New blood donation rules for gay and bi men in the UK has not changed rates of infected blood

New blood donation rules for gay and bi men in the UK has not changed rates of infected blood

Pexels New blood donation rules that allow gay and bisexual men to give blood if they have abstained from sex for three months have not changed rates of infected blood.

Just seven out of 2 million blood donations made in England, Scotland and Wales in 2018 were infected with HIV, Katy Davison of Public Health England revealed in a presentation in San Antonio, Texas, New Scientist reports.

The number was up from the year before – by just one. Six donations were infected with HIV in 2017, during which time gay and bisexual men were only allowed to give blood after abstaining from sex for 12 months.

Davison revealed the stats at a meeting of the AABB international blood bank association recently and said that the infected donations were discarded so nobody received HIV-infected blood. LGBT+ activists want to see the three month abstinence policy scrapped in blood donation policy.

The relaxing of blood donation restrictions has been widely welcomed by LGBT+ activists – however many have warned that a three month abstinence requirement is still too long. Furthermore, gay and bisexual men in Northern Ireland must still abstain from sex for 12 months in order to give blood.

Josh Bradlow, head of policy at Stonewall, told PinkNews that the UK needs to adopt a blood donation policy that would allow “the most possible people to donate safely.”

“The current three month deferral period means most gay and bi men will still be excluded from donating blood,” Bradlow said.

“It’s simply untrue that every gay and bi man is a high-risk donor.

“At a time when the number of people donating blood is in decline, we’re calling for a system based on individualised risk assessment of blood donors, rather than the exclusion of an entire group.

“Stonewall will continue to work with the Government, NHS Blood and Transplant Service and other charities to create a fair and safe system.” An ‘illegal blood bank’ was recently set up to protest against the exclusion of queer men.

The news comes just weeks after LadBible’s UNILAD in partnership with ELVIS and pressure group FreedomToDonate set up an “illegal blood bank” specifically for queer men.

The “illegal blood bank” was set up to protest against discriminatory blood donation policies that insist gay and bisexual men abstain from sex in order to be eligible blood donors.

Among those who donated at the illegal blood bank was gay rugby player Keegan Hirst. Organisers said that the blood bank was at capacity and 26 pints of blood were taken in one day.

Furthermore, 2,300 men who have sex with men pledged “digital” pints of blood to show that they would donate if they were eligible – and to highlight the amount of blood donations that are lost due to the policy.

The National Health Service has seen a 25 percent drop in men donating blood since 2014 and requires 135,000 new donors each year to maintain blood levels.

Blood stocks also tend to fall between December and January according to statistics.

TCS first Tata co to include LGBT staff for health cover

TCS first Tata co to include LGBT staff for health cover

Udit Prasanna Mukherji & Namrata Singh | TNN
Kolkata/Mumbai: IT giant Tata Consultancy Services ( TCS ), the country’s largest private sector employer with over 4 lakh people on its payroll, has tweaked its health insurance policy to cover staffers involved in a same-sex relationship. It would perhaps be the first Tata Group company to do so.

In an email update to its employees, TCS announced the new changes which will benefit LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) employees. The new policy redefines ‘spouse’ as ‘partner’, thus broadening the scope to cover same-sex partners.

Some progressive companies have already extended medical cover/family health insurance cover to same sex partners and these include RBS India , Citibank , Capgemini India . Some of these policies have been extended to live-in partners as well.

TCS global diversity head Preeti D’mello told TOI the new policy was formalised last week. The definition of spouse will now include same-sex partners irrespective of their marital status.

Under the new policy, up to 50% of the cost of sex/gender reassignment surgery (up to a maximum of Rs 2 lakh) will be covered by insurance.

“Respect for the individual is one of our core TCS values, and built on this value, we continue our journey towards LGBTQ+ inclusion. We believe in building an organisation where everyone feels included, involved and respected. We want to make the ecosystem fare and conducive for all,” said D’mello, adding that the firm has already received one application for gender reassignment surgery.

KPMG India director and leader for inclusion and diversity Zainab Patel said: “When it comes to promoting LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer/questioning, asexual and many other terms) inclusion in the workplace, one of the issues that often provokes the most debate is the subject of employee benefits. To this effect, KPMG in India, has made fair amount of adjustments in the insurance cover and has extended references to ‘spouse’ to include ‘partner’ and clearly states that this may include partners of the same or opposite sex or live in partner.”

