Sherbourne and SOY has definitely changed my life for the better. It has changed me because they have provided food, tokens, support, and recreation and in a time of stress. For times of stress for trans newcomer youth, like myself, it is very important to come [to SOY] and to forget about the stresses of life or to have someone hear them out and provide guidance, and ease the stress, or to give hope.SOY participant
Being a part of SOY H.E.A.T. has completely transformed my perspective and opened my eyes to the ways in which I navigate the world. Through the program, I have been introduced to critical ideas in an informative and engaging way and the training sessions have ignited my passion for social justice. The concept of intersectionality has been particularly significant to me. As a gay man, I always thought of myself as being the victim of oppression and never considered that I could be making the lives of others more difficult, especially around LGBTQ2S* issues. Realizing that I, someone who felt oppressed, could also be perpetuating oppression in the lives of others, really made me step back and reevaluate my engagement with others. After completing this program, I feel incredibly enlightened, but also now realize that learning is an ongoing process. I am eternally grateful to SOY H.E.A.T. for this meaningful opportunity - it has been life-changing.Dylan, SOY H.E.A.T. , 2015
I have two highlights from the Get Out! program in terms of outings: the canoe-camping trip, as well as the Winter camp lodge weekend. Both of these trips I think for me were highlighted, because I was able to get a break from being marginalized. Being able to escape the rest of the city, and be surrounded by others who share an understanding of queerness provided a normalized environment, where I didn’t have to think about being Queer, I could just be myself, and enjoy what we were doing. All of the trips have been fantastic, but I really enjoyed camping, and the activities at the YMCA camp, in general. Get Out!, for me, has had an incredible impact on how I have been able to come to terms with my queer identity. Unlike other queer based groups, Get Out! doesn’t focus on being queer, it focuses on being out in the world, and taking on activities that I love, but in a very safe, secure, and queer positive space. Being able to have a place to participate in active or outdoor activities where my identity is normalized has allowed me to build confidence. Get Out! has given me a space to test out who I am, without having to explain or justify myself – which is an incredible stress relief.
I have found it incredibly difficult to participate in sports, or other outdoor activities in the last few years. Being Trans, I have a lot of anxiety over public spaces that are highly gendered, or gender divided. With Get Out! activities, I don't feel any anxiety, because I know if we are in a gendered space, others will be around to support what I need, and if we are not in a gendered space, it will not be an issue. I will be accepted. It has also been extremely helpful to have queer volunteers/mentors attend each outing who have had experience in areas where myself or someone else might be struggling. Get Out! has become a really important part of my coming out process. I have many good things to say about the program.Rowan*, Get Out *name chosen by youth to protect their privacy