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The new Pink Triangle Youth

The new Pink Triangle Youth

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Doors open once again for gay youth
After a three-month hiatus, Pink Triangle Youth (PTY) is back with a new format.

PTY is a discussion group for young queers, which meets weekly at Pink Triangle Services, 177 Nepean Street. The attendees range in age from 14 to 23.

Overwhelmed with the number of attendees, the group was temporarily shut down in Dec, 2002 and the organizers decided to take the opportunity to re-tool before opening its doors again. The youth have been meeting informally in the interim and other resources and options have been provided.

PTY is back on Mar 5 and 19 and a Launch Party is planned for Mar 19. A Value Statement was developed and members will now be asked to sign in.

"The new PTY is now a members-only discussion group," explains co-coordinator Éric-Daniel Sabourin. "This system is in effect to prevent unwanted people from attending the group."

The new format includes three separate themes each Wed night, including discussion groups, guest speakers and workshops. This new vision is being introduced to better serve the large number of attendees.

"With a group that large and an extreme turnover rate, it was hard to create a sense of family," says Jordan Kent, co-coordinator.

Kent estimates that the group sees approximately 150 different faces each month. A New Person's Group will be resurrected and will allow new members to interact and get a feel for PTY.

The group includes two coordinators who are supported by a team of leaders, facilitators and greeters. The Youth Services Bureau provides two counsellors, one female and one male, allowing those youth with specific needs to be properly assisted by a professional.

"The mandate of the group is to offer a safe environment where queer youth can meet, discuss and have access to resources," says Sabourin. "We also allow youth to participate in the decision-making, therefore releasing ownership (of the group) to them."

PTY has been around for years, dating back to the days when ALTGBO was simply GO. In October 1991, Lesbian and Gay Youth of Ottawa-Hull adopted the name of "Pink Triangle Youth" and became a core program of Pink Triangle Services (PTS). The group's size, focus and age limit has changed over time, while thousands have benefited from the services that have paved the way for youth who are coming out younger, more fierce and proud.

"It's all about reaching out to queer youth and making PTY an open and friendly place to socialize and learn," Sabourin says. "I am also hoping to convince youth that they can make a difference and that getting involved is a worthwhile experience."

Kent hopes to have programming for queer youth seven days a week. As the GLBT Community Centre project takes form, the queer youth of Ottawa will have a place for their group to grow and flourish. With an average of 60-80 youth a week, they are off to a good start.

PTY.
Wed, 7 to 9 p.m.
177 Nepean St, 5th Floor.
For information, call PTS at 563-4818 or visit www.pinktriangle.org.
By e-mail: pty@rogers.com.
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