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Support groups for LGBTQ2IA+ community launched

Members of the LGBTQ2IA+ community who are healing from sexual violence will soon have some more support.

The Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre (CASASC) in partnership with the Red Deer Queer Community Association (RDQCA) will be offering support groups for LGBTQ2IA+ youths and adult survivors next month.

The support groups will be facilitated virtually and will give members of the LGBTQ2IA+ community who are survivors of sexual violence an opportunity to feel accepted, heard and understood.

“Sexual violence can have psychological, emotional, and physical effects on any survivor regardless of race, religion, age, or gender,” said CASASC Executive Director Patricia Arango. “Overall, the survivor support groups allow young women and 2SLGBTQ+ individuals affected by sexual violence to discover new ways to cope and link with other survivors to develop a sense of community which survivors might be missing in their lives.”

Arango said the groups are designed to encourage individuals who have been affected by sexual violence to regain their voice in a space of healing.

“We are giving them the ability to take back their power,” she said.

Support groups have restorative effects to survivors as they create safe spaces where individuals feel comfortable not only expressing their feelings, but to talk about the impacts of sexual violence has on their lives. Individuals in the groups can begin to heal through support facilitated by RDQCA hosts and trained counsellors of CASASC.

“RDQCA is thrilled to be working with CASASC as the organization has always been a huge advocate for the LGBTQ2IA+ community,” said RDQCA Chairperson Rhys Pugatschew. “RDQCA hopes this group will help LGBTQ2IA+ folk find their community and heal together. Being a part of the community has never been easy and we hope this program will bring everyone together during this difficult time.”

The support groups are funded through the Fund for Gender Equality. The Fund for Gender Equality is supported by a collaboration between Community Foundations of Canada and the Equality Fund, with support from the Government of Canada.

The virtual group sessions launch next month with the adult group starting on May 6 at 5:30 p.m. and youth group starting May 8 at 2:30 p.m.

For more information or to sign up contact CASASC at 403-340-1124 or email reddeerqueercommunity@gmail.com

Find more info on RDQCA here