Meet Ivan Leonce
Ivan is a Caribbean born, queer youth activist of colour living and learning on unceded Coast Salish Territories (Vancouver, Canada).
His community leadership story begins in his home country of Trinidad and Tobago. Growing up with no visible role models in a country that criminalized homosexuality was an indescribably difficult experience, but it was through this hardship that Ivan found his voice. When a student at his high school ended his own life because someone threatened to out him to his family – Ivan knew something had to change, and became active in what was at the time a small movement for change in Trinidad and Tobago, organizing discussion groups and writing articles debunking common misconceptions about the LGBTQ community.
Ivan’s passions and studies eventually took him to Vancouver, Canada, where he currently studies Social Work at the University of British Columbia. With a deep understanding of the privilege of what it means to now live in a city with an active LGBTQ community, Ivan has taken advantage of the many avenues for involvement in Vancouver.
Over the last three years for instance, Ivan has volunteered with a variety of organizations, including the Mpowerment Project – where he facilitated workshops for young gay, bi and trans guys with a focus on safer sex and sexual health education. He also works for a community-based summer camp for queer, trans and allied youth called "CampOUT!" , where he began as a camper and now volunteers as a cabin leader.