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LGBTQ2S

Some young people identifying as LGBTQ2S told the Panel that residential services in Ontario are not safe for them. They told stories of being ridiculed and rejected by caregivers (especially in foster care) and evicted, discharged and, in some cases, traumatized by their experiences in the system. While some young people expressed general satisfaction with caregiver responses to their identity, the Panel was disturbed by the confirmation of staff and management in one setting that being LGBTQ2S would not be safe there. The lack of activity to mitigate these issues is incongruent with Ontario’s values and significant efforts to ensure respect for the rights and well-being of the LGBTQ2S community.

In its consultations, the Panel also heard that young people identifying as LGBTQ2S in the homeless youth shelter system are significantly overrepresented. The Panel had opportunities to hear the stories of some young people involved with the homeless youth service system in Toronto, and heard that the services these young people encountered were inadequate, leading inevitably to the continuation of homelessness upon aging out of the system.

During its consultations with service providers in all residential care sectors, the Panel was not presented with any initiatives that are focused on creating fundamental change pursuant to the experiences of LGBTQ2S youth. While the Panel has since been informed by MCYS of an initiative in this context that aims to produce a resource guide and training materials for the child welfare sector in particular, it is nevertheless concerning that no service provider spoke to any initiatives related to the LGBTQ2S community, nor did the Panel hear about MCYS initiatives until the final days of its work.