Trans community 'live in isolation' pandemic or not, support more important than ever says advocate
'Now is always the time to make sure that you have adequate support,' says Jayce Carver
A Windsor-Essex organization aimed at providing aid and counselling to members of the region's LGBTQ communities has moved some of its services online as a means of helping people stay connected with support during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Jayce Carver, executive director of W.E. Trans Support, said she didn't want to shut down her organization or its services during the pandemic.
"We know that trans people, on a best day, live in isolation and that they have high rates of suicidal ideation," she said. "So we know that adding this layer of isolation into a queer or trans person's life could mean the difference between life and death."
In addition to being able to speak with counsellors and peer mentors over the phone, Carver said W.E. Trans Support has set up privacy-protected online chat rooms to provide support.
We want our community involved,- Jayce Carver, Executive Director, W.E. Trans Support
And despite her organization's name, Carver said W.E. Trans Support is working on finding ways to help people of all sexualities and gender identities.
"We know that we have gay kids at home right now not being supported too," she said. "So we want to bring in a peer mentor for people who identify as gay and people who identify as lesbian, in order to be able to help individuals deal with some issues around their sexuality during this time."
Carver said her organization is also holding daily "webisodes" of W.E. Trans Support live "to keep people engaged with our organization, keep people engaged with support, but also just talk about things that we're all going through during isolation or just things that are fun."
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She added that episode ideas are welcome from all.
"We want our community involved," Carver said.
But while W.E. Trans Support is still able to provide counselling and mentorship during the pandemic, Carver said not all of her organizations are thriving.
"We're having trouble getting donations for our food bank, because we can't necessarily just bring in stuff from people's home," she said.
We know that adding this layer of isolation into a queer or trans person's life could mean the difference between life and death- Jayce Carver
"So we are looking to community members to step up and put some food in the food bank, either by cash donation or gift cards or things of that nature."
Carver added that "now is always the time to make sure that you have adequate support."
"You're not alone," she said. "There's nothing wrong with who you are."
With files from Stacey Janzer