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The feeling of excitement ahead of this year’s Capital Pride festival is palpable as we are bringing our communities “All Together Now” after more than two years physically distant. We finally get to spend time together to both address challenges that have been exacerbated by the pandemic and advocate for continued positive change across our region.

Mental health issues and feelings of isolation are already common among those in our 2SLGBTQ+ communities, before factoring in the effects of a global health crisis. According to Rainbow Health Ontario, studies have found high rates of depression, anxiety, obsessive–compulsive and phobic disorders, suicidal thoughts and acts, self-harm, and alcohol and drug dependence among 2SLGBTQ+ folks.

During the last couple of years, the lack of in-person connection has negatively affected 2SLGBTQ+ individuals of all ages, but especially queer youth. Being able to host recent events like Capital Pride’s Pride Prom and plan other youth-focused events as part of this year’s festival helps us affirm the experiences of queer youth and provide them a sense of community that supports them.

We know that something as simple as being able to have a face-to-face conversation with someone who understands what you’ve been through can be monumental for a young person. We hope this festival can be a beacon for 2SLGBTQ+ folks of all ages looking to connect, find support, heal and celebrate...

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