Gukwa̲s sa Wagalus

Gukwas sa Wagalus – Video Featurette

Bringing our Community Together

Several youths from the 2SLGBTQQIA+ and First Nations communities agreed to be
interviewed in an attempt to learn from their firsthand experiences of homelessness
and how their identities impacted these experiences.

Enclosed are a few excerpts, emblematic of their experience:

Participant 1

“My experiences with homelessness [started with] my own mother. It was
an addiction that drove her into that, I think it was a lot of the same reasons that she
wasn’t her when she was [home], she was trying to morph into their acceptable
daughter rather than who she was and it wasn’t a question of sexuality or gender It
was just her addiction. She couldn’t be that person, she couldn’t be who she was so
she didn’t live [at home] and I did the same for about a year and a half. My
grandmother, I love her so much and she has also passed on, but she, I remember
when I was younger, I mean going into kindergarten and we would start the day off

by the regular grooming ways. I still had long hair at the time, but then after
everything, I’m all dressed and my hair is done, we would stand there and she
would make me recite: “I am a girl, I like boys. I am a girl, these are my bodily parts”

You know it, it’s hard to accept help. It’s incredibly hard to accept help and
in some cases, you know, people could be looking for help when they’re coming out
in that stage. So it could be a lot to reach out for help, look for sources of help but
not fully understand who you are yet. It will be absolutely life changing for every
person that gets a chance to receive the help from Rainbow House. And I think it,
not only will it be life saving, but it will be life changing. It’s going to fully embrace
people for who they are rather than them needing to put on a front to ensure that
they’re going to get the help they need.”

…Nobody will have to change who they are to receive the help, they’ll be

able to show up the exact way that they are. See a human who needs the help and
is courageous enough to ask for it.

Rainbow House will succeed.”


Participant 2

“I lived in a lot of precarious housing situations growing up, just not knowing
if we would be able to afford to stay living there. My mom and I became homeless I
think for the first time when I was about nine, we lived in a car for a while, we stayed
at my grandma’s and we were homeless twice again after that….

…I actually dropped out of high school in grade nine because I was
homeless for the first two months of grade nine and I couldn’t focus on school. It’s
really hard to focus on anything when you don’t know if you’re going to have a place
to live…..

…To be visibly trans in any regard while being unhoused definitely makes
you prone to more housing discrimination…

… It’s incredibly easy to become homeless and incredibly hard to become
un-homeless, but it’s extra hard when you’re holding different identities. When
people who hold non-cis-het identities feel stable and feel seen and feel secure, that
will just have an outward positive ripple effect and promote creativity and art.
There’s so many artists out there that are not doing what they want to do because
they don’t know where they’re gonna be and I feel like housing projects like this
need to exist everywhere, because they would have an amazing effect on the



Participant 3

“Growing up was difficult for a variety of reasons, and quite early
on, I didn’t feel comfortable in my own home and that was something that I
struggled with up until really now. I feel I haven’t felt safe or I’ve struggled to feel
safe and call something My Home for so long. A large part of that was growing up
somewhere, I didn’t feel like I was protected or safe….

…I was hardly home. Home and school were like the two last places I
wanted to be. So my home in a sense became my forest walks or a friend’s place or
a couch where I could just find some peace for the night. That affected me a lot,
especially in my early relationships because I stayed in a lot of abusive situations
just because I needed a place to live. I knew also so many of my friends and people
close to me were in the same spot. Like what can we do about it? You’re just trying
to survive and I still, it still affects me and I think it always will. It’s still, it’s the long
journey of healing and learning and defining what home means for you.

…I know there’s a lot of people who go through the system, and it can be

very traumatizing.”



Participant 4

“The housing crisis has been really close to home for me… … because a
few years ago, I have experienced homelessness and so I’ve kind of been on that
end of what it’s like to kind of have that insecurity…

…Where do these people go? They’re just stuck basically. And so I think
that’s a really good solution is the Rainbow House. Where it’s this sense of
community living, where these people have a place to sleep, a place to cook, use
the bathroom, do literally everything, but also still have that sense of community, so
they’re not alone. It can be really hard to go all through all that by yourself. I couldn’t
imagine being out there for as long as some of those people have, and still not
having that help or that support from the community is honestly ridiculous to me.”


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