Gender-based violence and 2SLGBTQ+ youth: the SAFER project


2SLGBTQ+ youth experience high rates of gender-based violence (GBV) and the resultant negative impact on their mental health. One study found that 74% of trans students have been verbally harassed because of their gender expression and 78% of trans students felt unsafe at school (Egale, 2017). The goal of the SAFER Project is to build the capacity of Canadian 2SLGBTQ+ and youth-service organizations to prevent and address GBV against 2SLGBTQ+ youth including public forms harassment. The project brings together 2SLGBTQ+ youth between the ages of 16 - 25 with lived experience in a Youth Advisory Council (YAC) and partner organizations from across Canada in a Partner Advisory Council (PAC). SAFER will provide training, hold regional and national events, and runa  public education campaign. With this workshop, we hope to engage others in learning about the effects of GBV and how to prevent it in their own contexts.


Dennis Steubing
Dennis earned a Doctorate in Global Studies from the University of Saint Joseph (Macao), a Master of Arts in International Development from Saint Mary’s University (Halifax) and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with an Option in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of Waterloo (Waterloo). His doctoral research focussed on children’s rights during emergencies, namely the right to protection and the right to participation. He explored the ways children actively participate in their own protection during emergencies in Pacific Island countries with field research in Fiji and Tonga. In his Master’s thesis he used a children’s rights framework to analyze the reintegration of child soldiers in Mozambique, Sierra Leone and northern Uganda. Dennis is a seasoned project manager and policy analyst. He has worked in civil society and government organizations in Canada, and abroad. His professional experience includes work in experiential education, youth engagement, programming for children and youth with learning disabilities and youth in conflict with the law, consulting on project design and evaluation, training and capacity building, academic instruction, and team management. 

David Chernin
David Chernin is the finance and administration officer at Wisdom2Action and works out of K’Jipuktuk (Halifax). He has studied Business Administration at Nova Scotia Community College and has experience working in the retail and tourism industry in downtown Halifax.

Josel Angelica Gerardo
Josel Angelica Gerardo is a MA Candidate in Political Science at the University of Toronto with research interests in intersectionality of gender, sexuality, race and ethnicity in politics, an alumni of the Politics program at X (Ryerson) University and a current staff member at the Faculty of Arts Dean’s Office. As a young scholar, she was involved in multiple research projects including the Dimensions Pilot Program and the Young Workers Rights Hub. Josel is a queer Filipina immigrant, and recipient of the University-wide Dennis Mock Student Leadership Award, Marion Creery Award, and Women Champions of Diversity Award after 3+ years in student government and leadership.

Key takeaways

  • Gender based violence impacts 2SLGBTQ+ differently depending on their intersections of their identities
  • Transfeminine and feminine gender expressions and/or identities experince greater discrimination and gender based violence in comparison to androgynous and masculine idenitites meaning the underlying theme in gender based violence is misogyny
  • The SAFER project was launched in response to the limited 2SLGBTQ+ resources and programs
  • SAFER regional training program

Key Learning Objectives (defined by presenters)

Our goals for this workshop are to:

  1. Share what we have learned regarding GBV against 2SLGBTQ+ youth in Canada
  2. Allow workshop participants to share their experiences regarding GBV including street harassment
  3. Expand our understanding of what has or has not worked in preventing and addressing GBV against 2SLGBTQ+ youth from their perspectives

We would consider this workshop a success if

  1. Multiple participants actively engaged in the workshop
  2. And if they are able to take what they learned about ways to address GBV against 2SLGBTQ+ youth, and apply it to their own contexts

Key Themes

  1. Access to programs and resources

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