This page will be updated with statements released by speqtrum during COVID-19.
The following statement was released by speqtrum on May 17th, 2020:
Today is International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia (#IDAHOBIT).
Today also marks the 30th anniversary of the World Health Organization removing
homosexuality from its list of mental disorders in 1990. Yes, it was that recent.
As a 2SLGBTQIA+ youth organization, we confront these phobias on a daily basis, directly and
indirectly. Whether it’s organizing against hate groups, supporting young people affected by
discrimination, or making security plans for each and every one of our events to ensure they are
indeed safe(r) spaces, we have been on the frontlines of Hamilton’s hate crisis.
Today we are thinking of the young people quarantined in unsupportive or unsafe households.
We are thinking of trans and nonbinary folks who have had lifesaving medical interventions
delayed because of COVID-19 regulations. We are thinking of 2SLGBTQIA+ migrants, facing
travel restrictions preventing them from seeking refuge. We are thinking of isolated or closeted
2SLGBTQIA+ seniors in long-term care facilities. We are thinking of racialized 2SLGBTQIA+
people, facing increased surveillance and policing under the guise of ensuring “safety” in our
communities. We are thinking of incarcerated 2SLGBTQIA+ people, in overcrowded prisons,
with next to no hygiene supplies or healthcare access, and we join the call to #FreeThemAll.
With all major crises, oppressed people are disproportionately affected. This rings true in this global pandemic. The list above is a small snapshot of the existing oppressions that have been compounded by COVID-19, and forgotten by government relief efforts.
To our 2SLGBTQIA+ communities today- we see you, we hear you, we love you, and we have your back. We will continue to create events and resources to support you- never hesitate to reach out to us. Let us take today to reflect on how far we have come, and the ways that many in our community have been left behind. Let us reflect on how we can better support trans, BIPOC, disabled, and sex worker members of our communities, now and in the future. Let us consider the ways we can operate in solidarity with all other communities affected by capitalism, colonialism, and patriarchy.
To our allies, we need your help more than ever. COVID-19 emergency measures have forgotten 2SLGBTQIA+ communities. We have quadrupled our events, moved, online, created a check-in support program, and have doubled our efforts to connect youth with necessary resources. With our current funding expiring in a few months, we ask that if you have resources right now, that you consider supporting our work to reduce isolation and improve access to supports for 2SLGLBTQIA+ young people. Donations can be made online at speqtrum.ca/support-us.
Thank you to all the individuals and organizations fighting to make Hamilton a place free from oppression, including Kyle's Place, SWAP - Sex Workers' Action Program Hamilton, Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion, Pride Hamilton, Hamilton Trans Health Coalition, Disability Justice Network of Ontario, SACHA, and The SPACE Youth Centre. We stand with you against transphobia, whorephobia, racism, sexism, ableism, colonialism, and patriarchy.
In community and solidarity,
Your speqtrum staff team
The following statement was released by speqtrum on March 17th, 2020:
To our speqtrum community,
We wanted to update you on what we’re up to for the next few weeks, given that we won’t be running our usual events while we work to practice social distancing during the current pandemic.
First, we want to acknowledge that our community already experiences isolation and loneliness at disproportionately high rates. The cancellation of events, programs, and in person supports has been really difficult for some 2SLGBTQIA+ youth in our community. We also know that some of us can’t afford time off work, or to stock up on supplies to prepare for a possible quarantine. Some of us are now facing an indefinite period of time at home with parents, family members, or roommates, who aren’t supportive of our communities or identities. Some of us may be going back in the closet, or hiding parts of ourselves that we’re used to expressing. We see you, we’re here for you, and we’re going to work through this together as a community, as best as we can.
THANK YOU to all of those in our 2SLGBTQIA+ *and* our broader Hamilton community for demonstrating true solidarity and mutual aid in these trying times, particularly grassroots efforts. We encourage all of you to keep reaching out and supporting each other- it is community care that will make all the difference.
Behind the scenes, we will be working on securing funding to ensure speqtrum’s future and to grow our current capacity. Moving forward, for the next three weeks at least, (and potentially longer), speqtrum will shift to providing peer support online, as well as running online events through various online platforms. For this week, online peer support will be provided Wednesday March 18th 5-7pm and Friday March 20th 2-4pm. During these time periods, speqtrum staff will be available on Instagram (@speqtrumYHM) and Facebook to chat, provide emotional/peer support, and connect you with other resources in the community. We cannot provide crisis support, but we are more than happy to listen and help problem solve as we are able. Outside of these periods we will still be checking our social media and email inboxes, but we may not be able to respond immediately. Additionally, we will be running another Instagram live event on Thursday March 19th 7pm. We will be crafting with common household items, and you can follow along with us! Stay tuned to our social media for further updates!
We are also looking at other ways we can connect as a community online. Stay tuned for more announcements next week, and keep your suggestions coming.
Finally, we have compiled a list of resources that may be helpful in supporting you and your own communities in the coming weeks:
CareMongering-HamOnt: Hamilton Community Response to COVID19
This is a Facebook group for “sharing and organizing community resources in response to COVID-19. The goal of this group is to organize the local community on the grassroots level to ensure vulnerable community members have access to food, housing, healthcare, and other necessities.” This is a really good resource if you’re looking to get involved in providing help on the ground or if you’re in need of any food, supplies, etc.
Speqtrum community member Jake has compiled a broad list of community support programs in a google doc: https://docs.google.com/…/1MgIJtvwGlS6Wpu0yyY7syDaIuG…/edit…
“Youth Line offers confidential and non-judgemental peer support through our telephone, text and chat services. Get in touch with a peer support volunteer from Sunday to Friday, 4:00PM to 9:30 PM”
“Trans Lifeline’s Hotline is a peer support service run by trans people, for trans and questioning callers. Our operators are located all over the U.S. and Canada, and are all trans-identified. If you are in crisis or just need someone to talk to, even if it’s just about whether or not you’re trans, please call us. We will do our best to support you and provide you resources”
If you have feedback for us, ideas, or questions, feel free to message us here, on Instagram, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
In community and solidarity,
Your speqtrum staff team