Flag raising, walk to mark International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia in Barrie

Barrie group TransQ is organizing a walk and flag-raising event to promote awareness and acceptance of the LGBTQ2 community. The Canadian Press file

The trans and Pride flags will be raised at Barrie City Hall on Friday followed by a walk to mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.

The event, which has been organized by local transgender support group TransQ, will begin at 4 p.m.

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“I think our main goal, honestly, is to just plant the seed in people’s minds about whether or not they have made steps to talk about discrimination,” said Caleb Kenehan, one of the event’s organizers and a facilitator at TransQ. “It’s something I think a lot of people shy away from because we don’t want to talk about the negatives.”

One of the most important factors of the walk, Kenehan said, is the visibility of people in the LGBTQ2 community.

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“Visibility is one of the single biggest things that breaks down stigma and breaks down discrimination,” he said.

Kenehan said he’s heard about a lot of instances in which LGBTQ2 people have faced discrimination in the region.

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“At this point, I’ve lost count at how many times I, personally, have been harassed or threatened at a public space in Barrie,” he added. “It’s even caused a lot of members of the community to avoid leaving their house.”

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association in Ontario, the risk of post-traumatic stress disorder is doubled among LGBTQ2 people compared to heterosexual people, and the LGBTQ2 community also experiences higher rates of depression, anxiety and substance use.

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Having a public event might also spark a conversation among people regarding how to better support their local LGBTQ2 community, Kenehan said.

“We wanted to have something that was coming from the community and something that we’re doing for ourselves to increase awareness outside of our own small circle,” he said.

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