LGBTQ lack local support

The North Okanagan is lacking an online LGBTQ presence.

There are a few lesbian meetup Facebook pages, but there is no LGBTQ organization in the area.  

Kelowna has the Gay Okanagan Net and the other end of the valley has the South Okanagan Gay and Lesbian Association and South Okanagan Similkameen PRIDE.

Vernon used to have the North Okanagan Gay and Lesbian Organization, but it no longer exists because of 'political drama,' according to an ex-member of the group.

For many LGBTQ locals, the lack of support throughout the community is apparent.

"I don’t know very many LGBT people here, it seemed easier to meet them back home (Red Deer), but maybe I just don’t get out much," said Elizabeth Jewall. "We feel welcome, to a point, don’t see too many LGBT members, but that could be for a variety of reasons."

She and her partner used the Vernon Community Forum as a means to potentially find a sperm donor, but received harsh criticism from many group members and decided to delete their post.

"I don’t know if men in the area actually want to donate," said Elizabeth Jewall. "They have no idea how special it is to a lot of people, like myself."

Castanet searched for an online LGBTQ community in the Vernon area, but was unable to find any active group.

"Creating safe opportunities for connections really matters, said Alison Dennis, a retired teacher who identifies herself as lesbian. "Backlash is all around us."

"A lot of people struggle to get together socially."

Dennis has started a couple Facebook pages to connect local lesbians but says there isn't much else out there, aside from a few other lesbian groups.

One reason Dennis says there could be a lack of an LGBTQ community in the North Okanagan is because people 'don't have the time' to run an organization. 

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