Patel said this has ensured that LGBTQIA+ employees’ partners are treated equally as family members and beneficiaries in medical, insurance, relocation and relevant leave policies (e.g. parental, primary caregiver or compassionate leave).

On the recent move by the government to pass the transgender person protection bill, Patel said it would be exemplary for India Inc to engage with medical insurance providers so as to make India medical insurance gender inclusive under which gender reassignment surgery, hormone therapy, etc. for transitioning transgender persons at the workplace is also covered within its ambit and also put in an effective complaints redressal mechanism in place.

Hiring LGBT, disabled and indigenous astronomers will lead to more significant discoveries, report says

Hiring LGBT, disabled and indigenous astronomers will lead to more significant discoveries, report says

Hiring more LGBT+ astronomers could result "in major discoveries and advances". (Envato) A paper published in an Australian science journal has said that hiring diverse astronomers, especially those from the LGBT+, disabled and indigenous communities, is essential for the country’s success in the field.

The report, published in the journal Nature Astronomy , said that astronomers from marginalised groups are likely to have fresh perspectives that could help Australia advance in the era of “mega-telescopes”.

Professor Lisa Kewley , director of the ARC Centre of Excellence in All Sky Astrophysics (ASTRO 3D), said: “Studies show that increased diversity up to the highest levels of organisations, and effective diversity management, leads to organisations outperforming their competition in innovation, productivity and profit because more ideas are produced.

“These might be ideas for new experiments, products, or new ways to become more efficient or profitable.”

Kewley said that Australia has already shown a “striking” improvement in the number of women working in the industry. Of the 500 astronomers working in Australia, 27 percent are women with PhDs and 37 percent are women studying for a PhD or lesser degree.

The Australian Academy of Science recommended that women should fill at least a third of positions at all levels by 2025.

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She added that many institutions have taken up an initiative called the Pleiades Awards, run by the Astronomical Society of Australia, which rates organisations based on the level of participation by women at all levels.

“The broad uptake of Pleiades Awards is remarkable,” she said. “Institutions are not required to do so, and there is no financial incentive for receiving one.”

Now, Kewley, is the time organisations to move beyond encouraging the participation of women to also actively recruit LGBT+, indigenous, disabled, and chronically ill astronomers.

She added: “It is reasonable to infer that greater levels of diversity in astronomy organisations will also produce a greater likelihood of outperforming competition in astronomy key performance measures in major discoveries and advances.” Jupiter says trans rights. https://t.co/TikKjuim0L

— ‍⚧️ Stella, the Final(s) Girl ‍⚧️ (@stellas2ndact) November 18, 2019 As astronomers move towards greater inclusion of LGBT+ people, so do the subjects of their research.

Jupiter was photographed in UV light by the Hubble Telescope late last year, but a tweet from a trans activist went viral in October when they captioned a photo of the planet with: “Jupiter says trans rights.”

‘Viral’ Catholic petition against a gay Hallmark Christmas movie turns out to be fake

‘Viral’ Catholic petition against a gay Hallmark Christmas movie turns out to be fake

One of this year’s Hallmark Christmas movie offerings – ‘Holiday Date’. (Hallmark) A Catholic news site launched a petition against a hypothetical Hallmark Christmas movie featuring a same-sex couple and claimed it had gone “viral” with 25,000 signatures. This turned out to not be the case.

Last month, Hallmark was widely criticised for not featuring a single LGBT+ character in a leading role in any of the 40 Christmas movies it was releasing for this year’s holiday season.

However, executives at Hallmark’s parent company Crown Media told The Wrap that they were “looking at pitches for LGBTQ movies” , and in an interview last week the CEO of Hallmark said the company is “open” to LGBT+ representation.

In response, the Catholic anti-abortion news outlet LifeSiteNews started a petition against the hypothetical future film, to “keep sex and sexual practices – including the promotion of homosexuality, transgenderism, etc. – out of their movies”.

The petition continued: “Hallmark would be offending Christian viewers and Christian parents BIG TIME, by experimenting with homosexual themes, and, or cooperating with the LGBT indoctrination agenda, at all… Hallmark should also know that if they give-in to the LGBT agenda, the LGBT activists will never be satisfied.

“They will always want Hallmark to be pushing more and more aberrant views and characters. That doesn’t sound like a very fun Christmas movie at all!”

