Around 12,000 Montrealers marched on René-Lévesque Blvd. on Aug. 18 for the 36th edition of Pride Montreal. Political figures like Justin Trudeau and François Legault paraded alongside the fleet.
Every year, the event gathers thousands in hope of advancing the rights of the LGBTQI+ community. This year, Queer Concordia, a student-run organization, trekked the 2.7 km between Metcalfe and Alexandre-DeSève Sts., joining forces with the parade.
“[Queer Concordia] is a student-run organization with a mandate to create events and safe spaces that targets the 2TLGBQ+ community,” said Akira DeCarlos, Health and Resources Coordinator at Queer Concordia, in an email to The Concordian. 2TLGBQ+ stands for two spirited trans, lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer and plus.
One of the events serving to promote a safe space in Concordia is the weekly support group – a novelty implemented last year by Queer Concordia’s administrative coordinator, Anastasia Caron.
“I did an internship over the summer and I met the first adult queer person I had ever met,” said Caron. “She was talking about how when she was coming out, it was very difficult for her and she went to this coming out support group and I was like ‘oh my god! We should also have that.’”
Since its foundation, the support group has acted as a safe space for people to voice their concerns and share their stories with others around themes that vary every week. Most of the concerns are unintentional microaggressions like small comments that bother people over time, according to Caron.
“There hasn’t been any violence yet,” said Caron. “Hopefully, it stays that way.”
While Caron and DeCarlos agree that Concordia hosts a good environment of acceptance towards the queer community, they think there lacks support from student associations, which affects Queer Concordia’s range.
“We are not reached out to much and I think it affects our outreach and leads queer youth to assume there is nothing on campus for them,” said DeCarlos. “Last year, the CSU did a Queer clothing swap, but we were never contacted to collaborate.”
While the group will work on improving communication with other student associations, Queer Concordia is looking forward to adding sources of financial help for queer students.
“I am hoping for the upcoming year to implement more resources for students,” said DeCarlos. “[Such as] an empowerment fund, where students can apply to get money up to $200 for things such as gender affirming surgeries, therapy, groceries where our money can help relieve them of some stress and help empower them. I also want to create a Queer Concordia scholarship per semester at a worth of $600 that is not based on academic performance, but need and involvement in the community.”
By doing so, DeCarlos hopes to promote Queer Concordia for students to understand that the group is an on-campus resource for help.
Feature photo by Laurence Brisson Dubreuil