2SLGBTQ+ charity addresses importance of queer youth mental health in upcoming roundtable talk

January 20, 2022 – Toronto, ON – In celebration of Bell Let’s Talk Day, It Gets Better Canada, a Canadian charity with a mission to uplift, empower, and connect 2SLGBTQ+ youth across the country, will be hosting a free livestream roundtable talk on “The Power of Perseverance: A Queer Youth Mental Health Panel,” on January 25, 2022 at 7pm EST.

While youth across the nation tackle mental health challenges, the pandemic has exacerbated the continued elevated struggles 2SLGBTQ+ youth face. The discussion, which will highlight stories of resilience, empowerment and shared learnings within the queer community, is co-moderated by Canada’s Drag Race season 2 winner, Icesis Couture and features youth panelists who have appeared in this season’s “Queer Prom” episode.

“It is important to create platforms for us to share stories of our unique experiences. This event offers a safe and nurturing environment for our inspiring panelists to explore how they have overcome barriers, while hopefully inspiring others to maneuver and possibly conquer obstacles which are often so prevalent within the queer community,” says Omid Razavi, Executive Director of It Gets Better Canada and co-moderator of the event.

The panel, which registrants can register for free at: itgetsbettercanada.org/events, will also offer virtual professional support via an anonymous breakout room hosted by a queer youth mental health expert, who will be available during the event for those who need immediate assistance.

Event registration: 

https://itgetsbettercanada.org/events

About It Gets Better Canada:

It Gets Better Canada is a registered charity and an official member of the It Gets Better Project International Affiliate Network which seeks to uplift, empower, and connect 2SLGBTQ+ youth across Canada.

https://itgetsbettercanada.org

Contact: Omid Razavi, Executive Director

execdirector@itgetbettercanada.org

Speakers:

Icesis CoutureIcesis Couture; co-moderator

The Nation’’s Capital’s first Canada’s Drag Race Season 2 WINNER Icesis Couture is an “Ottawa Girl” born and raised, with family roots in El Salvador.  As a proud Canadian and Salvadorian, Icesis Couture has always included her culture and activism in her performances. Icesis Couture’s unique and passion-filled stage presence is legendary within Canada’s Drag community and is now known across the world as the season 2 Lipsync Assassin!

Omid Razavi (he/him); co-moderator

Executive Director of It Gets Better Canada. Passionate about driving equity and diversity forward, particularly 2SLGBTQ+ initiatives, Omid is able to put his best foot forward when working to uplift youth advocacy and mental health support. Considering himself as a professional storyteller, Omid has published his own children’’s pop-up book (Let Me Out: a pop-out about coming out) and has directed several youth focused animated shorts.

Clover

Clover (they/them); panelist

Clover is an East-Asian queer non-binary creative studying at the University of Toronto. They are an advocate for equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging in all of the communities they are a part of. As well, Clover is an artist exploring self-expression through digital art, dance, guitar, and poetry. If you catch them skating around the city and want to chat about art, equity, or anything else, please feel free to say hi!

Ethan Berkeley-Garcia (he/him); panelist

Ethan Berkeley-Garcia is a pansexual actor, singer/songwriter and model from Brampton, Ontario. He currently has released two songs which are on all major streaming platforms and hopes to release a debut album in the near future. You may have seen Ethan on television as a “sidekick news anchor” for CBC’s Recap, onstage in a plethora of musicals including but not limited to Newsies, Hairspray and The Little Mermaid or in various magazines. Besides his creative pursuits, Ethan is a huge advocate for 2SLGBTQ+ rights and continues to use his art and platform to foster equality for all.

Friday

Friday Saleh (they/them); panelist

Friday is a brown queer non binary person who grew up in Markham, Ontario. Raised as an Ismaili Muslim, they believe strongly in climate and 2SLGBTQ+ activism and work to educate people on how to be an ally. In their catholic high school, they have worked to create a safe space in their GSA and gardening club. They believe that the power in educating people in how to be an ally can help others to unlearn biases. Friday is pursing Environmental Science in the University of Waterloo, hoping to represent more queer people in STEM.

Makayla Walker (she/her); panelist

Born in Toronto, Ontario, Makayla Walker is a black transgender woman who thrives in the arts and constantly advocates for the black community. She began her love for advocacy and the arts in the Jane and Finch community where she was raised. It was there that Makayla learned about the importance of using your voice and the power of the performing arts. She then attended theatre school and began her journey in drag. She is now a Toronto drag staple and constant support for queer and trans youth looking for belonging.

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