LifeSiteNews claimed that the anti-LGBT+ petition “gained more than 25,000 signatures in less than one day”.

It added: “As this viral petition demonstrates, there is very little demand for Christmas movies with an LGBT theme. Quite to the contrary, there is significant opposition to the idea.”

But the petition might not be so “viral” after all.

According to Out , people (or bots) are able to sign the petition as many times as they want, as long as they use a different name and email address, meaning that the numbers are likely to have been “grossly inflated”.

At the time of writing, the petition has allegedly been signed by 33,327 people.

Jo Swinson hits back at radio caller criticising ‘boys wearing skirts’ to school

Jo Swinson hits back at radio caller criticising ‘boys wearing skirts’ to school

Jo Swinson defended inclusive school uniforms. (LBC) Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson hit back at a radio caller who attacked the party’s proposed inclusive school uniform policies.

Swinson took calls from listeners during a phone-in on LBC hosted by Nick Ferrari , who earlier this year said live on air that being gay was a “lifestyle choice”.

The angry caller, named Karen, said: “What is it with you and your party putting forward this gender-neutral, boys can go to schools wearing skirts? Why do you think that’s acceptable?

“I mean, we live in a free society right now. But what is going on with it? Do you think it’s right you’re allowing this to go through?”

In the Liberal Democrat manifesto , the party promised to require schools to introduce gender-neutral uniform policies.

Swinson responded: “It’s really about giving kids choice. What it came out of was we had a young member of the Lib Dems who came along to our conference – she was 14 at the time.

“She made the very good point that she was frustrated that she had to wear a skirt when she wanted to run around and play football and do handstands and all of those things that we’d all want our kids to have the freedom to do.

“Why should we be saying to girls or boys at school they have to wear this particular outfit?”

Asked by Ferrari whether she would allow her son to wear a dress to school, the Lib Dem leader added: “If they wanted to, then yes. My five-year-old has silver sparkly shoes.

“I might have technically bought them in the ‘girls’ section, but he really wanted the silver sparkly shoes, so he’s got silver trainers. The sky is still there.”

Jo Swinson: Gender X passports won’t be “stopping anyone else getting on with their lives”

Karen was not satisfied with Swinson’s response, and began on a rant about how giving children uniform choices would increase bullying in schools and that “gender-neutral” passports would allow people to identify as “an alien”.

Ferrari fuelled the fire, asking Swinson: “Do you not see the issue of national security if we don’t have someone’s gender on a passport?”

She replied: “I’m afraid I genuinely don’t.”

Swinson continued: “There’s a hang-up that people have about this. Some people don’t identify as male or female. It’s not a massive deal, get over it. It’s not stopping anyone else getting on with their lives.

“Can we just be respectful to one another and treat people as the individuals that they are, recognising that this group of people in our society already feels vulnerable and marginalised, already feels discriminated against and feels bullied and can be victims of violence.

“Let’s do these small things that show we are taking people seriously as the individuals that they are.”

LGBT activists in China seek to change marriage civil code

LGBT activists in China seek to change marriage civil code

By YANAN WANG
Associated Press BEIJING (AP) — It was only after her partner’s death that He Meili realized the full meaning of marriage. As a lesbian couple in China, He and Li Qin kept their ties largely unspoken, sometimes introducing themselves as cousins. This rarely bothered He until Li succumbed to complications from lupus in 2016, and Li’s parents demanded that He hand over the deed for their apartment and other property documents under Li’s name.

He, a 51-year-old nonprofit worker in southern China’s Guangzhou city, has joined LGBT activists and supporters in an appeal to lawmakers to allow same-sex marriage, using a state-sanctioned channel to skirt recent government moves to suppress collective action.

“I realized if LGBT people don’t have the right to marry, we have no legal protections,’’ she said. “Others will also experience what I did—and be left with nothing.’’

Under Chinese President Xi Jinping, space for civil society and advocacy has shrunk. Human rights activists and their lawyers have been detained, while internet censorship has increased.

LGBT activists have turned to a novel tactic: submitting statements to the National People’s Congress, China’s legislature, which is soliciting opinions from the public on a draft of the “Marriage and Family’’ portion of the Civil Code.

The Marriage and Family section is among six draft regulations for which the legislature began seeking comments at the end of October. As of Nov. 28, the website showed that more than 200,000 suggestions had been submitted either online or by mail, the greatest number of any of the outstanding drafts.

