The New Horizons for 2S-LGBTQ+ Older Adults program is Central and Northern Ontario specific, servicing the Simcoe/Muskoka, North Bay, and Sudbury areas. Coming together as a larger team allows for community building across regions, and a larger network of support for the vast geographical area that we serve.
New Horizons for 2S-LGBTQ+ Older Adults is committed to reducing the social isolation experienced by this population through the creation of online and in-person social and support opportunities, educational workshops and culturally relevant programming. Our team is committed to community building, inclusion across identities, and the creation of spaces where all people on the 2S-LGBTQ+ spectrum feel welcome, heard, and honoured. The 2S-LGBTQ+ Older Adults program aims to support and empower those who identify as older adults (55+) within the 2S-LGBTQ+ community, to promote healthy relationships, and to increase access to health and social services.
Participating agencies in the New Horizons for 2S-LGBTQ+ Older Adults project include Gilbert Centre and Mamaway Wiikdokdaadwin, AIDS Committee of North Bay and Area and the North Bay Indigenous Hub, and Réseau Access Network and Ontario Aboriginal HIV/AIDS Strategy.
Our Older Adults programming is currently held both online and in person. We offer weekly virtual social and support meetings, walking groups, webinars, one-on-one check-ins, assistance in connecting you to outside resources, and more! Our Older Adults programming is open to all who fit the program criteria and wish to connect. Please visit our Facebook page to stay up-to-date on all of our events.
While everyone is welcome, there will occasionally be programming specifically for those who identify as Two-Spirit or Indigenous LGBTQ+.
Older & Bolder
Older & Bolder North is a social and support group for 2S-LGBTQ+ adults who are 55 and older. The need to connect is greater than ever before with COVID-19 trying its best to keep us isolated, and we are happy to provide a safe, judgement-free space to be out, proud, and social!
Coffee & Chats
Coffee and Chats is an informal virtual drop-in social group for those who identify as older adults (55+) within the 2S-LGBTQ+ community and their Allies. Meetings will be held virtually through Zoom (phone, tablet, computer with microphone and/or camera needed). A link for the group will be provided upon registry.
Ashley is the North Bay older adults worker, offering the New Horizons for 2S-LGBTQ+ Older Adults Program in North Bay and is focusing full-time on supporting the trailblazers in our 2S-LGBTQ+ community. She is proud to be hosted out of the AIDS Committee of North Bay & Area as they have a long-standing history of supporting marginalized populations and meeting people where they are at.
As a resident of North Bay, Ashley is a pansexual cis-gender woman with a passion to advocate for clients’ rights, delivering programming that is accessible, and creating a safe space for all people within the 2S-LGBTQ+ community to be their true self. Ashley dedicates her work to being a strong advocate and hopes to positively impact the lives and well-being of 2S-LGBTQ+ folx in our communities across Ontario.
Brandon comes from Rockland, Ontario, a small rural town in the Ottawa Valley but has lived in Northern Ontario since 2017. He has a keen interest in working with marginalized rural populations; more specifically, Brandon is interested in the social determinants of health as they relate to older adults living in rural environments. Brandon has an academic background in both the behavioural and nursing sciences. As such, he prefers a multidisciplinary and collaborative approach to his professional and academic work. Brandon’s research interests include the health and well-being of older adults, focusing on cultural and socio-environmental factors that may influence health outcomes and quality of life. In his spare time, Brandon enjoys camping and being outdoors; his favourite trail in Northern Ontario is “The Crack” in Killarney!
Chelyne is the 2S-LGBTQ+ Older Adults Program Coordinator hosted out of the AIDS Committee of North Bay & Area. She will be with us for the remainder of Ashley’s parental leave.
Chelyne lived in Winnipeg for several years before moving to North Bay in September 2020. She is a bisexual cis-gender woman whose passions lie in advocating for clients. She recognizes the complexity of interactions between clients and their environment and aims to meet clients where they are at, listen to their lived experience, and offer support in navigating the systems they face.
In her personal life, she loves reading and exploring all of the beautiful nature Northern Ontario has to offer.
Evan is the Seniors Program Coordinator at Gilbert Centre in Barrie, ON. As a queer trans man he has lived with many different identities at different times, and held space in multiple, diverse queer communities. His passions lie in Trans activism, 2S-LGBTQ+ history, and harm reduction. 2S-LGBTQ+ seniors are a part of his family, both blood and chosen, and he is fiercely passionate about making sure that they are seen, heard, respected and loved. Community building is the cornerstone of his efforts in this role – He believes that stronger communities create strong and resilient individuals.
Leisha is the Two-Spirit Outreach Worker at Ontario Aboriginal HIV/AIDS (Oahas), servicing the Greater Sudbury Area. They are a panromantic, Two-Spirit person, with mixed European and Algonquin ancestry. As a disabled Two-Spirit person, they are a strong advocate for accessibility awareness and the intersectionalities that come with being Indigenous, 2S-LGBTQ+, and having an invisible illness.
Phoenix is a 2-Spirit person from the Bear Clan from Eagle Village First Nation; living in North Bay, Ontario. They work as the Two-Spirit Outreach worker at the North Bay Indigenous Hub. They are very passionate about Indigenous issues such as the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Children, and 2S-LGBTQIA+ movement. They are taking an active role in learning their culture, speaking their language, and raising awareness on Indigenous issues in honour of their Grandmother Violet; a Residential School Survivor.
In good times and in difficult times we all need someone to connect to. The 2S-LGBTQ+ Seniors Program is aiming to reduce isolation and create safe, inclusive, and accessible supports for all older adults.
Reach out to us. We are here for you!
Ashley Di Benedetto (She/Her) – New Horizons 2S-LGBTQ+ Seniors Program Coordinator