Winter Pen Pal Program

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Watercolour illustration of a person in front of a calendar, writing a note that reads Dear Pen Pal, and another person walking to a mailbox with a letter in the snow.

After the resounding success of Buddies Pride Pen Pals program this past June, we are proud to partner together to offer another round of pen pal matching to help get you through the winter.

We are looking for que
er and trans individuals from across Canada—artists, audience members, club-goers, retirees, athletes, arts workers, community leaders, art appreciators — anyone who would welcome the chance to write an email (or maybe a few), and get to know someone through a one-on-one exchange. A chance to share some hopes and dreams for the new year; a chance to exchange some queer and trans life stories and experiences, to write about what things are like right now for you. 

Participants will be matched up with each other via email and are welcome to keep the connection virtual or switch to snail mail. We will prioritize (unless you indicate otherwise) matching people across generational lines to help connect our community and learn from each other. 

“I’ve found that the medium has given me a unique opportunity to think about myself and my story, how I present who I am and my journey to date. It’s been a real opportunity for self-reflection, as well as a new friendship. I’m excited for it to continue.” – Ian, Guelph, ON

The Details

  • Matches will go out January 22, 2021
  • We’ll start by introducing you to your pen pal via email, and welcome you to exchange mailing addresses as you feel comfortable.
  • Your name and email address will only be shared with your pen pal and with Buddies in Bad Times and Pride Toronto. We won’t add your address to our mailing lists without your consent.

Please fill out this form to participate.

If getting to a mailbox, or access to stamps is an issue, please indicate that on the form, and we will be glad to help. If you have any questions, please reach out to [email protected]

Pride Pen Pals is brought to you by Buddies’ ongoing Youth/Elders Projects, dedicated to connecting queer folks across generations (previous projects include The Youth/Elders Project stage production (2016/17), the Youth/Elders Podcast (2017/18), and our on-going “In Conversation” series (2018/19 – present). 

 



Other feedback:
I enjoyed making a connection with someone new – someone who I probably would not have otherwise met. It supported an old art of communication, which we tend not to use in current times. 

As a big fan of letter writing, I loved the concept of the project! My pen pal sent me a friendly introductory email, which I appreciated. My sense is that they weren’t someone I’d be in the same circles within my everyday life, and I liked the idea of connecting with someone different from who I might usually be in community with.

The introduction and the matching of the pen pals were seamless and we got off to a smooth start. We exchanged really long letters getting to know each other and I felt like we were both so open to connection and to be kind to each other.

Buddies did an outstanding job matching my pen pal and I. As we wrote to each other we discovered more and more things we had in common. It was uncanny. You made it very easy to participate in and you gave just the right amount of direction – it was helpful yet not overwhelming.

Such a great idea! I’ve told all my friends about it, a really cool concept! An amazing way to connect queers across Canada, I felt very seen and full of community. Queer people are everywhere, and I have more solid concrete proof of that now.

The best thing for me was to move from digital communication to analog. It really transported me to a calmer place, a slower pace and in this time where EVERYTHING has gone digital, it was much appreciated.

It’s so exciting to anticipate that letter from your pen pal. It’s just great fun getting the letter in the mail and reading what they have to share.

I love the whole idea of the project. Especially as a relatively new queer person, it was great to feel connected to a National community.


Illustration by Pree Rehal @stickymangos

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