Our Programs

Provincial Youth Ambassador Program (PYAP)

The Provincial Youth Ambassador Program (PYAP) is now complete.

It brought together 2SLGBTQ+ youth from across the province to increase 2SLGBTQ+ programming and supports in their local regions, strengthen leadership skills, and build networks amongst 2SLGBTQ+ youth. PYAP strove towards building communities that are not only safe and inclusive of 2SLGBTQ+ youth, but also free from systemic barriers and violence. By 2SLGBTQ+ youth, for 2SLGBTQ+ youth.

PYAP Logo created by SJ Graphics | saidjiddawy.com

From Queers To Peers

Created by and for 2SLGBTQ+ youth, this series is brought to you by our 2022-2023 Youth Ambassadors! From compelling interviews to candid conversations and even a fictional series, this podcast covers everything and anything on the minds of 2SLGBTQ+ youth.

Please note this content is intended for audiences 16+ and may contain mature discussions that are not suitable for younger individuals. Mentions of suicidality, family rejection, drug use, acts of intolerance/violence targeted at 2SLGBTQIA+ youth, and more will occur throughout.

From Queers To Peers, 3 Chaotic Queers, and Nourishing Our Roots are three podcasts created by our 2021-2022 Youth Ambassadors! These podcasts are by and for 2SLGBTQ+ youth in Ontario. Read on for more about each podcast.

Transcripts for each podcast are here! Happy listening!

3 Chaotic Queers

Do you ever find yourself mulling over the longterm impacts of living through COVID-19 (and the downfall of late-stage capitalism) as a young and ‘openly’ queer/trans person?

If it sounds like a lot to unpack, it’s because it is… So let’s unpack it together. Introducing our new upcoming podcast series, 3 Chaotic Queers! ?

Join Rabia (she/them), Nicole (she/them), & Sydney (they/her) as they discuss what it means to be queer in today’s society and why they’re ready to burn this capitalistic sh*tshow to the ground…

Listen to the trailer here, and catch the first episode of this 4-part series on Friday, March 4th, wherever you listen to your podcasts. Until then, make sure to give our quirky co-hosts a quick follow to find extra episode teasers and some super special bonus clips!! ?

 ? Nicole – @Nicole.KayM
 ? Rabia – @MisguidedSoul + @RabiaCho
 ? Sydney – @Sydney_JC

Please note this content is intended for audiences 16+ and may contain mature discussions that are not suitable for younger individuals. Mentions of suicidality, drug use, acts of intolerance/violence targeted at 2SLGBTQIA+ youth, and more will occur throughout.

Nourishing Our Roots

What does it mean to have a wellness practice? How do you know what is the right practice that connects with your inner self? And how do these efforts connect to decolonization and affirmation for the 2SLGBTQ+ community? These questions represent only a few that Nourishing Our Roots sets out to answer. Nourishing Our Roots is a podcast that explores wellness practices in an effort to promote healing for racialized and Indigenous 2SLGBTQ+ folks. With a holistic approach, hosts Grace and Ashiana speak with guests about four pillars of wellness through a decolonial lens. This season features discussion and activities around themes of spirituality, art, embodied practices, and sexual health.

This podcast is a response to YouthLine’s Do Better report, featuring 7 recommendations by 2SLGBTQ+ youth in Ontario for more inclusive and effective ways to service their community. Nourishing Our Roots is grounded by the belief that 2SQTBIPOC deserve wellness services and tools that are anchored in decolonization, cultural relevance and gender and sexual affirmation.

Nourishing our Roots Credits:

Ashiana Ismail, Grace Guillame – Creators & Hosts

Grace Guillame – Music

Tahmina Giasi – Logo art

kumari giles – Consultation 

Find Podcasts by LGBT YouthLine on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts!  ? ✨

2SLGBTQ+ Black and Indigenous Healing Spaces

From December 2021 to March 2022, PYAP ran dedicated Healing Spaces exclusive to 2SLGBTQ+ Black and Indigenous youth in Ontario. This initiative offered the Youth Ambassadors in these pods the opportunity to engage each other in holistic conversations and activities centered on healing and the intersections of race, indigeneity, sexuality and gender. 

Workshops included:

These weekly sessions were facilitated by Black and/or Indigenous community organizers and leaders, and culminated in the creation of a collaborative art zine to commemorate the YAs’ time spent together and the learnings they took away. You can read it on our Publications page! 

Check out the Facilitators:

Natalie Guimond (she/her) is a Registered Social Worker, Mental Health Therapist and Educator. Her practice is grounded in a framework that is holistic, trauma-informed, anti-oppressive and 2SLGBTQ+ positive. She is passionate about creating culturally affirming and inclusive spaces for people to learn, grow and heal – one on one, and in community.

This healing space will focus on caring for ourselves and each other, in a way that honours our WHOLE selves – mind, body and soul. We will look at current sources of stress, identify how we’re coping, learn from each other, and walk away with new skills to help us feel more grounded and hopeful for the year ahead.
Amelia R-N (She/Her) is a zine-maker who daylights as an animation coordinator. She is based in Tkaronto. Her island in Animal Crossing, has a 5-star rating. Her Instagram is @blackgirlmagicthegathering.

