News from the LGBTQ youth center in the West Island of Montreal

Daniel Bastian

I hope this letter finds all of you well. I would like to touch base with all of you about the work our Centre has been engaged with since we opened in May. We held our First Annual General Meeting and membership drive last week. It was an enjoyable evening in spite of the heat and humidity, and everyone appreciated the opportunity to meet other community members and become more involved in the work that we have begun together.

One milestone of the evening was the inauguration of our board of directors, comprised of a dozen or so officers who offer various professional backgrounds and a cross section of gender, age, sexual orientation, religious and secular affiliation. Members of the board convened after the formal inauguration. Reflecting upon this meeting, I feel confident that a fine group has been assembled to to help administrate Centre functions and steer the growth and development of this new organization.

Less than three months ago, we officially opened the youth centre and I began facilitating drop-in hours. From 3:00 to 7:30 every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon, West Island youth who are questioning their sexual orientation and/or gender identification (or who already identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender) are welcomed through our doors. The teens that I have already gotten to know are a friendly, confident and enthusiastic bunch, and I feel privileged to offer them guidance as they develop authentic identities as young adults. The support and encouragement from all of you who have volunteered your life experience and professional skills towards this unique and valuable project not only makes the Centre’s work possible, but strengthens it in the process.

The Centre will be participating in the Montreal Pride festivities on August 13-14. We will be at the community day on Saturday, and marching in the parade on Sunday. We are looking for people who would like to join us in the parade! Our group will be comprised mostly of teenagers & young adults, but I invite all of you to tell me whether you’re interested in participating. In the meantime, invite any young people you know who are LGBT or straight allies to get in touch about marching with us.

Thank you again for your interest and support for the Centre. I am pleased to continue working with all of you!

Daniel Bastian, Director, LGBTQ Youth Centre