At the beginning of March, an organisation called GRIS Montréal visited the adolescents at the Portage centre in Prévost, near lac Écho, to create more awareness about the challenges faced by homosexual people.
A few weeks before their visit, the adolescent program welcomed a new resident who is openly homosexual. The staff members worked with the community to make sure that there would not be any discrimination against him. They learned that the youth at the centre are very open to homosexuality and that many of them have friends who are either gay or bisexual.
GRIS Montréal helped reinforce this attitude. The representatives led a discussion about homosexuality and told the residents about their personal experiences and what it is like to be homosexual. The residents really appreciated the discussion and asked the visitors a lot of questions.
In February, the adolescent community also received a visit from SIDA amitié, a Saint-Jérôme community organisation that supports people who are HIV positive, as well as homeless people and drug addicts. They do many prevention presentations at schools and at organisations like Portage.
Some of the staff members at Portage, concerned that residents did not seem to take safe sex seriously enough, asked the organisation to lead a discussion with the youth. One of the presenters was himself HIV positive, and explained some of the consequences of unprotected sex, including the difficulties that he faces with HIV. The residents were very moved by his testimonial.
The adolescent community really appreciates these informational discussions and workshops that help them learn and open their eyes to things that they were not previously aware of.