A teacher wrote about experiencing discrimination at his workplace; others wrote about not being allowed to make medical decisions for their ailing partners.

“This is not just a symbolic gesture,’’ said Peng Yanzi, director of LGBT Rights Advocacy China, one of several groups running the campaign. “It really has an impact on our everyday lives.’’

Peng’s organization has outlined a desired revision to the language in the Civil Code, changing the terms throughout from “husband and wife’’ to “spouses’’ and from “men and women’’ to “the two parties.’’

Rather than adding specific language about same-sex marriage, the revisions seek to eliminate gendered terms from the legislation.

While activists and experts acknowledge that legalizing same-sex marriage is still a far-off reality in China, they said appeals through the official channel will push the government to take the demand more seriously.

“There’s a near-zero chance the suggested changes will be accepted and implemented, but this campaign makes China’s LGBT community’s demands for equality harder to ignore,’’ said Darius Longarino, a senior fellow at Yale Law School’s Paul Tsai China Center who has worked on legal reform programs promoting LGBT rights in China.

Few legal protections are available for same-sex couples in China. One party can apply to be the other’s legal guardian, but those accompanying rights are just a fraction of those enjoyed by married couples, Longarino said.

LGBT advocates have garnered growing support from the Chinese public, using social media to raise awareness. They won a victory over the censors in April 2018, when one of the country’s top social networking sites backtracked on a plan to restrict content related to LGBT issues. Users flooded Weibo with hashtags such as “(hash)I’mGayNotaPervert’’ after the Twitter-like platform said “pornographic, violent or gay’’ subject matter would be reviewed.

But misconceptions and discrimination persist. A 2015 survey by the Beijing LGBT Center found that 35 percent of mental health professionals in a sample group of nearly 1,000 believed that being gay is a mental illness. Around the same percentage supported the use of conversion therapy.

Friends told He that she could file a lawsuit to recover some of her and Li’s shared property. She hired a lawyer to start the process, which required painstaking documentation of their relationship and signed statements from their neighbors and friends attesting to their long-term bond. In the end, He gave up on the lawsuit. It was too exhausting, she said, to have to prove their love to everyone. Related

TCS first Tata co to include LGBT staff for health cover

TCS first Tata co to include LGBT staff for health cover

KOLKATA/ MUMBAI: IT giant Tata Consultancy Services ( TCS ), the largest private sector employer with a strength of over 4 lakh people on its payroll, has tweaked its health insurance policy to cover employees involved in a same-sex relationship. It would perhaps be the first Tata Group company to do so.
In an email update to its employees, TCS announced the new changes which will benefit LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) employees. The new policy redefines ‘spouse’ as ‘partner’, thus broadening the scope to cover same-sex partners.

Some progressive companies have already extended medical cover/family health insurance cover to same sex partners and these include RBS India, Citibank , Capgemini India, among others. Some of these policies are extended to live-in partners as well. TCS global diversity head Preeti D’mello told TOI the new policy was formalized last week. The definition of spouse will now include same-sex partners irrespective of their marital status.

Under the new policy, up to 50% of the cost of sex/gender reassignment surgery (up to a maximum of Rs 2 lakh) will be covered by insurance.

“Respect for the individual is one of our core TCS values, and built on this value, we continue our journey towards LGBTQ+ inclusion. We believe in building an organization where everyone feels included, involved and respected. We want to make the ecosystem fare and conducive for all,” said D’mello, while adding that the firm has already received one application for gender reassignment surgery,” D’mello said.

KPMG India director and leader for inclusion and diversity Zainab Patel said: “When it comes to promoting LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex , queer/questioning, asexual and many other terms) inclusion in the workplace, one of the issues that often provokes the most debate is the subject of employee benefits.

To this effect, KPMG in India, has made fair amount of adjustments in the insurance cover and has extended references to ‘spouse’ to include ‘partner’ and clearly states that this may include partners of the same or opposite sex or live in partner.”

Patel said this has ensured that LGBTQIA+ employees’ partners are treated equally as family members and beneficiaries in medical, insurance, relocation and relevant leave policies (e.g. parental, primary caregiver or compassionate leave).

On the recent move by the government to pass the transgender person protection bill, Patel said it would be exemplary for India Inc to engage with medical insurance providers so as to make India medical insurance gender inclusive under which gender reassignment surgery, hormone therapy, etc. for transitioning transgender persons at the workplace is also covered within its ambit and also put in an effective complaints redressal mechanism in place.

