GRIS-MONTRÉAL

“For me, GRIS represents the privilege of being able to open the minds of the young people who listen to us by breaking down prejudices on homosexuality and bisexuality. ” Robert Pilon, intervener

GRIS-Montréal (Groupe de Recherche et d'Intervention Sociale) is a non-profit community organization who demystifies homosexuality and bisexuality through offering personality testimony. Above all, it’s a big family of 350 people who work together to make sure there is a place for every young person in school, for every senior in nursing homes, for every new immigrant, and for society in general.

Our Mission

GRIS-Montréal is non-profit organization founded in 1994 with a mission to ensure a better awareness of the homosexual and bisexual reality and to make it easier for gays, lesbians and bisexuals to integrate into society.

Since the values of our youths are being shaped in school and since schools are where knowledge takes precedence over ignorance, we have chosen to focus most of its actions in the school to demystify homosexuality and bisexuality We work mainly in secondary schools and cégeps in the Greater Montréal Area and have adapted our workshops for students in third cycle of primary.

GRIS volunteers also operate more and more with other clients such as French-language learning classes, youth centres, workplaces or seniors’ centres.

Goals

Gris-Montréal aims to achieve three main objectives:

Demystifying homosexuality and bisexuality within society in general.

Carrying out research projects related to demystification activities.

Direct people who express the need toward other relevant resources on the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*) community.

Also, each of the GRIS-Montréal demystification workshops in schools targets these more specific objectives:

Developing self-esteem in youth who are questioning or in the process of affirming their identity and encouraging a positive attitude amongst those around them.

Developing an ability to demystify in order to interact with the outside world.

Passing on an education process to professionals (particularly with those who work in a school setting) who have a theoretical understanding of homosexuality and bisexuality in order for them to develop new approach and workshop skills with youth and with the general population.

Spreading GRIS-Montréal’s expertise across community and public networks.

History

1988
1994
1996
1998
2004
2007
2008
2009
2010
2014
2017

Created in 1987, the community organization of gay and lesbian youths Jeunesse Lambda identifies, in its first year, a major information need among 13-16 year olds questioning their sexual orientation. It then created the Social Intervention Committee (CIS), which initiated an intervention project in vocational and social training classes in the form of testimonies.

It then becomes important to use these periods of intervention to collect statistical data on the perception of homosexuality, and a questionnaire is integrated into the workshops.

The CIS officially becomes the Montreal Research and Social Intervention Group (GRIS-Montreal).

Over the years, the organization has been involved in different courses at different levels of schooling and in a growing number of institutions, which are not limited to the academic environment.

Given the increased demand and urgent needs, a team is set up in Quebec City by parents who have a homosexual child.

They form a team called the Regional Group of Social Intervention. The first GRIS outside the metropolis sees the day. 50 school interventions are carried out from the first year.

The Chaudière-Appalaches region joins the Quebec team set up two years earlier to raise awareness of homosexuality among young people.

A third GRIS was born: the GRIS Chaudière-Appalaches.

GRIS welcomes its first spokespersons: Mireille Deyglun and Gilles Renaud. They start the very first annual fundraising campaign and will brilliantly represent GRIS on all stands for four years.

More than 100,000 young people have been met by GRIS-Montréal volunteers since its inception.

In addition, the organization adapts its methods to meet the growing demands of new clienteles: primary schools (3rd cycle), English schools and francization classes.

From the first year, the organization carries out 21 interventions in the primary schools, 18 in the cultural communities and 16 in the anglophone clientele.

The actors Macha Limonchik and Vincent Bolduc became the new spokespersons of the organization, succeeding Mireille Deyglun and Gilles Renaud.

So far, they continue to fulfill their roles with brio and generosity, not missing a single opportunity to talk about GRIS.

At the same time, a third GRIS was officially opened in Mauricie / Center-du-Québec.

After a long process of reflection and a general consultation of GRIS members, the organization adds the demystification of bisexuality to its mission.

Bisexual caregivers are trained to be gay and lesbian volunteers.

The education and health communities applaud the work of GRIS with two high distinctions.

The Department of Health and Social Services awards the organization with the prestigious "Prevention, Promotion and Protection of Health and Welfare" Award of Excellence and the Alliance of Professors of Montreal, the Prix Léo-Guindon.

Aware of the isolation suffered by LGB seniors, GRIS is conducting a one-year pilot project to adapt its intervention format to the living environment for the elderly. One year later, with the support of key partners, GRIS officially extended its interventions to this new clientele.

From the first year, a hundred people are met. At the same time, the fifth GRIS was born: GRIS-Estrie.

GRIS-Montréal is today the largest organization to demystify homosexuality and bisexuality in schools in Quebec.

The year-over-year increase in the number of interventions and the increasing need to train new workers demonstrate the success of the formula employed and the importance of the work done by the group.

Our spokespeople

Vincent Bolduc

Comedian and actor - Spokesperson since 2008

“I notice that starting in primary school, homophobic comments are common and become a form of bullying with serious consequences. That has to stop. ”

Macha Limonchik

Comedian - Spokesperson since 2008

“For a long time, I’ve dreamt of a school where everyone can develop, discover themselves and experiment freely, without facing contempt, insult and prejudices. By tackling homophobia, GRIS-Montréal develops both tolerance and acceptance in the broader sense. It contributes to opening the hearts and minds of these future adults. I love that!!! ”

Our team

Organize more than 1000 interventions in schools annually; ensuring that volunteers are trained to demystify homosexuality and bisexuality among young people effectively; maintaining research on homophobia in schools; evaluate the impact of demystification workshops and develop new approaches in response to an increasingly varied target clientele. This is part of the huge task that the GRIS-Montreal team is performing.

