We spoke with a number of 2SLGBTQQIA+ people about the ways that they and their communities have been personally impacted by COVID-19 to kick off The Canada-wide 2SLGBTQQIA+ COVID-19 Survey. Read Luc Esteban Gosselin’s story!
Luc Esteban Gosselin on the peculiarities of transitioning during a pandemic
Although Luc Esteban Gosselin has mostly been coping well with the pandemic, it’s interrupted some of the steps he was taking towards affirming his non-binary transmasculine identity. With government offices closing for lockdowns, the process of legally changing his name has proved more complicated. This has caused him anxiety because he sometimes has to drive during Quebec’s curfew hours for nightshifts at work. “If I’m on the road and a police officer stops me, it’s going to be a bit awkward,” he says, uncertain of how they might respond to his ID, which still has his old name and states his gender as female. Luc is also scheduled for top surgery for the end of spring but since everything is moving slower there’s a lot of uncertainty, which causes him frustration. On the other hand, the lockdowns and curfews have provided more time at home with his husband and a break from their otherwise busy schedules. They’ve been together for 13 years and the downtime has allowed them to work through Luc’s transition as a family with their five-year-old child.
Luc is on the board of an organization that supports queer youth and has observed an increase in anxiety among younger people who don’t have access to the same community of friends and peers with shared experiences. Young queer people that haven’t come out to their families are under particular pressure because they don’t know if it’s a safe time to take that step. If their family were to have a negative reaction, it could aggravate their home life, from which they currently have little respite. Normally they could access events and discussion groups, but now there are only virtual meetings, which Luc says, “don’t have the same emotional impact as talking together in person.” Nevertheless, Luc and his colleagues are doing their best to try and maintain a feeling of belonging, and virtual meetings have at least meant it’s been easier for rural youth to participate.
On May 17, the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, a few local non-profits in the Quebec City region came together and hosted a virtual drag show to help alleviate isolation. “It felt good to see that,” Luc says. “We try to be there for each other and remind young people that this is temporary. We’re going to get through it and they’re going to be able to be themselves and express themselves again.”
How have you experienced the pandemic as a member of the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community? Take our survey and share your thoughts with us.