Mural installed downtown by local youth group

June 10, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Sam Odrowski

A new mural was installed on the side of Gauntlet Comics (5 First Street) by the GLOW LGBTQ2S+ Youth Group as part of its “Crystal Queer” project last week.

GLOW is hosted through Dufferin Child and Family Services (DCAFS) and the youth-led Crystal Queer project was created by GLOW in response to the increased isolation and mental health challenges youth are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

One component of Crystal Queer is the mural, which had its art sourced entirely by the youth at GLOW, while the other component is made up of spoken word performances and Q&A’s that have been delivered virtually to libraries, community centres, and school classrooms.

“The youth wanted to use art and storytelling as a way to increase the understanding of LGBTQ2S experiences, and how to better support youth in our community,” said Stevie Forbes-Roberts, DCAFS clinician who leads GLOW.   

On June 16, the tenth and final, culminating virtual event for Crystal Queer is taking place, being hosted with DCAFS, and Forbes-Roberts noted that it’s great to see it coincide with Pride month.

The virtual events have been very beneficial in providing community members, social service providers and peers with the opportunity to ask LGBTQ2s+ youth important questions and learn about the youth’s lived experiences.

“The Crystal Queer Project is so important – it has allowed for youth to creatively express their experiences and significantly influence the reduction of stigma related to 2S+LGBTQ people and issues in our community,” said Jennifer Moore, DCAFS executive director.

When looking at the mural, there’s a quote on it that reads, “They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds,” by Dinos Christainopoulos, who was a Greek poet, and one of the first LGBTQ2S writers in recorded history.

The quote speaks well to youth living through a pandemic, said Forbes-Roberts and the mural itself gives the GLOW group a physical presence, letting people know there are LGBTQ2S youth in Orangeville.

“The mural is kind of like a visual representation that they’re taking up some space and letting their voices be heard and being proud of who they are,” Forbes-Roberts noted.

Moore told the Citizen the mural is also a celebration and statement for inclusion.

“The outdoor mural reflects a celebratory out and proud message that is accessible to and shared with everyone – it is a significant visual that represents our community as one that is inclusive and welcoming to all,” she said.

GLOW has been around for 23 years and welcomes any youth ages 11-18 who want to build self-esteem, a sense of connection to community, and pride about diverse sexual and gender identities. The group is split into two sections, those ages 11-14 and 15-18, who gather at the DCAFS office (655 Riddell Road) for game nights, arts and crafts, movies, health workshops, LGBTQ+ history, and more.

The group is meeting virtually right now, but is hopeful they will be able to meet in-person again in September, as long as the COVID-19 pandemic comes under control.

To join or learn more about GLOW, contact Stevie Forbes-Roberts by email at or by phone at 519-941-1530 ext. 213.

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