New LGBTQ society gets off the ground in Iqaluit

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02/22/2021

Branching off from a high school club, Positive Space Nunavut aims to create inclusive spaces, culturally relevant resources and eventually jobs for sexually and gender-diverse Nunavummiut. The society has $100,000 in new funding from the federal government to develop Inuit-specific educational resources, gather community knowledge and hold events, said Positive Space president Bibi Bilodeau. “Nothing actually reflects Inuit and the experience of coming out in a smaller community,” she said about the resources currently available to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning people. “We don’t want people to feel that they don’t have a place in their communities.” Bilodeau applied for the funding last year because she wants to pay the people who contribute their time, personal experiences and knowledge to create better resources. She said it’s important to pay for this work because she wants youth and community members to know their experiences matter. Bilodeau grew up in Toronto and moved to Iqaluit about eight years ago. “For some of us who have … found a home here, it makes us feel like this is something positive that we can contribute to the community,” she said. Bilodeau said she often gets contacted by schools looking for someone to do workshops on gender and sexual diversity with their faculty. She does it on her own time, but hopes in the future, the society can hire queer youth and community members to do this work across the territory. She said she also hopes the society can create a physical centre for LGBTQ youth, like there is in other cities. For example, the Rainbow Coalition of Yellowknife opened a youth centre in 2016 and began offering support for adults the year after. “These can create really great jobs for Inuit, who are on the sexual and gender diversity spectrum, that’s what I really want,” said Bilodeau.

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