A local drag queen superstar is partnering with Canada's first LGBTQ2SAI+ drug and addiction treatment centre.
Vancouver-based performer Kendall Gender, who is best known for being one of the three finalists on the second season of Canada's Drag Race, recently shared that she has signed on to be on the board of directors of Stonewall Recovery Centre.
"As someone who was seven years sober myself, when I was first looking into getting sober I really struggled to find a place that I understood my gender identity, my sexuality and all of this kind of stuff," shares Gender in a video on Instagram. "As queer people we are faced with a different set of problems sometimes and when that interrelates with drug and addiction it can be a very difficult place to be."
Stonewall Recovery Centre will be set up in partnership with Simon House Recovery Centre in Alberta, which provides addiction treatment for men. It will be the country's first residential treatment centre for youth and young adults across Canada aged 18-24 years old that identify as LGBTQ2SA1+.
According to Statistics Canada, 4 per cent of Canada's population identifies as LGBTQ2SA1+ yet 40 per cent of kids living on the street are part of the LGBTQ2SA1+ community.
"As queer people we are statistically more inclined to develop drug addiction problems. So to have a safe space that is so targeted and so safe in this sort of specific world is so so, so valuable," says Gender.
Two major hurdles
A fundraiser has been set up with a goal of $500,000 to help the program surpass two major hurdles: property and operational costs.
"First, we have lost two residences that could have been set-up as residential. However, we found an opportunity to have 50 beds, and we could be ready to go by early spring, but the value of the property is 3.8 million dollars. A second property is just below 1 million; it requires lots of work to get ready and will not provide the same opportunity for numbers.
"The second hurdle is operational costs, where we have secured just over 200,000.00 toward the annual budget. We are on our way, but we need YOU. If every person who loves someone in the 2SLGBTQ+ community donated 10.00, we could purchase the property and operate it for at least five years. Saving hundreds, if not thousands of lives," explains the fundraiser page.
Stonewall Recovery Centre aims to create a safe place for members of the LGBTQ2SA1+ to recover from addiction, and has teamed up with other charitable groups and support services for when program is up and running.
"That safe place is even more critical when you have been misunderstood, abused, thrown away and victimized," writes the fundraiser.