NPA elected caucus declares its unequivocal support for LGBT community and SOGI 123 education program

NPA elected caucus declares its unequivocal support for LGBT community and SOGI 123 education program

There appears to be a significant rift between the NPA’s elected caucus and some board members on the party executive.

The first sign came when Coun. Rebecca Bligh quit the NPA because the party’s newly elected board secretary, Phyllis Tang, and board treasurer, Ray Goldenchild, have ties to social conservatives.

Bligh praised her former caucus colleagues but still walked out of the party because the two executive members were previously endorsed by a group that opposes a LGBT-friendly program in schools called SOGI 123.

Tang was a council candidate for Yes Vancouver in 2018 and Goldenchild ran for park board with Vancouver 1st.

Just over an hour after Bligh issued a statement, the nine remaining NPA caucus members declared their "unequivocal support for Vancouver’s LGBTQ2S+ community and SOGI 123".

“We fully understand and support our colleague Councillor Rebecca Bligh in her decision to sit as an independent Vancouver City Councillor at this time, and we look forward to continuing to work closely together with her to serve all residents of Vancouver," the nine caucus members declared in a written statement.

“LGBTQ2S+ issues are close to the hearts of all our elected NPA Caucus members," they added. "Of particular note: NPA City Councillor Lisa Dominato worked on and championed the introduction of the SOGI 123 in B.C.’s curriculum during her time with the Ministry of Education—a project she approached with true passion and dedication.”

The statement was endorsed by NPA councillors Melissa De Genova, Dominato, Colleen Hardwick, and Sarah Kirby-Yung, as well as NPA park commissioners Tricia Barker and John Coupar, and NPA school trustees Fraser Ballantyne, Carmen Cho, and Oliver Hanson.

In 1986, the first openly gay man to be elected to council, Gordon Price, ran with the NPA and ended up serving six terms. Other LGBT politicians elected on the NPA slate over the years included Alan Herbert, Duncan Wilson, Alan Fetherstonhaugh, and Laura McDiarmid. While serving as an NPA park commissioner, Wilson was beaten by a pipe-wielding assailant while walking with his partner.

The NPA was the first city organization to march in the Pride parade and former NPA councillor Elizabeth Ball was a long-time champion of the LGBT community.

However, when the NPA board did not greenlight trans activist Jamie Lee Hamilton’s application to seek an NPA nomination in 2008, her friends, including Herbert, rallied to her defence at a demonstration behind Little Sister’s Book & Art Emporium.

“Civil rights weren’t built in a day, but one thing is they can be lost in a day,” Herbert said at the time. “That’s something that I’ve always been fearful of.”

The current NPA caucus, however, insisted in its statement that it strives at all times to create a safe and inclusive city. "We will continue to stand for inclusivity and will strongly oppose anything that detracts from that objective," it said. "We believe it is important for our Caucus to speak out with a strong, unequivocal voice and express our unyielding continued support for our LGBTQ2S+ community and SOGI 123."

Star Wars director hints at LGBT ‘representation,’ but not the couple online activists demanded

Star Wars director hints at LGBT ‘representation,’ but not the couple online activists demanded

December 6, 2019 ( LifeSiteNews ) — The long awaited final chapter in the Star Wars saga finally opens in just under two weeks, but whether LGBT “representation” will distract from the space-fantasy action remains an open question.

When Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens opened in 2015, many took notice of the chemistry between actors John Boyega (Finn) and Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron). The film did not present them as anything other than platonic comrades who bonded during war, but a chorus quickly emerged from certain corners of the internet interpreting the pair as a homosexual couple and demanding that a romance be made official in sequels.

The actors expressed openness to the concept, but such a thread was not developed in 2017’s Episode VIII: The Last Jedi , and recent comments from the actors as well as director JJ Abrams indicate it won’t appear in Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker , either.

“They’ve always had a quite loving and open relationship in which it wouldn’t be too weird if it went beyond it” but “are just platonic at the moment,” Boyega said this week, Variety reports . Isaac expressed disappointment that Finn and Poe won’t get romantic, lamenting that “it’s a time when people are too afraid, I think, of…I don’t know what.”

