"Human rights, LGBTQ rights, and equal rights are indivisible from one another. iSMSS works hard not only to change perceptions and increase understanding among the upcoming generation, but also to influence policies and government. Their vital work helps ensure that equality and justice are the unshakable foundation of our diverse society."
“For several years, I have been honoured to witness the important work being done by the Institute – initially with the founding of Camp fYrefly in Edmonton and then when my husband and I helped expand Camp fYrefly to Saskatchewan in 2009. In that short period of time, I’ve personally witnessed the astounding power and positive benefits Camp fYrefly has on the lives of at-risk youth. By helping our youth to develop a resilient mindset and leadership skills, we are empowering them to become positive role models in their communities. This is crucial and significant work that is transforming lives.”
“As a teenager, I would have benefitted immensely from having a gay role model. iSMSS helps gender minority youth along the path to self-acceptance and fulfillment, and inspires them to impart the courage they have found to others.“
"I'm proud to be an ally and vocal supporter of the LGBTQ community. In our family, we always taught our children about the importance of respecting diversity. The work of the Institute is a fantastic example of how research can mobilize and transform our communities into places where hate, prejudice, and discrimination will not be tolerated - in the locker room or the board room. In supporting this research, we are building a more inclusive, respectful, and caring society. I encourage you to join me, and many others, as we light the way to a brighter future for our youth, families, and communities.”
With more than twenty years of association and service on behalf of the globally-acclaimed Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation, together with my now three years of support for UBC’s ‘CampOUT’, modeled closely after Camp fYrefly, I recognize the positive outcomes that can be achieved by a dedicated group of individuals working together to better the lives of the most vulnerable in our society, including LGBTQ youth. I am honoured and motivated to work with the iSMSS Honourary Committee and Dr. Kristopher Wells to influence the development of inclusive policy for sexual and gender minorities at provincial, national, and international levels.
"The Canadian government should be a leader on the world stage in the fight to combat discrimination against LGBTTQ persons, and the work of iSMSS champions a movement to create equality. Backed by prominent research, the educational outreach they are doing through Camp fYfrefly and initiatives like NoHomophobes.com is groundbreaking, and opens the path to a dialogue that we need to be having more frequently."
“Camp fyrefly gives youth a feeling of belonging and the tools to deal with adversities that may come their way. Working with UR Pride to develop National Suicide Prevention Strategies for LGBT youth, I have seen the tremendous successes of iSMSS - their research and community work are truly life changing and life saving."
“Through the Institute we are building a more inclusive, diverse, and respectful society – a society that is free from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Join us in building a future full of hope and possibility in which everyone is accepted for who they are and is supported to achieve their greatest dreams.“
“Our youth – every one of them – are important to the culture and fabric of Alberta and Canada. The power of Camp fYrefly and iSMSS is in showing youth who are struggling with various issues that not only are they not alone, but that there are others – perfect strangers – who care about them and want them to succeed.”
"Edmonton is a vibrant and growing urban centre. This means that people of all different identities call our city home, and this diversity is a part of what makes living in Edmonton so wonderful. For this diversity to flourish, we must ensure that all Edmontonians — regardless of a person’s actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression — experience a safe, inclusive and welcoming Edmonton. The continued work of iSMSS is key to the elimination of intolerance and the cultivation of a society based on equality and respect. I am proud to be an Honorary Committee member, and proud to support the important work that is taking place."
“Edmonton is a city where all community members are valued, respected, and included, and where diversity is celebrated. We are very proud the city of Edmonton is home to iSMSS and its groundbreaking initiatives, including Camp fYrefly. The research that iSMSS conducts and the remarkable way it translates that research into community-based initiatives is unique and vital to not only our city, but also our province and country. iSMSS is another terrific reason why so many of us are proud to call Edmonton home.“
“Our LGBTQ youth in Canada have spiraling rates of depression, suicide, and bullying many times higher than the national average. This is a tragedy. Camp fYrefly is a big part of changing that sad landscape, and I am very proud to volunteer my time and energy to this groundbreaking and successful program. Our fondest hope is that this Camp will continue to grow and thrive as it meets the diverse needs of sexual and gender minority youth; we are fully and personally committed to this important, life-saving work.“
"Being a healthy individual means knowing who you are, where you belong, having people and tools to support you and iSMSS is providing these fundamentals to our youth and helping them to become our future leaders.
"In Cree culture we are taught that everyone has a special gift. The work of iSMSS is critical in helping to bring out the sacred gifts of sexuality and gender in the lives of all of our young people. Programs like Camp fYrefly help our youth move from a place of shame and darkness to pride and light. iSMSS is truly lighting the way for many of our most vulnerable two-spirit youths, and other youth grappling with sexual and gender identities. Please join us in this campaign of hope and possibility to create a world that embraces and celebrates diversity and differences and all of the many gifts and teachings they bring to our lives."
“Many LGBTQ youth are unaware of their strengths, or even how strong they are as individuals. Camp fYrefly connects youth with vital support that helps them to find and fully own their own truth – to become resilient and positive, to be leaders in their own communities and beyond. Enabling these youth to recognize their own inner strength, to be optimistic about their futures and well on their way to achieving their goals and full potential is one of the most powerful gifts you can give. Camp fYrefly gives the gift of strength, courage, and hope. These were assets I needed to succeed, and they are what all of our youth need to remain strong, proud and free."
iSMSS celebrates the vibrant diversity of our campuses by recognizing and supporting
important and collective efforts in creating welcoming, inclusive, safe, and respectful environments for sexual and gender minority students, faculty, staff, and allies.
Sexual and gender minorities represents an evolving constellation of identities including, but not limited to, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*,asexual, two-spirit, intersex, questioning, and queer.