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Egale Canada Campaign Reveals Dementia Injustices Faced by 2SLGBTQI People

25/01/2024
Advertising Agency
Toronto, Canada
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Cossette and organisation for 2SLGBTQI people and issues launches campaign highlighting the need for identity-centric dementia care

Aging poses a universal challenge, and for 2SLGBTQI people, it comes with an increased risk of cognitive decline. In light of Alzheimer's Awareness Month this January, Egale Canada, Canada's leading organisation for 2SLGBTQI people and issues, along with partners at Fondation Émergence and the National Institute on Ageing, has launched the Help Us Remain Campaign to urge Canadians to take a closer look at a community facing a hidden battle. Through an extensive research report, short film and immersive audio gallery, the campaign raises awareness of the need for tailored, inclusive healthcare support to preserve the identities and dignity of 2SLGBTQI people living with dementia. 

“2SLGBTQI people living with dementia confront not only the challenges of losing their identity and vital memories but often face stereotypes and assumptions within a cis-hetero healthcare system that can amplify their displacement and suffering,” said Helen Kennedy, executive director at Egale Canada. “This double injustice puts at stake the hard-won rights our communities fought for, the identities we have claimed and the defining memories of a generation.” 

More than seven percent of 2SLGBTQI people in Canada are over 65 [1] and are part of a generation that experienced both historical discrimination and transformative victories for their rights in Canada. The resulting cultural trauma of a life impacted by stigma and violence makes this community susceptible to chronic minority stress which can result in a higher risk of premature cognitive decline, including dementia [2]. 

Research by Egale Canada reveals that 2SLGBTQI people living with dementia often experience heightened displacement and suffering within the healthcare system, which underscores the necessity for increased support. Critical findings focus on the support needed to navigate change in caring relationships, acknowledge the diversity and fluidity of identities, and deliver a comprehensive range of services for both 2SLGBTQI people living with dementia and their caregivers. 

Egale Canada's Help Us Remain Campaign brings this community issue to the forefront by revealing the untold stories of 2SLGBTQI people across Canada who are living with or have a connection to dementia. 

Research Report 

Egale Canada provides a variety of educational resources to help support these communities, including 2SLGBTQI Identity and Dementia e-modules, resources for unpaid carers and the 

research report titled Enhancing Support for 2SLGBTQI People Living with Dementia and Their Primary Unpaid. This report provides insight into the increased risks of cognitive decline and an honest examination of the challenges and necessary improvements for 2SLGBTQI people living with dementia. 

Egale Canada’s short film Help Us Remain is a cinematic exploration of Ann, a trans woman who is battling early-onset dementia while trying to hold onto the identity she fought for. As she reflects on her life's journey, her partner must advocate for the gender-affirming care she can no longer advocate for on her own. 

The immersive audio gallery will be open to the public from January 26 - 27th, 2024 at The 519, a registered charity, City of Toronto agency, and Canada’s largest 2SLGBTQI community centre. The gallery explores personal images paired with evocative memories from 2SLGBTQI communities that demonstrate the importance of queer memories and illuminate the concerns around cognitive decline and dementia. Visitors can also watch the campaign’s short film that will be played throughout the gallery’s opening to the public. 

“We need people to help us advocate for safe spaces. So we can age without fear - we shouldn't have to go back into the closet, we shouldn't have to hide,” said Sharon, a 2SLGBTQI community member featured in the campaign, whose partner has dementia. “Having other people speak up for us is one amazing way that you can honour us and another way is to connect with us - hear what we need and our stories, which is what this project is about. I need you to remember the passion that we had for justice and the energy we spent on trying to make the world a better, kinder place - the risks we took every day to keep fighting in hopes of making the world safer for you. Now we need you to take care of us, to speak up for us and fight for us.” 

To listen to the audio stories, watch the short film and access educational resources, visit here or follow along on social media to learn more @EgaleCanada | @EgaleCanada. 

This project was made possible with support from The Public Health Agency of Canada. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of the Public Health Agency of Canada. 

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