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“It’s a parent’s worst nightmare.” A mother from Gatineau is crying out from the heart so that no child ever again decides to take their own life because they question their sexual orientation or gender identity.
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On March 9, Annick Dinelle’s life changed. Her child, who had asked to be called Alex, rather than Annsofy, committed suicide.
“My mother’s heart is broken with this injury, says the mother of the family. We loved it from the very beginning, we will love it until the end too.
Alex’s questions about his gender identity and sexual orientation had begun in the months leading up to his death, his mother claims.
“She had asked us if we would accept that she was gay, lesbian or trans. She was looking for herself a lot. As parents, he had been told that no matter [comment elle s’identifierait]we were always going to love him.”
The child had expressed her wish to wear a bandage around her chest to hide her curves and even to have her breasts completely removed. For Christmas, he also wanted to receive boxers for boys as a present.
A change in behavior
In the fall, Alex’s parents noticed a change of attitude in their child, who showed more and more aggressive behavior, which was not like him. The mother claims her child was allegedly bullied at school.
To help Alex, his parents made an appointment with a doctor, in addition to consulting social workers. Just before spring break, an intervention plan was put in place to support Alex.
But that was not enough: the Wednesday following the return to class, Alex ended his life.
The school attended by the child and the Sir-Wilfrid-Laurier School Board (CSSWL) did not wish to comment on the file. By email, the CSSWL nevertheless assured “that the school always acts proactively to ensure a positive school climate and a healthy and safe living environment for all students”.
More help needed
As a parent, Annick Dinelle would have liked to be better equipped to support her child.
“We didn’t know what that meant, LGBTQ+. It was AnnSofy who taught us that, confides the mother. We had few resources to know how to manage all that. We welcomed him as we could as parents.
The case of Alex is “very striking”, but, fortunately, not very common, underlines Laurent Brault, director general of the Fondation Émergence. The organization’s mission is to educate, inform and raise public awareness about the realities of people of diverse sexual and gender identities.
“Youth is the society of tomorrow,” he insists. From a young age, it is therefore essential to work to deconstruct prejudices and eliminate discrimination on gender identity and sexual orientation, he continues.
Annick Dinelle, for her part, wishes to send a message to young people who live with the same kind of questions as Alex: “You have the right to be different. Being different doesn’t make you unimportant, don’t keep that inside.”
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Intolerance reduces life expectancy
On the occasion of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDHT), Fondation Émergence launched an awareness campaign to fight against this discrimination which reduces the life expectancy of members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Members of the LGBTQ+ community are more likely than the rest of the population to experience physical, psychological, sexual, economic, institutional and medical violence, recalls Laurent Brault.
For the campaign, a watch whose minutes count only 54 seconds was designed. That’s one second less per minute for each color of the pride flag that symbolizes the diversity of LGBTQ+ communities.
In addition, Fondation Émergence launched a petition () for the United Nations to officially recognize the JIHT and for it to work to abolish discriminatory laws around the world.
IF YOU NEED HELP
Quebec suicide prevention line
- 1 866 CALL (277-3553)
Kids Help Phone
line spacing (for LGBTQ+ issues)