Deepening Our Understanding of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans

Disability and Migration Politics
Tess Vo
Nov 11, 2014
Griffin Centre
Griffin Centre is a non-profit charitable mental health
agency providing flexible and accessible services to
youth, adults and their families
Our mission is to promote positive change for
vulnerable youth and adults with mental health
challenges and/or developmental disabilities and their
We are dedicated to delivering innovative services and
developing creative partnerships that enhance lives and
reachOUT is a creative, inclusive & accessible program
for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer youth and
adults in the Greater Toronto Area
We provide a range of innovative projects, which
include drop-in groups, outreach, individual and family
counselling, newcomer services, consultation, crisis
response, as well as arts-based and sports-focused
We offer safe spaces that reflect the diversity of our
queer and trans communities
In 2008, Griffin Centre received initial funding to establish
reachOUT Newcomer Network (RNN)
Staff team
A settlement program for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and
questioning (LGBTQ) newcomer youth ages 13 to 24 in
1 Project Coordinator,
2 Settlement Workers (all full-time)
Increase access to settlement services for LGBTQ newcomer
reachOUT Newcomer Network
Core Services
Initial Needs Assessment
Information/ Orientation
Translation/ Interpretation
Solution focused counseling
Service Bridging
LGBTQ drop-in groups
Research/Program Evaluation
Curriculum Development
Community Outreach
Arts-based programming
Sports Activities
Defining Disability
CONTESTED Territories
Developed by Onyii Udegbe, Disabled Youth People’s Project
Social Construction of Disability
Disability as oppression rather than individual deficit
Disabled people oppressed based on impairment
Bodies matter– sensory, physical, intellectual,
environmental and impacts on our bodies
Intersects with race, class, gender and sexuality and
many ways to experience and embody disability
Developed by Onyii Udegbe, Disabled Youth People’s Project
Defining Disability
Disability as a contested category
The way that we name and define disability directly impacts
the response to disability
Problem of where disability is located - within the person
versus located in social organization
Dominance of medicine as authority - the medical model
The Construct of the “normal”
Developed by Onyii Udegbe, Disabled Youth People’s Project
Self Advocacy
Compass youth define disability:
Something you’re born with
Something that somebody labels you as having
A mind frame (a way of thinking)
People think that you’re dumber or slower than others but they don’t
understand that having an intellectual disability can make you stronger or
wiser in other places
Living with stereotypes as well as also being queer
People think you cannot have a regular life or partner
Sometimes it’s shameful and a secret that you don’t want people to know
Disability and Migration
How to be an Ally
Be flexible in all aspects of your work
This might mean being flexible around your scheduling, length
of time you plan on spending with someone, problem solving,
rules etc.
Be consistent
Don’t pity individuals with disabilities; action is important,
work together
Use clear communication
How to be an Ally
assume what a person’s ability may or may not be. Do not assume if they
are “high” functioning or “low” functioning. Also don’t assume what
someone’s abilities are based on stereotypes or assumptions.
DON'T "OUT" PEOPLE. Do not force anyone to disclose their personal
identities. Do not force them to disclose the labels that have been placed
on them or their disabilities. Also, if you know that someone has a disability
or a label, do not assume that you may tell anyone else. Be sensitive to the
fact that some people are "out" in some areas of their lives, but not in
How to be an Ally
EDUCATE YOURSELF. If there are things you don't know or understand
about disability issues, do some research, ask questions or contact a group
that deals with these issues.
about disability issues are visual indicators that a space is positive and
TALK ABOUT DIVERSITY. Maintain an inclusive group, classroom, living or
workspace by talking openly and respectfully about disability issues when
they come up. Treat these issues as you would any other issue.
Advocate for universal design
Job Posting
** One Full-time contract position with Griffin Centre's reachOUT program **
At Griffin Centre, we assist over 2,500 people each year to recognize their strengths,
achieve their goals and improve their lives. Griffin Centre promotes positive change for
vulnerable youth and adults with mental health challenges and/or developmental disabilities
and their families. We are dedicated to delivering innovative services and developing
creative partnerships that enhance lives and communities.
The Position…
Griffin Centre’s reachOUT Newcomer Network (RNN) is a program for
newcomer youth and adults of colour, with a focus on serving lesbian, gay,
bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) newcomers and
newcomers with disabilities. This innovative program is focused on increasing service
access for newcomer communities across Toronto by providing integrated settlement
services including referrals, group supports, case management, solution-focused counselling
and service bridging. We are currently seeking one full-time Project Coordinator/Settlement
Worker who is sensitive to the cultural factors and needs in the lives of newcomers or
government-assisted refugees, inclusive of LGBTQ community members.
This position is a contract, from November 17, 2014 to March 31, 2015 with possibility of
renewal based on funding.
The major position responsibilities include:
• Project Development and Coordination: Coordinate the development and implementation of
RNN services and activities in collaboration with the project team, reachOUT Program
Supervisor and relevant stakeholders. This includes creating work plans and identifying
settlement service initiative innovations that are responsive to evolving community needs
as well as those of the settlement and mental health system in Ontario.
• Provision of Settlement Services: Provide settlement support including case management,
referral and solution focused counseling to newcomers and their families, especially LGBTQ
and disabled newcomers, from diverse cultural backgrounds; manage a caseload of clients
and ensure that written documentation for each file is consistently up to date; ensuring that
the support provided to clients works within a client-centered, anti-oppressive, culturally
responsive, youth engagement, critical disability and community development framework;
enhance and increase the effective contributions of newcomers in organizations and
communities across the GTA. Provide coordination to team of two Settlement/Outreach
Workers in the provision of individual settlement services.
Your Qualifications...
A strengths-based, harm reduction, critical disability, anti-racism/antioppression, sex positive, transpositive and youth engagement philosophy of
service provision and a belief in the self-determination of service users;
• • Above-average oral and written communication skills including report writing, excellent
organizational abilities and time management;
• Knowledge of employment and social services for newcomers in Toronto and
surrounding areas;
• Fluency in Kiswahili, Yoruba, Igbo, Somali, Twi, Tigrinya, French, Tagalog or American Sign
Language is an asset;
• Lived experiences of homophobia, transphobia, anti-black racism and/or
ableism and personal connection to queer and trans communities of colour,
including newcomer and disability community are considered assets.
To Apply…
If you have the above qualifications and are ready to make a difference, please email your
cover letter and resume to [email protected] by October 31, 2014. Please quote
file # 34-14.
Contact information:
• Tess Vo
• Supervisor, Community Connections and reachOUT
• Griffin Centre
• 24 Silverview Drive
• Toronto, ON M2M 2B3
• 416-559-8565
• Email: [email protected]

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