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LGBT communities + substance use

Light at the End of the Tunnel

Transition was the biggest blessing in Cole’s life, but it also brought along the stress of navigating a major life transition without the support of family, friends, and community members. He started partying to cope, and ended up dropping out of school to work in order to make money for drugs. Now sober, in school, and on a path to support LGBTQ2S youth, Cole reflects on the importance of treatment options that address interdependent challenges like gender identity, homelessness, and drug use and look at the whole person.

Qmunity—BC’s Queer Resource Centre

Qmunity* has been serving lesbian-gay-bisexual-trans (LGBT)—or queer—folk and our allies for more than 30 years. Our programs and services help to enrich queer and other communities, advance the health and well-being of queer communities, and build capacity (that is, help individuals develop their personal gifts and abilities to benefit the community). We also advocate for justice, challenge stereotypes and affirm the worth of all people.

Reducing Barriers

I’ve been giving awareness training on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities for Education Outreach Services at Qmunity, BC’s queer resource centre. I’ve led trainings for health care, social service and criminal justice workers, as well as students at colleges and universities.

Treatment Delayed Because I Was Gay?

In my 45 years of existence, sex between two men in Canada has gone from being a criminal offence and diagnosable mental illness to being an act that “consummates” a marriage recognized by society, government and some churches. Despite these legal, medical and social advances, the reality is that being gay and having a mental illness can result in delayed or inappropriate treatment. My story is a case in point.

Same But Different

Health professionals who work with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) clients suggest that LGBT people use more of all substances than the general population.1-2 And, current research suggests that about 30% of the LGBT population abuse substances, while only about 12% of the rest of the population does.1-2

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