FORGOTTEN VOICES

Forgotten Voices is a research study for Aboriginal LGBT*QIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender*, transsexual*, gender diverse*, queer, intersex, asexual) and Two-Spirit Indigenous youth who are homeless or at risk of being homeless in Toronto.

No Indigenous population is more at risk for homelessness than sexually/gender diverse or two-spirited youth. A profile of homelessness in Toronto reveals 20% of the homeless population identifies themselves as Aboriginal. What’s more, 15-25% are Indigenous youth, and 23% of these youth are sexually diverse youth trying to sort out how they see themselves and their identities. Some might be bisexual or asexual, and others might be two-spirited. But what spectrum identified Indigenous youth in Toronto have in common is the fact that no one knows anything about their everyday lives, needs, frustrations, desires, and aspirations.

We know that Indigenous youth are prone to homelessness and inadequate housing because of poverty, familial breakdowns, mental unwellness, addictions, unsafe jobs and unemployment. Oftentimes shunned or kicked out of their families, sexually and gender diverse Indigenous youth come to Toronto from places they felt unsafe and marginalized, only to find themselves emotionally drained, financially tapped out, and forgotten in a big city that forgets easily.

Forgotten Voices was created to help Two-Spirit, LGBT*QIA Indigenous homeless youth tell their stories their way. In the study, youth talked about:

  • their lived experiences with the shelter system
  •  cultural programming
  • harm reduction strategies
  • the staff and supports that they have encountered
  •  living on the streets
  • addiction

Hearing their stories straight from their hearts and mouths is helping us all learn about living together in Toronto.

Download

Forgotten Voices Booklet  (PDF  document)

 

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