In addition to providing a safe space for students to express their sexuality, the Sexual Diversity Alliance (formerly the Queer Union) aims to promote student awareness of sexual diversity. VP of operations Molly Haigh shares her thoughts with The Concordian on discrimination, the group’s new name and its plans for the year.
What are some of your plans for this year?
Our big event this year is going to be Sexual Diversity Week (week of Valentine’s Day). We want to bring awareness [to students] about the diversity on campus. None of us have the same sexuality, we all have different interests. We’re planning to bring a speaker, Inga Musico, to talk about how environmentalism, racism and feminism intersect with queer and trans issues. We’re also having a party on Oct. 13 with the Mexican Students Association to raise money for Sexual Diversity Week. [And] we’re going to have speed dating coming up at some point in time this semester.
Tell us a bit about your group’s mandate…
We have two major goals: to promote awareness of sexual diversity on and off campus [and to] provide a safe space on campus where people can come to talk about their sexuality, if they’re having issues or are interested in talking with like-minded people. We’re at the office to answer any question that anybody has about their sexuality, safe-sex or whatever. We also give out free condoms.
You were previously known as the Queer Union. Why did you change your name?
We decided we wanted to be a bit more inclusive because a lot of people, especially older gay men, didn’t feel included by the word ‘queer.’ For some people, [the word] still has negative connotations. Even though it’s been reclaimed by a lot of people [in the gay community], it hasn’t been reclaimed by everyone.
Do you have a working relationship with like-minded groups from other universities?
Definitely. We just co-sponsored an event with GLAM (Gay and Lesbian Asians of Montreal) [and] we have, in the past, co-sponsored events. When we’ve got events, we usually try to sponsor them with Queer McGill. [As for francophone universities] it’s tough to do French events [with them] because of the language barrier.
Do you think that the language is a barrier between Montreal gay groups?
We have French-speaking executives so we don’t really have a problem, but we can’t really co-sponsor an English speaker, because [francophone organizations] are more likely to want to bring in a French speaker than we would be. If we were to get together on something it would be more of an event like a party. But as far as social causes go, like Divers/Cit