Seth Compton is thrilled that this day is finally here. A gathering of dozens of supporters along with North Bay Mayor Al McDonald, councillor Marcus Tignanelli, and Nipissing-Timiskaming MP Anthony Rota officially opened OUTLOUD North Bay, a community hub that offers peer support for LGBTQ2S youth.
"This all started on a scrap piece of paper back in December and I kind of put it out to have a space close to transit so the kids had a way to get to and from, then this space opened up and I hopped on it," said Seth who is a transgender male.
"COVID-19 happened but we continued to plug away, we took donations, we painted. We created this space through a worldwide pandemic."
The new facility on the corner of Ferguson and Oak Street has been the brainchild of Compton. Seth knew a place like this was necessary after he went to a Transgender Remembrance Day event hosted by Amelia Rising. That is when he realized North Bay needed help.
"This project started last year when I just felt the need to create a safe space," Seth admitted.
"I went to that vigil and the people in that circle that night were scared. They were afraid and talked about not having any safe spaces in town and I went home and I cried.
"I am going through my own journey and my own transition and I thought I needed to do something for my community so that everyone feels that safety."
I walk around this city proud, and not afraid. I advocate for those kids so. This all started on a scrap piece of paper back in December and I kind of put it out to have a space close to transit so the kids had a way to get to and from, then this space opened up and I hopped on it. Covid happened but we continued to plug away, we took donations, we painted. We created this space through a worldwide pandemic.
Compton says COVID-19 slowed down the progress of the facility but it allowed supporters to take donations and do some painting in the downtown building.
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Seth says parents and kids are reaching out every day including people as far away as Australia and the Philippines who follow Seth on social media.
"They follow my transition so they think I am that person that can help them out of that tough situation. I know with this pandemic a lot of people have been isolated."
Now that the space is open Seth says they have kids that come and talk.
"I have had kids come through the doors this week that I have never seen before. It is just a beautiful thing for us to see. From what I have seen I believe North Bay needs a space like this."