Sault LGBTQ community not surprised by new study showing they are more likely to be victims of assault
SAULT STE. MARIE -- The Sault's LGBTQ community says it's disappointed, but not surprised, by a Statistics Canada study showing LGBTQ people are victims of assault more often than heterosexual people.
According to the study, LGBTQ Canadians over the course of one full year, were found to be three times more likely to be victims of assault, both physical and sexual.
"I really don't know why besides that people are filled in their heart with a little bit of hate toward us," said Katrina Francella, owner of The Klub, a safe space for LGBTQ people in the Sault. "It's important to have spaces where these people can go, where they know that threat is not possible."
Francella said The Klub is one of the few spaces in Sault Ste. Marie where people can freely access at any time.
'We need more spaces'
"There's lots of others in the city, like at Sault College and Algoma University, but we need more spaces that are accessible for the whole city, not just select people of society," she said.
For many, the stats show there's an urgent need for more social services in the Sault and across northern Ontario.
That's especially the case for those who don't identify exclusively as male or female.
"If I'm a non-binary person that deals with sexual assault, are you going to give me an agency that deals strictly with women, or are you going to give me an agency strictly for men, or is there something for everyone?" said Cash Giardino, a member of the Sault's LGBTQ community.
Giardino said in some cases, those seeking help need to travel as far as Toronto to receive adequate treatment.
But now, resources are becoming more available, as they head to virtual setting.
"At the same time, it's also difficult when dealing with sexual assault, where you may need medical care," Giardino said. "The medical system, unfortunately, has very poor training in dealing with that."
The Sault Area Hospital declined to comment.