In honour of Pride month, ET Canada’s Carlos Bustamante joined former “Degrassi” stars Adamo Ruggiero and Ana Golja to reflect on their 2SLGBTQ+ roles they played on the iconic Canadian series, as part of an initiative that supports 2SLGBTQ+ youth.
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While ET Canada and Corus Entertainment have already donated $5,000 to Blue Door’s INN-Clusion program, which provides safe temporary housing for homeless 2SLGBTQ+ youth, Ruggiero and Golja explain why the organization still needs your help.
“I came out also through Marco, so, you know, we kind of grew up together and we figured it out together. It was incredible that the show at that time was able to start that conversation – so I see Marco often as a conversation starter,” Ruggiero recalled. “Now, over the last 20 years, to see how that conversation has progressed is incredible.”
“Our community is so much more diverse than what just Marco was. Marco was this tiny little piece – and I’m so grateful for him, and many young people are grateful to him, ’cause now we’re exploring what it’s like to be all aspects of the 2SLGBTQ+ community,” he added.
“Hearing the stories from the fans is the most rewarding part of being on ‘Degrassi,” Golja chimed in.
She continued: “Those are why I do what I do – to have that kind of impact especially on young people at such a delicate age, and at such a very delicate time too. It’s just, really, the biggest honour I’ve had in my career to date.”
“You really saw Zoe struggle with that. You really saw her battle in her home. You saw that connection between her and her mother, and how she wasn’t accepted by her mother,” Golja stated. “I think that’s something that a lot of children deal with, a lot of youth deal with.”
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That’s why Blue Door, a not-for-profit proving emergency support for the homeless in Ontario’s York Region, has launched their “INN-Clusion” initiative, creating a dedicated safe space for 2SLGBTQ+ youth where they can heal from trauma and search for permanent housing.
“I think for a lot of 2SLGBTQ+ people, that home’s not safe and outside’s not safe. there’s like nowhere safe to go. That’s really very terrifying,” said Ruggiero.
“Being your true, authentic self shouldn’t be a privilege. It should be a standard. It should be a given and I think everyone should do what they can, should do their part to make sure that everyone is able to, to be their true selves in a safe space,” Golja added.
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Fans and viewers can donate now by visiting BlueDoor.ca, or by texting PRIDE to 437.500.6441.
Watch our full conversation with Ruggiero and Golja below.