Newfoundland and Labrador has one of the highest rates of 2SLGBTQIA+ identification in Canada. Members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community contribute immensely to the cultural and economic fabric of our province. The experiences, perspectives, and wisdom of 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals add diversity, vibrancy, and richness to our society. Individuals who identify as members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community are often in greater need of community-based supports due to the systemic barriers they encounter due to decades of discrimination and inequality.
Choices for Youth (CFY) has forged a strong connection with the 2SLGBTQIA+ community over our over 30-year history of working with vulnerable youth. CFY endeavours to break down the barriers that these folks face by providing inclusive programs and services that fill the gaps that 2SLGBTQIA+ youth have historically fallen through in society.
CFY is seeing an increase in 2SLGBTQIA+ representation in our programs and services each year. Currently, 23% of young people aged 16-29 within CFY programming identify as part of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, and 14.3% of youth who completed intake with CFY in 2022 identified as Transgender, Gender Non-Binary, Genderfluid, or Two-Spirit.
CFY’s newly minted partnership with Quadrangle NL (Quad) is therefore an anticipated and important development in our goal of supporting the 2SLGBTQIA+ community in this province. Quad shares a similar goal; in fact, it is at the core of who they are as an organization.
Incorporated in 2015, Quad is a registered charity that offers, social activities, workshops, counselling services, visibility materials, community connections, and other programs and services to 2SLGBTQIA+ folks. One of Quad’s main objectives is to create a resource centre for members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Like CFY, Quad is working to fill the service gaps that exist in this province. Prior to Quad’s inception, there was no organization dedicated to supporting the full 2SLGBTQIA+ community in NL. Furthermore, NL is one of the only provinces in Canada without a dedicated community resources centre for members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.
Quad’s programming focuses on community building, peer support, and wellness. They host Hi(gh) Tea bi-weekly, which is an open hybrid online and in-person gathering that provides a safe space for members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community to convene and socialize on Sundays from 2:00 pm-3:00 pm. Folks who need one-on-one support can avail of their Wellness Wednesday program, which offers 45 minutes of peer support for individuals and is available on Wednesdays from 10:00 am-4:00 pm. In addition, Quad provides a 2SLGBTQIA+ Community Counselling Line, in partnership with The Jacob Puddister Memorial Foundation, where community members can receive support from a trained counsellor.
Many 2SLGBTQIA+ folks are unable to safely attend events in the city or their hometowns due to discrimination and other barriers. Quad, therefore, organizes monthly “Out-ings” – community events that are free for 2SLGBTQIA+ community members and allies. These events are safe and inclusive and allow participants to have fun and foster connections with their peers.
It’s fair to say that Quad’s programming is making a significant impact in the lives of 2SLGBTQIA+ folks in NL. One anonymous program participant shared that “Quadrangle NL consistently completes essential work in our province, providing hope and support to people who have experienced marginalization.”
Quad has a history of working in partnership with other community organizations that support 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals. CFY was aware of Quad’s work and was eager to offer our support in an advisory capacity. Quad took the opportunity to leverage CFY’s experience, and eventually, it made more sense for the two organizations to have a joint working agreement in place.
CFY signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Quad in 2022 to help them achieve their goals and enhance their capabilities. CFY is providing developmental supports towards Quad’s goal of creating a community resources hub for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community in NL. These supports include partnership management and strategic development, finance and administration, human resources, and fund development and communications.
The partnership between CFY and Quadrangle NL has been established for several months and both organizations are working hand-in-hand to achieve their strategic goals. Quadrangle recently secured its first rental space – a significant step forward towards achieving its goal of creating a community resources centre for 2SLGBTQIA+ folks in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Quadrangle NL operates a Visibility Program, which was created to support groups and individuals with materials such as Pride flags, stickers, and pins to empower the visibility of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. You can order items for yourself or your organization online using the following form:
To learn more about the important work that Quadrangle NL is doing in the community, visit their website: https://www.thequadnl.com/
Written by Chris Morris