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Simcoe Pride survey hopes to take “pulse” of the community

March 16, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Brock Weir


Youth homelessness, health care access for trans residents, and “significant discrimination” are just three key issues facing area LGBTQ residents, according to Fierté Simcoe Pride (FSP), but there is still much work to do – and maybe many issues that have yet to be identified.

FSP is looking for your help in identifying key issues facing the community as they prepare to develop their new five-year strategic plan.

Earlier this month, FSP launched an online survey for residents to provide their input on wide-ranging topics facing Simcoe County and, with the survey set to close Sunday night, this might be your last chance to have your say ahead of FSP’s annual general meeting at the end of the month.

“There is still not enough data both at local levels, but also national levels in Canada around LGBT needs,” says J. Andrew Baker, past president of FSP. “People are often of the position of, ‘We know the answers to those questions,’ but oftentimes those answers are from 10 or 15 years ago. For us, we’re launching a five-year strategic plan and we want to know the pulse of our community: what our community wants, what our community desires, and how our community wants Simcoe Pride to grow to better serve them.

“Do they want it to grow? Do they want it to stay the same? In that growth, what does growth look like for them? Is there a need for program areas we need to be developing, or that we need to let other organizations, who are better suited, know that this was identified as a need.”

One of the reasons why FSP exists in the first place, he says, was to address an identified gap in Simcoe County. The majority of services available to the LGBTQ community are in larger urban centres, such as Barrie, but there are LGBTQ individuals in every municipality within Simcoe County.

In this context, transportation is a huge issue that remains to be addressed. Midland youth, for example, might know of a program available to them in Barrie but have few means to actually get there.

People in smaller communities often feel a sense of isolation when they can’t access these services, he says, and part of the work they do is having events in smaller communities as well as provide a vital link to services and events elsewhere.

“The survey is both for LGBT community members and also allies,” says Mr. Baker. “It is really important to give that input because it lets us know what our community needs. The reality is this survey is one of the key opportunities for community members to have a voice in our development in the next five years. That plan will mark a majority of the work we’re doing and will be a foundation of the work that we’ll engage in over the next five years.

“This survey is an opportunity for you to put your voice into what that looks like, into what those things are you need in your community, to be provided by Simcoe Pride, if it is possible, if there is funding available, if there are opportunities. Without that voice, we can’t even begin to look at developing those areas, nor may we have even considered ideas that community members have.”

To take part in the survey, which closes March 18, visit


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