During the Dare To Zine workshop, we will go over what is a zine, how to make a zine, and ways to make zine-making fit in with whatever our needs are in the moment.
Beverly Kesse is a social media manager, and content creator with over 5 years of experience in both social media, digital content creation, and writing for lifestyle websites. Beverly takes a multi-disciplinary approach to digital content creation and social media.

This workshop will take you through the basic principles of social media wellness with the lens of EDI. We will look at addressing wellness on social media, setting proper boundaries with social media apps, and how to be accountable on social media.
Debbie Owusu-Akyeeah (she/her) is an award-winning Black feminist with over 8 years of local and international advocacy experience through feminist initiatives in the Ottawa-Gatineau region and through working at Oxfam Canada and Global Affairs Canada. She became the new Executive Director at the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity (CCGSD) in July 2020. When she isn’t yelling into a megaphone at protests or organizing events, Debbie is probably on a field somewhere playing rugby. Or baking a cake.

Through the use of art and storytelling, Debbie will lead participants in a discussion on African histories of gender and sexual diversity. Participants will learn from a Black queer and trans “activism” approach that links the stories of our existence pre-colonialization to modern queer resistance in Africa and around the world. In this session, participants will learn the importance of owning our histories as gender and sexually diverse Black people while reaffirming the notion that “we have always been here.”
Ra’anaa is currently pursuing her PhD research on the intersection of Black art and activism (artivism) at Concordia University. She is the Co-Founder and President of Black Lives Matter Sudbury and Installation Coordinator for Up Here: Urban Arts Festival. Ra’anaa has taken on many leadership roles, as an artist, activist and academic creating space for people of colour and continually promoting anti-racist practices and social justice.

This workshop will focus on the creation of a space which encourages self expression through the intersection of art and activism and the role the community plays in the creation of artivism.
Yami (they/them) is a movement based practitioner who works at the intersections of gendered and racial violence, based in Tkaronto. Yami weaves ancestral teachings, decolonial practices and movement to support connection to space and place. Yami is a member of Brown Girls Yoga and Hill Insider Collective. In 2017 Yami founded SEEDS Yoga for those affected by sexual harm.

Healing shame invites us to make our most powerful offers towards the world we want, towards liberated futures. We hold that shame is fundamentally a wise and protective response to oppression. In this workshop we would like to invite Black Folxs to engage in practices and tools in exploring how shame operates in their life and engage in practices of somatics that work for the individual participants based on where they are in their journey.

#DoBetter: 2SLGBTQ+ Youth Recommendations for Change in Ontario

In 2019, LGBT YouthLine’s Provincial Youth Ambassador Program (PYAP) brought together 18 2SLGBTQ+ youth from across Ontario to lead an assessment about the experiences and needs of 2SLGBTQ+ youth (29 and under) in Ontario.

The PYAP Youth Ambassadors worked together to develop the entire process, and almost 1,200 youth participated through an online survey and in-person community sharing circles between July-September 2019. The results from the Needs Assessment are powerful and speak to the immediate and future needs of our communities while also amplifying the resilience of 2SLGBTQ+ youth.  

Drawing from this assessment, and after much anticipation, LGBT YouthLine is excited to announce the release of “Do Better: 2SLGBTQ+ Youth Recommendations for Change in Ontario.”

The report details seven recommendations calling on organizations, government, service providers, educators, health care professionals, and community leaders in Ontario to #DoBetter to support 2SLGBTQ+ youth in Ontario. For more details about each of these recommendations and how you can take action, visit dobetter.youthline.ca.

With the time, dedication, and support of our Youth Ambassadors and YouthLine Staff, community members, the research team, artists, designers, and so many more, this report and this research became a reality. Thank you for all of your work <3

A special thank you to 2SLGBTQ+ youth who participated in the 2019 2SLGBTQ+ Youth Needs Assessment. Thank you for trusting us with your experiences, thoughts, and demands. Thank you for sharing your dreams, goals, and futures. We hope this report will make you proud, and that you will continue to make demands for services, leaders and politicians to #DoBetter.

Introducing the 2020 Youth Ambassadors Community Projects!

We were super lucky to have 14 amazing YAs in the 2020-2021 PYAP cohort! Check out the details of their projects here.

The YAs began their volunteer positions in June, participating in weekly YouthLine core trainings and skill shares. This learned from so many wonderful 2SLGBTQ+ community members throughout the training cycle. Due to COVID-19 we were not able to have our Opening Retreat, so we moved our team building to online spaces: escape rooms, ‘gaymes’ nights, and colouring galore!  

Moving into Fall 2020, the YAs were busy planning and implementing their community projects. Online Black-only support spaces, 2SLGBTQ+ youth zines, community needs assessments, affirmation decks, and online video resources, just to name a few!

Wrapping up PYAP 2019/2020

The Provincial Youth Ambassador Program 2019/2020 cohort has sadly come to an end. We had such an amazing year, and are so incredibly proud of the Youth Ambassadors, and all of the work they have done to support and amplify the needs of 2SLGBTQ+ communities across Ontario.

To check out a recap of all the amazing things PYAP was up to in 2019/2020, click here!