.
The stories of the people behind the data make the heartbreaking case for why a directory like this one is essential.
After Pride Month has come and gone and the rainbows fade from view, the IN Directory will be helping 2SLGBTQI+ folks find the information they need when seeking support or safer spaces while navigating moments of strength and struggle.
So, tell your bio family and chosen family, friends and co-workers that there’s a national, digital community resource directory by and for 2SLGBTQI+ communities.
Support is at your fingertips. Visit inmagazine.ca/directory today.
JUMOL ROYES is IN Magazine’s director of communications and community engagement, a GTA-based storyteller and glass-half-full kinda guy. He writes about compassion, community, identity and belonging. His guilty pleasure is watching the Real Housewives. Follow him on Instagram @jumolroyes.