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I hadn't realized how meaningful it can be to prepare a meal together, then sit down to eat it around one table.

Daniel, 24, He/Him

There were many times I felt I found community at Speqtrum and can pinpoint attending the Intergenerational Kitchen as one of the more special times I felt that sense of community. After leaving my parents' homes I had a difficult relationship with food, one that only became more troubled as I began to find as a trans guy and my life started changing around that. I hadn't realized how meaningful it can be to prepare a meal together, then sit down to eat it around one table. What's more, there aren't a lot of opportunities for 2SLGBTQ+ people from different generations to connect, and I felt the intergenerational aspect of the kitchen was something truly magical. Though I've moved from Hamilton now, I am still blessed to be in touch with people I've met through Speqtrum and look forward to a time when we can connect again over something delicious.

It may sound too simple, but I most valued the chance to be in the room with other queer people, to hear their thoughts and opinions and to know them a little better. I grew up in a smaller city than Hamilton, one where queerness was hardly discussed, let alone celebrated. At first, it was a thrill in itself to know that others "like me" existed at all, and to learn from them what life could be like.

I came to Hamilton in 2014 – a year recognized by many as The Year the Last Gay Bar Closed. Though I had never been, I still felt that something had been lost, and to this day wish that there were more places where our communities could come together. Speqtrum has always done a fabulous job of using everything Hamilton has to offer – every space and every person's unique contribution – to make their events special, where people know that they belong, and they matter. The "matter" part is significant to me as well, having participated in some of Speqtrum's politically oriented projects. Collaborating on initiatives like the voting rights campaign was one of the first times I felt we were contributing something very meaningful to our communities, not just here in Ontario but reaching far beyond the province. So together, the sense of belonging and knowing that our cooperation mattered is what I most value from the time I've spent with Speqtrum.

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