London celebrations

London, Ont. advice center to offer LGBTQ2 workshops at first Pride festival appearance – London

In its first appearance at Pride London, the Community Counseling Center of London will offer two new programs for the LGBTQ2 community.

The non-profit organization strives to provide affordable, subsidized counseling services in London and surrounding areas.

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The Pride Festival is set to make a big comeback for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began, from July 14-24. The festival will feature a variety of different exhibits, live music and more in preparation for the 26th annual Pride parade.

“To have this chance to just be there at Pride and say we’re here for the whole City of London is a really rare opportunity,” said Bruce Dow, trainee therapist at the Community Counseling Center in London.

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The center will soon feature a unique event called Ally Awareness Workshop which will focus on providing information aimed at answering questions about sex, sexuality, pronouns, gender identity and more.

Additionally, the organization will launch monthly or bi-weekly group support experiences to “recognize that the 2SLGBTQIAP+ community in London has specific needs that differ from those of the community as a whole”.

“It would be like a group therapy meeting, (but) just group wellness support, additional information (and) community support,” Dow said.

He added that the two programs are marked as a starting point for the center in offering new services.

“We’re looking at baby steps right now,” Dow said. “There are so many allies who want to understand and engage (but) it can be daunting. Also, we thought we would start with just a general support group for the community to find interest in seeing what we could build from.

“As we work with people, you discover specific needs and specific interests will emerge. Next, we will seek to focus more clearly.

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According to Dow, the center will have a stand in Victoria Park for the final 48 hours of the 10-day festival. However, the organization plans to officially set up these workshops after the Pride festival.

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“It’s an opportunity for us to really reach out to the community in a different way to deliver different services,” he said.

But regardless of the programs, Dow said within the community and emerging from the pandemic, more people have reached out compared to previous years.

“Our lives have kind of been put on hold,” he said. “But now more and more people are reaching out to us and wondering how they can reframe their lives and experiences.

“Now we’re looking to offer something a little more specific to a specific area of ​​the community.”

Visit the London Community Advice Center website for more information on the center.

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