Get Comfortable And Engage With The LGBTQ Community

Get Comfortable And Engage With The LGBTQ Community

By: David Ly
  5313 reads

“Once I started connecting to a more developed gay community, I felt a new level of accountability to my community, whereas before it was me making my own decisions, completely independent of anyone else. [But] once I had a community where they really cared about me, and I to them, I felt some level of responsibility to them which was pretty cool.”

– Andrew Shopland, Coordinator of YouthCo’s Mpowerment Project: a community development program for young (ages 16-29) gay, bi, and trans men.

What YouthCO, and Mpowerment, aim to do is help individuals become comfortable with who they are, and subsequently going out into society with more a self-acceptance, in order to instill it upon others. A sweet goal, similar to those wonderful happy endings Disney movies where everyone just “got along”…

The Mpowerment program was developed in the 90s starting with studies in San Francisco’s gay community. It was a response seeing higher rates of HIV diagnosis in the younger cohort, then compared to the rest of the population. Now, through social events, Mpowerment YVR aims to bring Metro Vancouver’s youth together (no matter of their gender or sexual orientation), to break barriers between different societies for a deeper understanding of what others go through and experience.

Then – for those who choose to – individuals who identify as “guys who are in to guys” attend workshops to un-pack sexual stigma, and better understand sexual health.

 “Mpowerment is community level intervention...what we think of health care is very individual…the way Mpowerment works is that it creates a community where people feel more comfortable interacting with each other, and talking about safer sex, homophobia and such things. And there’s really strong evidence that this results in much better individual practices”

- Andrew Shopland

Want to get involved with Vancouver’s queer community? Think us youth can always use better sexual education?

Visit YouthCo and Mpowerment’s social media for more info!

Posted on March 03, 2014