Since the election of Donald Trump to the highest office in the United States, an increasing wave of violence and intolerance has crossed the U.S.

Media watchdog GLAAD funds a yearly poll on how LGBTQ people are perceived and accepted in the U.S. The poll covers multiple areas in which Americans interact, and how comfortable the general population is with the LGBTQ community in roles such as doctors or co-workers. This year’s poll marked the first time tolerance towards LGBTQ people went down since the report’s inception in 2014.

Calgary Journal reporter Rayane Sabbagh sat down with experts and members of Calgary’s LGBTQ community to discuss how this affects Canada.

The Finding True North podcast includes two episodes covering issues within the LGBTQ community in Calgary.

In the first episode, Sabbagh talks to experts Johnathan Kuipers (coordinator of development and programming for Calgary Outlink) and Pam Krause (president and CEO of the Calgary Sexual Health Clinic).

Kuipers says the lesbian and gay community are more accepted, but trans communities are still stigmatized.

Johnathan Kuipers is the Coordinator for Calgary Outlink, a support centre for gender and sexuality diversity. Photo by Curtis Larson.

“We’ve made progress with regards to general social acceptance around LGBT issues,” Kuiper says. “I should actually maybe say L-G-B issues, because with regards to trans-folk, and looking at gender diversity, we’re, you know, decades behind.”

During the second episode of the Finding True North podcast, Sabbagh sits down with members of the LGBTQ community in Calgary gathering personal experiences, stories and opinions since the election of Trump to the Presidency of the United States. Members include Tristian Gelinas, Rocky Aquino and Denise Yang.

The podcast’s aim is to get a sense of where each member is coming from, and how they were affected within their day to day lives whether it be at home, in school, online, extracurriculars or even simply during outings with friends.

Gelinas, Aquino and Yang agree that the proximity and power of the U.S. is one of many reasons for its political and cultural influence on Canada.

“I think if the U.S. was on a different ocean… or a different planet, then it wouldn’t matter, but just because they’re such an international economic power and because they’re so close to us,” says Gelinas.

To read more on the issues and statistics talked about in Finding True North, you can visit the trickle-down effect article published by the Calgary Journal in April 2018.

Editor: Mariam Taiwo | mtaiwo@cjournal.ca