“That relationship to me is a far deeper one than a romantic one,” Abrams said. “It is a deep bond that these two have, not just because of the trial by fire in which they met, but also because of their willingness to be as intimate as they are, as afraid as they, as unsure as they are, and still be bold, and still be daring and brave.”

But Abrams also teased that “in the case of the LGBTQ community, it was important to me that people who go to see this movie feel that they’re being represented in the film.” He wouldn’t give away whether Episode IX will see another character stated to be or depicted as LGBT in some way, but he quipped that “I did just say what I just said.”

The multimedia juggernaut Star Wars franchise, which Disney bought from creator George Lucas in 2012, has previously had a few homosexual characters in books aimed at older audiences, but it turned a corner recently when the producers of the Dixney XD animated series Star Wars Resistance confirmed that a pair of its alien characters are a gay couple (something hinted at in the show itself but not overtly stated).

None of the above is adequate for certain left-wing voices. At the science fiction blog io9 (formerly affiliated with the far-left Gawker media network), James Whitbrook complained that “Star Wars Movies Should Be So Far Beyond Teasing LGBTQ Representation at This Point” and said Abrams was “asking for a level of trust in this specific matter that the Star Wars movie franchise has yet to prove it has earned,” as if LGBT advocates are entitled to see LGBT characters in specific films.

On a related note, returning Star Wars actor Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian) briefly caused a stir when he said in an interview that he sees himself as a “relatively colorful character who doesn’t take himself or herself too seriously” and “as feminine as well as masculine.” Scores of headlines quickly ran with the idea that Williams had come out as “gender fluid,” which the 82-year-old actor quickly shut down.

“Well, first of all, I asked last night. I said, ‘What the hell is gender fluid?’ That’s a whole new term,” Williams responded in another interview . “But what I was talking about was about men getting in touch with their softer side of themselves…I wasn’t talking about sex, I wasn’t talking about being gay or straight. People should read [psychiatrist Carl Jung]. I mean, it would be an interesting education for a lot of people.”

LGBT youth camp in Gros Morne earns human rights award for co-founder

LGBT youth camp in Gros Morne earns human rights award for co-founder

Jessie Lawrence, this year’s winner of the Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Award, says Camp Ohana is open to everyone, not exclusively youth who identify as LGBT. (Camp Ohana/Facebook) A high-school student and advocate for LGBT youth has won the 2019 Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Award.

Jessie Lawrence is the cofounder and director of Camp Ohana, a four-day summer camp with a focus on LGBT youth inclusion and engagement. She helped run the first camp in 2018, and is expecting to lead the third iteration next summer.

"It kind of came out of the blue. The person who nominated me just told me, ‘Hey, check your email,’" she told CBC Radio’s Newfoundland Morning.

"I was over the moon. It was very nice to see." For winning, Lawrence was presented a work by Newfoundland visual artist Toby Rabinowitz. (NLHumanRights/Twitter) The Human Rights Commission of Newfoundland and Labrador called Camp Ohana "innovative." Lawrence says she thought of the idea just before her 15th birthday, wanting to import a concept she saw elsewhere in Canada to her community.

"It was me and a couple of friends, and we wanted to create the resources that we wish we had had when we were coming out," she said.

"At our camp there’s no wait times for mental health professionals, there’s no hatred. It is purely a space of love and positivity, and kindness and education.… I think that’s just a magical experience."

Lawrence says they’ve already seen some of the impact that their camp has had on participants — whether it be campers planning for their return as soon as the 2019 camp was over, or seeing campers thrive after summer’s over.

"We’ve seen it a couple of times where youth who have attended our camp have taken the resources that they’ve gotten from Camp Ohana and brought them back to their schools," Lawrence said.

"[They] either started [gay-straight alliances] or strengthened the GSAs that already existed within their school." Camp Ohana is a four-day summer camp with a focus on LGBT youth engagement. The camp took place at the Killdevil campground in Gros Morne in 2019. (Camp Ohana/Facebook) The Human Rights Commission also said it was recognizing Lawrence’s participation in the francophone community in the province. Lawrence is the vice-president of a youth french group.

Camp Ohana is aimed at youth between 14 and 18 years old. Lawrence, currently in Grade 12, says the team behind the camp is looking at ways to expand.

She said they are examining methods to increase the number of places available for campers.

And while Camp Ohana is focused on LGBT inclusion, everyone can attend.

"We always say if you are a kind human, you are welcome."

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