Like That: Winnipeg drop-in lets people discover who they are through drag
Sunshine House focuses on harm reduction and having fun
The makeup and mirrors are out and the day-long transformation is about to begin.
I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor is playing and eyelashes are being glued.
Like That, a program that runs Mondays at Sunshine House drop-in centre, gives people space to explore their gender and sexual identity.
"It's a program for folks who don't feel safe in other areas or places in the city to explore sexuality and gender and what it means to them. So it's not just drag, it's about building community and letting people be themselves free of judgment," says Like That co-founder Levi Foy.
Like That is a term used to avoid forcing people into boxes that may be laced with homophobia. Rather than saying you're queer, you're just "Like That," they say at Sunshine House.
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Harm reduction, social inclusion
Margaret Ormond came up with the idea for Like That two years ago. The special projects manager of Sunshine House had a hunch there were marginalized LGBT people on Winnipeg streets who were not using regular queer programming in the city.
"We wanted to make a space that was inclusive and fun and dynamic where people could engage," Ormond says.
She laughs about the program and the mess it makes every Monday night at Sunshine House, a community drop-in and resource centre at Logan Avenue and Sherbrook Street that focuses on harm reduction, population health promotion and social inclusion.
"It has gone crazy," she says about Like That.
Foy says the mess is well worth the cleanup.
"We had one person come to us and in her first night, she got to finally explore who she was. From there she made connections with other folks in the group and began her transition process in less than a month. She never dreamed it would happen so fast," Foy says.
Ormond says she knew there were stories like that out there.
"You know there's people hanging around downtown, you know people in drag," she says.