Open Closet (OC)
Open Closet is a social support group for youth between 14 and 18 years of age who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, two-spirited, queer and questioning their sexual orientation (LGBT2Q). The group started in early 2002 and has served approximately 1,100 youth. OC is open to youth from Perth, Huron, Lambton, Elgin, Middlesex and Oxford.
The group learns and has discussions about issues such as coming out to parents and friends, queer identities, LGBT2Q history, survival strategies, accessing community, safer sex and healthy and unhealthy relationships.
Open Closet also provides access to information about HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and provide referrals to community services and resources according to individual needs.
- Create a safe space for youth to participate in discussions and receive support while dealing with matters related to sexual orientation/identity.
- Offer an opportunity for youth to connect with one another as a community.
- Engage in semi-structured activities that promote self-awareness, respect, self-esteem and self-confidence.
- Educate youth about the impact of internalized homophobia, hate of self and others.
- Recognize the need for connection, alliances and pride for a healthy self-concept.
- Identify facets that comprise healthy LGBT2Q relationships within the context of an oppressive social environment.
- Support, share, learn and listen to other “coming out” stories”.
- Practice communication skills - how to share thoughts and feelings in ways that promote connections.
- Dialogue about relevant socials issues that pertain to and define the greater LGBT2Q community.
Local referrals accepted from friends, family or schools.
Open Closet usually runs every Friday night from 7-9 p.m.
Call or e-mail Meredith between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday-Friday to make an inquiry.