Encouraging safe spaces for LGBTTIQQ2SA youth: Ontario's Advocate for Children and Youth launches Be Our Ally campaign at WorldPride 2014

TORONTO, June 19, 2014 /CNW/ - The Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth is pleased to announce the Be Our Ally campaign to encourage service providers in Ontario's care system be allies to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, intersex, queer, questioning, 2-spirited (LGBTTIQQ2SA) youth and create safe environments that promote acceptance and respect. The campaign video will be screened at the WorldPride Human Rights Conference on June 27 with future plans to launch a toolkit of resources for adults, children and youth.

"We want all children and youth in our mandate to know that we are here for them, they have the right to feel safe and free from discrimination regardless of their sexual or gender identity," said Irwin Elman, Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth. "We encourage service providers and professionals who work with children and youth in my mandate to change the dialogue. We need to stop the negative messages, be aware of unconscious biases and focus on being allies to our LGBTTIQQ2SA young people."

Be Our Ally is an initiative spearheaded by the You Are Not Alone (YANA) project that was created by the Provincial Advocate and launched during Toronto Pride Week in 2012 to make a lasting difference in the daily lives of LGBTTIQQ2SA youth. YANA provides opportunities for young people connected to the child welfare, children's mental health and youth justice systems as well as children and youth with special needs or those requiring the services of Provincial or Demonstration schools and First Nations youth to share their experiences and ideas to make the system more supportive of LGBTTIQQ2SA youth.

For more information about YANA and #BeOurAlly, please visit the Provincial Advocate's website or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter and check out the YANA video from Toronto Pride 2012. If you're attending WorldPride, YANA will be presenting at the Dare to Stand Out Summit on June 23 and the WorldPride Human Rights Conference on June 27.

The Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth reports directly to the Legislature and provides an independent voice for children and youth, including children with special needs and First Nations children. The Provincial Advocate receives and responds to concerns from children and youth who are seeking or receiving services under the Child and Family Services Act and the Education Act (Provincial and Demonstration Schools). The Provincial Advocate identifies systemic problems involving children, conducts reviews and provides education and advice on the issue of advocacy and the rights of children. The Office is guided by the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and has a strong commitment to youth involvement.

SOURCE Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth

For further information:

Media contact: 
Fiona Taylor
Tel: 416-420-7728, Email: Fiona_taylor@live.com