Society supports and helps LGBT+ engineering students
Concordia’s first-ever queer engineer society submitted a constitution to the Engineering and Computer Science Association (ECA) on June 13 and is now awaiting official approval from the university’s board of directors, according to the society’s co-founder, Mila Roisin.
According to the Queer Engineers Concordia’s constitution, the society aims to provide services for LGBTQ+ engineering students and their allies. This includes peer support through events and discussions, providing resources for LGBTQ+ engineering students and heightening awareness of queer issues.
“I felt like I needed a space where I could talk about engineering and the challenges of being an engineering student as a queer person,” Roisin said.
The development of this society began at a recruiting event hosted by Queer Engineer McGill in the fall of 2015. This is where Roisin first met Noah Francis, who is the other co-founder of Queer Engineers Concordia. When Roisin learned Francis was also a Concordia student, she realized their school needed a similar space for its engineering students. “It didn’t make sense for us to be at McGill,” she said.
Francis designed the society’s logo while Roisin created the Facebook page and wrote up a constitution for official approval in order to begin holding meetings and events.
Contrary to what some may think, Francis said, the society is open to everyone, not just members of the LGBTQ+ community or engineering students. “It’s not only for those people. [We are here] to promote visibility, which includes allies,” he said.
“When she told me about the group, I knew that I wanted to be a part of it,” said Antoine Beiten, a student Roisin met at Concordia in June. “There are a lot of women, gay and trans people who would want to join but are not comfortable. We want to make people comfortable and join in.”
After writing the constitution, Roisin contacted Christopher Gallo, the president of ECA, who invited her to give a presentation to ECA. Although the ECA questioned Roisin about the seriousness of the society and its integration into ECA during the presentation, they announced their approval of the organization on Sept. 7.
According to Roisin, they are now waiting for the university’s board of directors to decide whether Queer Engineers Concordia will be recognized as an official society on campus.
Beiten said the message he would give to people interested in joining would be not to hesitate. “Even if you are closeted or ashamed, but you feel like you could benefit from this group, come and check us out,” he said. “It’s a completely safe space. No one will judge or out you. If you want to be anonymous, you can.”
Roisin said she hopes Queer Engineers Concordia will be able to become a chapter of the national non-profit organization EngiQueers Canada.
“We are hoping to foster communities and encourage more people to be interested. I think engineering is great, and we need more diverse people,” Roisin said.
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Mila Roisin gave a presentation to ECA and CSU executives. The presentation was only given to ECA. Additionally, Antoine Beiten was incorrectly named as a co-founder of Queer Engineers Concordia, and Noah Francis was given credit for the creation of the group’s Facebook page rather than Roisin.
The Concordian regrets the errors.
Photo by Kirubel Mehari