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Celebrating Pride

As Pride month comes to a close, we want to highlight our incredible 2SLGBTQIA+ community at Young Adult Cancer Canada (YACC)! 

Supporting 2SLGBTQIA+ Young Adults With Cancer at Primetown 2022

Queer young adults diagnosed with cancer may find themselves navigating systems, providers, and supports that don’t quite “fit.” Earlier this month, we were able to explore this theme in an incredible panel presentation at Primetown supported with our community members and partners like Queering Cancer and Princess Margaret Cancer Centre’s Sexual and Gender Diversity in Cancer Care Team. The conversation was one full of authenticity, reflection, hope, and electricity!

Our friend, Dr. Cheryl Heykoop (she/her) and her amazing team at Royal Roads University were able to support this incredible conversation by bringing graphic recorder, Erica Bota, of Drawing Change to capture the conversation. The panel moderator was Sydney Gilcrest MSW RSW (they/them) of Umbrella Health, and our panelists included Brendan Lyver (he/him), Dr. Christian Schulz-Quach (he/him), and Margo Kennedy MSW RSW (she/her) of Princess Margaret Cancer Centre’s Sexual and Gender Diversity in Cancer Care TeamDr. Evan Taylor (they/them) of Queering CancerTristan Bilash RSW (he/him) of Allan Blair Cancer Centre, and YACC community members Karyn Avalon (she/her) and Sarah Manns (she/her).

[Image description: A digitally drawn image capturing the themes of the Supporting 2SLGBTQIA+ Young Adults With Cancer panel. The image is a collection of cartoon figures and word art scattered across the page with bright colours. The word art includes navigating assumptions; entering the cancer-care world, I felt judged; had to prove my validity of my chosen family; they assumed that I wanted to have kids; use neutral language; ask me, don’t assume; we are pioneers and trail blazers; it’s a very scary and sensitive time; what is my identity?; there is a doubling of effort; hope; resiliency; perseverance; this is my partner; constantly having to out myself; many identities; advocating for myself gets exhausting; I can help; all of the sudden having to be serious; abundance of choice yet a feeling of no choice at all; intake forms lacking inclusivity e.g. pronouns; not everyone is out, they deserve inclusive and dignified care; I’m proud of my chosen family; imagine electronic medical records; the sense of community is so important; safety; can I trust this system? Historically I couldn’t; what’s missing?: trust; healthcare provider education and training; funding and data; looking at body parts, not identities; the system cuts people off before they can access services; every life needs to be treated equally; remove gender restrictions for tests; navigators that I can trust; creating very safe spaces; healthcare has a big responsibility; will I be able to find a washroom?; inclusive; allies can advocate, too; and diverse collaboration. At the bottom of the image are logos for UHN Diversity, Queering Cancer, Royal Roads University, Vancouver Foundation, Health Research BC, Young Adult Cancer Canada, CancerCare Manitoba Foundation, CancerCare Manitoba, and Drawing Change.]

If you’re seeing or reading themes that resonate with you or capture your curiosity, please take in the whole conversation! Our incredible and generous panel enthusiastically and vulnerably explored a lot of important ground together. We are so grateful to each of them for sharing their lived and professional experiences, and their commitment to improving cancer care!

Get involved! Ongoing oppportunities at YACC for our 2SLGBTQIA+ community!

[Image description: A flyer seeking experiences of racially, sexually and gender diverse adolescents and young adults with cancer in Canada. Details of the flyer have been summarized above for those using screenreaders]

Thank you to our 2SLBTQIA+ community!

We hope that all of you have had an impactful and celebratory Pride month. You are a vibrant and essential part of the YACC community and we look forward to growing our support and resources in an inclusive and meaningful way. Thank you for all of your power and passion!

With gratitude,

Dani & the Young Adult Cancer Canada Team!

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