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Program connecting transgender youth with gender affirming items struggles to secure funding


A grassroots organization connecting transgender youth in Saskatchewan with gender affirming items is seeking funding to keep helping those in need.

Felix Crawford officially launched the Gender Affirmation Group of Saskatchewan (GAPS) about one year ago.

“It’s a program designed to get gender affirming gear such as chest binders, gaffs and breast forms out to youth in Saskatchewan who are either financially in need or do not have their family support,” Crawford said.

The idea first came to Crawford after a personal experience when they were in Grade 9.

“I had the idea for it when I bought a poorly made chest binder and ended up cracking my rib on it,” Crawford said.

“I don’t want other youth in Saskatchewan to have to deal with that, so I started the program from the ground up.”

Crawford said the need for the program is evident. Over the past year, GAPS had helped approximately 65 youth across the province.

“There’s a lot of need for this in the prairies because there’s so little opportunity for trans people to get the support they need, especially in Saskatchewan,” Crawford said.

GAPS is an expensive program to operate. Typical orders can range from $60 up to $250.

It runs mainly on donations and grants. Crawford said the program’s primary supporters in term one were Co-op and The Breadbasket Sisters.

Crawford said it is difficult to receive government assistance because funding requirements are extremely specific.

Now heading into the second term, GAPS is in need of financial help in order to keep supplying transgender youth with items that are so important to their identity.

“It’s so, so very common for trans youth to be kicked out of their houses for their gender identity. It’s so common for them to be harassed at school - I know I was,” Crawford said.

“Programs like this allow them to feel more affirmed in their identity and help them feel more themselves.”

Kim Kolody-Watt is a client and volunteer with GAPS, who has seen the impact GAPS has firsthand.

“There are some people hiding because they either haven’t come out yet or they’re just scared to be different,” Kolody-Watt said.

“To be honest, I was kind of scared to be different at first. Once I came into this group, I was more open than before.”

Kolody-Watt said being able to help with this line of work has been eye-opening.

“I mostly see happy faces,” Kolody-Watt said.

“They know they’re in a safe space and they know they can be who they are. And there’s new people coming in because of those people.”

Donations can be made on the UR Pride website’s donation page, with a note indicating it is specifically for GAPS.

“One dollar or 100 dollars,” Crawford said. “Anything helps.” Top Stories

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