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Welcome to Capital Pride’s Spotlight Series. In this series of blog posts, Capital Pride will share information about the amazing work of our community partners and how the 2SLGBTQ+ community can access their programming, get involved and learn about what these organizations do. Capital Pride will interview members of these organizations to learn more about them and enable you all to connect to these organizations as well. If you’d like to get involved in the Spotlight Series contact [email protected]

The CCGSD is a youth focused 2SLGBTQ+ organization that is centered on empowering gender and sexually diverse people through advocacy and educational programming done across the country.

The executive director of the CCGSD, Debbie Owusu-Akyeeah, discussed the important work that she and her team do at the CCGSD, such as the ‘We Belong: Celebrating 2SLGBTQ+ History’ program. The ‘We Belong’ program began as a continuation of the CCGSD’s ongoing queer history programming and has evolved into something bigger. It has become “an opportunity for us to center the stories that we usually never do when it comes to talking about queer and transness. And that’s to talk about queer and trans people of color who are mostly Black and Indigenous and really having that be the core, or the forefront of the stories that are being told,” said Owusu-Akyeeah.

The program is highlighting voices from QTBIPOC communities so they can share their experiences and highlight different perspectives through this program. Owusu-Akyeeah noted the important shift in the method of presenting this programming because it provides an opportunity for 2SLGBTQ+ youth to hear from perspectives that may be similar to their own and have representation in the historical understanding of queerness taught in the program.

The ‘We Belong’ educational program is running virtually with events for multiple provinces and the key-note speaker is from each province where the workshop is virtually being held. This program provides an educational opportunity for youth ages 12-19 to learn about queer history in a way that is often not accessible or available through typical school programs. More information about the program and the dates that the workshops are running can be found here.

Though the CCGSD is a national organization that provides bilingual programming that supports and positively impacts folks across the country, there is also a strong local focus at the CCGSD as an Ottawa-based organization. Debbie Owusu-Akyeeah says that the CCGSD has a responsibility on a local level to “be better neighbors” and not only provide advocacy support on a national level but also help local organizations through being a point of connection to government bodies and other organizations to help provide greater support for 2SLGBTQ+ communities. 

She emphasized the importance not only so that young people can see themselves and be supported through the educational programming, but also “ensure adults are better allies to young people. Because sometimes adults aren’t and we really need to do a better job with that,” said Owusu-Akyeeah. The team at the CCGSD are committed to educating and empowering youth and enabling educators and facilitators to be part of this growth with the learning opportunities presented through the CCGSD’s educational programming.

Want to get involved with the CCGSD?

Even though the ability for the CCGSD to come physically into classrooms and professional development spaces isn’t available at the moment, there are still ways to connect to the CCGSD virtually. The CCGSD is always looking for volunteers on small and larger scales, whether it is helping on an administrative front or taking action through letter writing, advocacy, and more. The CCGSD team can be reached by email here to connect to the different projects that the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity is working on and planning for the future.

There is lots to look forward to from the CCGSD like the collective art project, Together in Time which will showcase local youth artists in the National Capital Region as they create pieces of art to mark points in 2SLGBTQ+ history. The panels created by the artists will be showcased locally and accompanied by other event programming. More information about this and the other work being done by the CCGSD can be found on their website and social media here.