Youth/Elders Programming

community + education partner 

education programming supporters


Our focus on intergenerational connections continues with the return of In Conversation, curated by leZlie lee kam and Ty Sloane. Moving to an online format this past year has allowed us to reach an audience well beyond our home in Toronto, and we continue to strengthen these long-distance connections as other in-person activities resume.

“One day, if you’re lucky, you too will be a queer senior.”

– leZlie lee kam

Buddies’ Youth / Elders Projects are an ongoing response to the need for building intergenerational spaces, conversations, and relationships in our queer community. The program launched in 2016 with a year-long project that culminated in the acclaimed theatrical production The Youth / Elders Project on Buddies mainstage, and continues with a regular program of community conversations, knowledge sharing, a podcast, and more.

Collage by Awake Studio. Photo of leZlie lee kam by Dylan Mitro, styling by Cat Calica, hair and makeup by Robert Weir.

In Conversation


As a global pandemic disproportionately affects our queer communities, the need to create space for queer intergenerational dialogue is more important now than ever. In Conversation is a space for formal and informal discussions about salient issues within our communities. You are invited to participate and talk, or just listen. Some sessions will feature specially invited guests to speak intimately on the themes and topics.

In Conversation is open to queer youth, elders, and folks of any age interested in conversation across queer generations. No artistic experience is necessary.

2021/22 Sessions

Harm Reduction: Recovery + Substance Use
Monday, January 24, 6-8PM ET
w/ guests Yamikani Msosa + Brawk Ward
This session will include ASL-interpretation

In this session, we break down assumptions and dream up ways of how community care and responsibility can help strengthen our relationships to each other.

Yamikani Msosa (ze-hir) is a Black genderqueer Malawian arrivant-currently living within the Dish With One Spoon wampum treaty territory. They are a movement based practitioner, burlesque performer and community weaver who works at the intersections of justice and practices of embodied liberation.Yami weaves ancestral teachings, decolonial practices and movement to support connection to space and place. Yami is a collective member of Bricks and Glitter and supports the Care Collective, Brown Girls Yoga and Hill Insider Collective.

brawk hessel is a white settler and a gender queer fag that uses they/them pronouns. Brawk is also a recovering addict, proudly mad, and a care worker. Their performance art and poetry has been featured frequently at Video Fag, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre and Glad Day Bookshop. They are also a collective member of the community arts space, Unit 2, as well as the Bricks and Glitter Festival.

Relationships + Sex: Interracial Connections
Monday, February 28, 6-8PM ET
w/ guest Nicole Tanguay

In Conversation with Nicole, we navigate the complexities of romantic and/or sexual relationships between two (or more) racialized queer people.

Nicole Tanguay: I am a mixed race Indigenous person who is 2 spirited and a knowledge keeper on issues of gender and indigenous knowledge.  I am also an older person who has worked in social services for many years working with Indgenous youth, seniors and regular folks.  I am a poet, musician and a documentary  filmmaker – I am alos a playwright with lots of years in the arts community. My gender is they/them and I identify as a 2 spirited gender non conforming queer butch.

Expanding the Expression of Gender
Monday, March 14, 6-8PM ET

w/ Kai Cheng Thom

As new knowledge and understandings of gender arise, how can we rethink our relationship to gender?

Kai Cheng Thom is a writer, performer, queer healer, mediator, wicked witch and lasagna lover based in Toronto/tkaronto. She is the author of five award-winning books in multiple genres, including the 2020 Stonewall Honor Award-winning essay collection I HOPE WE CHOOSE LOVE. Kai Cheng has been featured in Teen Vogue, The New York Times, and on CTV’s The Social.

Reconcilitation + 2S Meanings
Monday, April 18, 6-8PM ET
w/ guest Cole Alvis

In this session, we question how do Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities come together, work together, and progress together?

Cole Alvis (she/her) is a 2 Spirit Michif (Métis) artist based in Tkarón:to with Chippewa, Irish & English ancestors from Turtle Mountain. She is one of the leaders of lemonTree creations, manidoons collective, and AdHoc Assembly, and is on the board of the Dancers Of Damelahamid. Recently, Cole performed in Louis Riel (Canadian Opera Company & National Arts Centre) and directed the Dora-nominated bug by Yolanda Bonnell (manidoons collective & Luminato), Lilies by Michel Marc Bouchard (lemonTree creations, Why Not Theatre & Buddies in Bad Times Theatre) and, alongside fellow Dora-nominated Michael Greyeyes, co-directed an Indigenous opera double bill called Two Odysseys: Pimooteewin / Gállábártnit (Signal Theatre, National Sami Theatre Beaivváš & Soundstreams). This spring, Cole directs a digital presentation of the play Toka by Indrit Kasapi coproduced by lemonTree creations and Theatre Passe Muraille.

Hope for the Future: Moving Forward, Intergenerationally
Monday, May 30, 6-8PM ET
hosted by leZlie and Ty

Guided by leZlie and Ty, together as a group, we look at tangible actions we can individually take to help bridge divides across generations.

The Youth / Elders Podcast

Recorded live at the Oakwood branch of the Toronto Public Library, this monthly podcast features the personal stories, lived histories, and candid conversations from queer elders and youth. Over the course of six months, over 50 people participated as either audience or storytellers exploring ideas of queer history, ageing, identities, and the evolving and intersectional way different generations relate to their queerness.

Click here for more info and to subscribe with your favourite podcast app.

Stay connected

If you would like updates on intergenerational programming, calls for submissions, educational offerings, and other opportunities to get involved, we’ve got a newsletter for you! Sign up below.