Board of Directors

Catherine Duclos

President

Andrei Pascu

Vice-President

Emmanuelle Laferrière

Treasurer

Alain Caron

Secretary

Jack McLaren

Demystification Coordinator

Véronique Bougie

Training Coordinator

Olivier Vallerand

Research Coordinator

Patrice Blondin

Administrator

Laurence Tanguay-Beaudoin

Administrator

Erika Gaudreault

Administrator

Kevin Lavoie

Administrator

Marie Houzeau

Executive Director

Full-time staff

Marie Houzeau

Executive Director

Michèle Brousseau

Training and development officer

Andréa Kpenou

Communications officer

Amélie Charbonneau

Research officer

Gabrielle Belisle-Richard

Intervention coordination officer

Raphaëlle Desnoyers

Administrative Clerk

Colette Lesage

Accounting Clerk 

Committee Members

The Membership Committee’s goal is to support membership recruitment and retention. In order to better reflect the diversity in the classrooms that are visited, there is a particular focus on women and people from cultural communities.

Given the fact that GRIS-Montréal aims to demystify homosexuality and bisexuality in all spheres of society, the Communications Committee works to produce promotional tools aimed at external targets, including the media. It also oversees the effectiveness of internal communications which are necessary for the organization to operate smoothly.

The Demystification Committee guarantees the quality of our services to demystify homosexuality and bisexuality.

The Diversity Committee aims to support a structured reflection on the inclusion of diversity within GRIS-Montréal, through workshop facilitator training and bringing together volunteers from diverse cultural backgrounds. It also seeks to build bridges between GRIS and the ethnocultural LGBT community groups in Montréal and to establish GRIS-Montréal as an organization that is sensitive to the double and triple forms of discrimination that LGB members from cultural communities face.

The Fundraising Committee organizes the annual GRIS-Montréal fundraising campaign by setting up a campaign team and setting the financial goals for the year. The committee takes a look at the suggested fundraising activities, and helps to organize self-financing activities.

The Training Committee oversees the planning, organization and facilitation of training activities for our volunteers.

The Research Committee compiles and analyzes the data collected during the workshops through a questionnaire filled out by the students. It also completes special projects related to the study of homophobia among young people and maintains links with university research communities.

Erika

Coordinator

Clermont

Jack

Lysa

Mélanie

Michèle

Roxanne

Stéphanie

Vladimir

Andréa Kpenou

Communications officer

Clermont

Amandine

MARC-ANTOINE SAUMIER – TD BANK

Olivier Vallerand

Research Coordinator

Awards and tributes

Since its creation in 1994, GRIS-Montreal has distinguished itself by the rigor of its method and the scope of its work. The organization has an excellent reputation in the fields of education, health and community action and has been rewarded more than once for its work in the demystification of homosexuality and of bisexuality among the population.

GRIS-MONTRÉAL
2014 : Prix Phénicia (Chamber of commerce LGBT of Québec) New community implications [for the success of the Disorientation evening organized in April 2014 with the support of the National Bank]
2013 : Prix Phénicia (Chamber of commerce LGBT of Québec) [for the Artists on the Move, Citizens in the making.]
2011 : Prix Phénicia (Chamber of commerce LGBT of Québec) Professional [for the important contribution of Marie Houzeau, CEO of GRIS as a "member of a recognized professional order that has distinguished itself by the quality, creativity, longevity of its services within the LGBT community or by increases radiation. "]
2011 : Léo-Guindon Prize (Alliance des professeures et professeurs de Montréal) [for the involvement of GRIS and its social contribution to the educational work]
2010 : Prix d’Excellence du ministère de la santé et des services sociaux catégorie « Prévention, promotion et protection de la santé et du bien-être » [for our work and its impact on Quebec society]
2010 : Bourse de l’Association des médecins psychiatres du Québec (AMPQ) [for our mission and contribution to the mental health of Quebeckers]
2008 : Prix Hommage bénévolat-Québec Organization in action [for our ability to innovate and implement strategies to coach, support and promote volunteer engagement]
2008 : Prix Phénicia Professional [for the quality of our services, which has attracted media attention to the LGBT community]
2003 : Prix Organisme du Conseil Québécois LGBT [for our contribution to the development of the gay and lesbian community]
MEMBERS OF GRIS-MONTRÉAL
2016 – Marie Houzeau Prix Femmes de mérite - Engagement social du Y des Femmes de Montréal
2016 – Marie Houzeau National Assembly Medal
2015 – Robert Pilon Tribute Award, 40 Years of the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms
2015 – Robert Pilon LGBT Council of Quebec Premiere Award [for his book "Models wanted: homosexuality and bisexuality told otherwise"]
2014 – Olivier Vallerand Volunteer Emeritus of the City of Montreal
2014 – Robert Pilon Grand prix du Conseil québécois LGBT
2013 – Robert Pilon Volunteer Emeritus of the City of Montreal
2013 - Janik Bastien-Charlebois National Assembly Medal
2012 – Robert Asselin Prix Bénévole par excellence
2012 - Robert Asselin Médaille de l’Assemblée nationale
2011 – Robert Asselin Prix Phénicia – Catégorie bénévole
2011 – Pierre Ravary National Assembly Medal
2009 – Réal Boucher National Assembly Medal
2008 – Robert Pilon Naitonal Assembly Medal
2008 – Pierre Ravary Prix Phénicia – Catégorie bénévole