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"Solitude and personal reflection are really important for me to figure out what's going wrong and what I can do to better myself to put my own happiness first.”
"Solitude and personal reflection are really important for me to figure out what's going wrong and what I can do to better myself to put my own happiness first.”

"Solitude and personal reflection are really important for me to figure out what's going wrong and what I can do to better myself to put my own happiness first.”

This Pride Month, we asked the LGBTQ2S+ community within our network to share their experiences as part of both the queer and mental health landscapes. We also sent out disposable cameras and invited our participants to give us a candid glimpse into their day to day lives. You can find Abbey’s photos over on our Instagram! Happy Pride!

"Solitude and personal reflection are really important for me to figure out what's going wrong and what I can do to better myself to put my own happiness first.”

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Pride 2019: Abbey Gartner is a young leader in Whitehorse, Yukon.

Is there a specific resource or platform that has helped you that you want to shine a light on?

A really great organization that I've followed for years is Egale Canada. In 2015, I attended the Egale OUTShine GSA Summit in Winnipeg and had the chance to spend a few days surrounded by other bright LGBTQ2S+ youth and allies from different GSA groups from across Canada. From their website: "Egale works to improve the lives of LGBTQI2S people in Canada and to enhance the global response to LGBTQI2S issues." They do this through informing public policy, inspiring cultural change, and promoting human rights and inclusion.

What’s something about you that you wish more people knew or paid more attention to?

I wish more people could understand that bisexuality doesn't just mean 50/50 interest in women or men. An individual can be primarily attracted to women but can still be attracted to men. Bisexuality doesn't have to be binary either - it can be attraction to any gender and your own.

What lifts you up when you are feeling down? 

Putting on some bops and having a mini dance party with my mom and my dog. Music is healing. Going outside and being alone with myself in nature. Solitude and personal reflection are really important things for me to do, to figure out what's going wrong and what I can do to better myself to put my own happiness first. I'm fortunate enough to be able to walk five minutes from my backyard and be in the Middle of Nowhere, Yukon. 

Who has had the most impact on your experience in the community? 

I would say my friends and leaders in my high school GSA club. I grew up in a small town and was raised in a religious household. So when I started getting older and began questioning my sexuality, it was really difficult. I felt alone and scared to tell anyone for most of grades 7-10. When I was in grade 11, I joined my high school's GSA and made some really great friends with my peers and the staff who participated. It was a safe space that allowed me to define who I am and learn so much about queer culture and history.

Who is your Queero?

Ezra Miller... or Janelle Monae... or Jonathan Van Ness... or Sailor Moon... Y'all don't make me choose.