An Eye-Opening Training with The 519!

An Eye-Opening Training with The 519!

Catherine Brunton, a Homes First staff member, shares what she took away from a 2SLGBTQIA+ Inclusion training conducted by one of our partners, The 519.   

This interview was conducted by Ana Cisneros, Supervisor of Client Programming, Diversity and Inclusion. 

Can you share with us a little about yourself?  
Hi, my name is Catherine and I started at Homes First in the Property Department in November 2023. I identify as a lesbian woman, and I have two pansexual children, one of whom is also a trans woman. 

Please tell us about your experience with this training as a queer woman and what topic you liked most?  
I was very pleased to see that Homes First was making this training compulsory for all staff as it shows a commitment to prioritizing inclusion and education.  I found the training was very well hosted and the case studies were realistic (I could identify with many of the issues raised). I like that there was room for discussion and peer learning. 

Did this learning opportunity bring forward any new information to improve your personal, professional, family or community life?  
There was not a lot of new learning as someone who is already well immersed in 2SLGBTQIA+ community but as a newcomer to Canada I did learn more about Two-Spirit persons and First Nations’ cultural practices, which was very insightful. I also could tell the training was put together by people who are part of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, so I felt it would be very helpful to those with no or less experience. 

Do you think that this 2SLGBTQIA+ Inclusion training has the potential to improve the ways in which social services operate?   
Yes, particularly it helped to explain to staff the importance of pronouns and not making assumptions about anyone’s identity. I think it also really helped to paint the picture of what it is like for immigrants coming to Canada who are fleeing persecution for their queer identities. The training also touched on intersectionality, which affects so many of us as staff, not just our clients. 

What aspects or contents are still missing according to your perspective?  
I think the training could have acknowledged more that this [topic] is relevant for how we work with our colleagues, not just clients. 

Homes First partnered with The 519 to open Toronto’s first 2SLGBTQIA+ dedicated shelter space, focused on supporting trans refugee women. Our organizations share feedback from residents, staff and leadership to continue to develop needs-informed, responsive programming.  

This April, we are also celebrating Lesbian Visibility Day on April 26th! Check out some facts in the link below: 

Lesbian Visibility Day 

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