LGBTQ2S+ Community Creates Communal Accommodations to Build Safe Living Spaces

Written on 08/13/2021
Contributing Columnist

A group of LGBTQ2S+ community members in Halifax have decided to share a living space to save money and feel safe - the Globe and Mail reported.

“All of my ads specifically say this is a gay room in a gay house with gay men and gay pets and gay plants,” said Halifax resident Dan MacKay, who has been renting out the two extra bedrooms and attached apartment for the 40 years that he’s lived there.

“I don’t want anyone in my house with even one tiny sliver of homophobia,” said Mackay, adding that his boyfriend, Paul Pitre, will also be living in the home.

“You don’t want to feel like I have to hide anything from people that I’m living with,” he explained.

MacKay also administers a Facebook group called ‘Homes for Queers Halifax.’ It allows queer folks to connect with one another to find roommates or comfortable housing spaces. A woman named Caitlyn Horne found him in that group and has been living in his home for three years.

“It’s about as gay a home as you could imagine,” Horne said. “[Dan] tries to make it a safe and accessible home for everyone that lives here.”

In bigger Canadian cities, the housing market has skyrocketed, causing people to consider non-traditional ways of living. Research by Statistics Canada shows that the LGBTQ2S+ community is more likely to face housing insecurity or financial hardship.

This has led many people within the community to join communal living spaces created by queer people for queer people as an inexpensive and safe option.

Similar Facebook groups have popped up in Vancouver, Montreal, and Toronto. The shared living spaces also create a sense of family for the people living in them.

“It’s very much more like a family situation than a tenant and landlord situation,” Mr. MacKay explained. “We have biological families, and we have logical families, and I’ve made a logical family.”

Trish Spark has been living in the apartment at the back of MacKay’s house for almost 13 years. She told the Globe and Mail he’s become “like a brother” to her, and they share a house dog.

“I’m almost 71, and so I haven’t been out all of those years,” Spark said. “Being able to move into a place where I wouldn’t have to offer any explanations or wonder when people would ask me questions – right away, it was kind of like a family.”

(Image Credit: Ken W. Kiser)