Recovering From Quarantining with Queerphobic People 101

This toolkit will provide youth with validation, information, and tools for healing through experiences of gender-based violence within their homes or areas of isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19 Mental Health Digital Hub


This resource was made possible through the financial support of the Canadian Red Cross and the Public Health Agency of Canada.


As a sexual health educator, who works specifically with youth in the context of gender-based violence prevention, I’ve seen firsthand the impacts that quarantine has had on many 2SLGBTQ+ youth after being isolated in spaces where they were susceptible to, or experienced, gender-based violence. For some, they were unable to communicate with their partners while at home, due to not being out to their family. For others, they experienced homophobia or transphobia from caregivers or relatives. 

Navigating safety during a time where being safe was either not an option, or an option that was only accessible through hiding parts of  yourself, can have long-term effects on your mental  health. It’s important to remember that there is no linear way to heal from experiencing, or being exposed to gender-based violence. So let’s talk a bit about what we can do, both as survivors of this violence, and as allies who are committed to standing up against this violence, to create safer spaces for us all, where we can bring our full selves without fear of repercussions. And most importantly, let’s talk about pathways to healing if you, or someone you know, was subject to gender-based violence during quarantine.

Key Terms

  • Transphobia: discrimination, fear and aversion towards people who are transgender
  • Homophobia:  discrimination, fear and aversion towards people who are queer
  • Gender identity: your own, internal sense of self in regards to your gender (for example, identifying as a woman)
  • Gender expression: how you choose to express your gender to the world (for example, how you dress)
  • Perceived gender: how your gender may be assumed by others (for example, you are non-binary but present as feminine, so people assume you identify as a girl)

What is Gender-Based Violence?

A lot of people still have the idea that GBV is solely domestic violence/intimate partner violence, when in reality gender-based violence is any violence inflicted on someone for their gender identity, gender expression, or perceived gender. Transphobia, and homophobia are common forms of GBV that are often not understood as such.

Common Questions:

Who can I talk to about my experience?

  • Trusted friends, family, peers, faith leaders or teachers
  • Therapist/counsellor
  • Phone Lines (call or text)
  • Social media support groups

How can someone who claims to love me not accept all aspects of my identity?

There are so many varying reasons as to how someone becomes homophobic or transphobic. This can include culture, religion, socioeconomic status and environment, as well as the long-lasting impacts of colonialism. What I want to emphasize to you, most, is that not one of those reasons is you. You’ve done nothing wrong, and your identity is not wrong. Navigating healing from trauma inflicted by loved ones is painful and complex, and how it happens is unique to every situation, but I want you to always remember that it is up to the folks- even those that we love- who exhibit homophobic and transphobic behaviour, to unpack their bigotry. It is not up to you to dim your light to accommodate anyone.
While you might not choose to unveil your identity to everyone, due to safety or comfort, it is still not your responsibility to do the work of unlearning and learning for the problematic people in your life.

I’m scared to ask for help while in the same home as the person/people who have caused the violence. What should I do?

Many online services that offer support for gender-based violence survivors have safety features on their website. Some incorporate a “hide this site” button that will immediately take you off of the page, and automatically hide it from your browser history. There are also helplines, chatlines, and virtual therapy that allow for accessing help in a discreet and anonymous way.

Do’s & Don’ts

DO ask for help from someone you trust

DON’T feel ashamed for having experienced this; how others treat you is not a reflection of your worth

DO research to find resources, support groups, and events to connect with folks who have had similar experiences

DON’T try to trick yourself into believing that “it wasn’t that bad.” Your story is valid, and important

DO what is best for you to keep you safe, rather than what someone else believes is best for you

DON’T assume that what works for other people, has to work for you

DO trust yourself and your judgment. Listen to your gut and navigate this healing process in a way that feels best to you

 DON’T blame yourself for your experience

5 Tips For Allies to Prevent GBV in Your Own Communities

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Reflect  on your own actions and thoughts. This includes checking your biases, and considering the ways in which your actions may have contributed to gender-based violence (slurs, attitudes towards certain groups of people, etc). Reflect on your own actions and thoughts. 

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Learn more about gender-based violence in order to prevent it by reading, attending workshops, and talking to your friends and family about it.

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Share your learnings with the people around you!

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Speak up against gender-based violence when you see it. 

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Listen to the experiences of those most susceptible to experiencing gender-based violence, and to those who have experienced  it.

Additional Resources:

  • Healing in Colour – A directory that will connect you with BIPOC therapists in your area.This is where I found my therapist!
  • Lesbian Gay Bi Trans Youth Line – The LGBT Youth Line is a toll-free Ontario-wide peer-support phone line for lesbian, gay bisexual, transgender, transsexual, two-spirited, queer and questioning young people.”
  • Rainbow Services (LGBTQ) | CAMH – CAMH’s rainbow services are intended for Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirit people who are concerned about their drug and alcohol use.

About Author

Lydia Collins (she/her) is an Author, Educator, and Content Creator who brings an accessible, anti-racist and intersectional approach to sexual health education. Through her work, Lydia aims to equip individuals with the necessary tools to make informed decisions about their bodies. Lydia is currently the Gender Based Violence Prevention Project Coordinator for the Canadian Centre for Gender & Sexual Diversity, a freelance Workshop Facilitator, and a sexual health education content creator on Tik Tok and Instagram.
Instagram: @sexedwithlydia

Tik Tok: @sexedwithlydia 

Looking for more content from Lydia?

@itgetsbettercanada Thank you to the wonderful Lydia Collins for showing us what allyship in action looks like! #2SLGBTQ #IGBC #ItGetsBetterCanada #QueerCanada #explore #pronouns ♬ original sound - It Gets Better Canada
@itgetsbettercanada Get ready with Lydia Collins as we answer the question "What is Gender Based Violence?" #pronouns #explore #QueerCanada #ItGetsBetterCanada #IGBC #2SLGBTQ #QueerStories ♬ original sound - It Gets Better Canada
@itgetsbettercanada Lydia Collins is back again with 3 mental health resources for Queer African Caribbean and Black individuals. #QueerStories #2SLGBTQ #IGBC #ItGetsBetterCanada #explore #QueerJoy ♬ original sound - It Gets Better Canada

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