Demystifying Homosexuality and Bisexuality Begins in School
Welcome to the English section of our website! GRIS Montreal is proud to announce that it now offers its workshops in the English language. To find out more about GRIS Montreal and its services please read on and should you have any questions regarding our organization and its services, please feel free to get in touch with us. Happy surfing to all of our visitors.
- What is GRIS-Montréal
- GRIS’ Objectives
- Our Workshops
- Requesting a Workshop
- Our Research
- The GRIS-Simple Plan Foundation Award
- Make a Donation!
- The GRIS Team
- Workshops in Numbers
- Getting Involved (Volunteering with GRIS-Montreal)
- Contact Us
What is GRIS-Montréal?
GRIS-Montreal (Groupe de Recherche et d’Intervention Sociale) is a non-profit organization whose mission is 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. As is the case for the fight against racism, the integration of any minority can only be achieved by trying to eliminate ignorance and prejudice. Since the values of our youths are being shaped in school and since schools are where knowledge takes precedence over ignorance, GRIS-Montreal focuses most of its actions in the school system, providing demystification of homosexuality and bisexuality workshops to establishments in the Greater Montreal Area.
– Demystify homosexuality and bisexuality within society in general
– Do research in connection with the demystification activities
– Refer those who express a need for it to other resources in the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) community.
Through our workshops, we also strive to improve the self esteem of youths going through their affirmation process (coming out) as well as those questioning their sexual orientation. We also encourage a positive and more open attitude of those who surround them.
Our workshops are held mainly in high schools, CEGEPs and youth centres in the Greater Montreal area. These workshops rely on the personal experiences of gay, lesbian and bisexual volunteers. They are specially trained to answer any and all questions asked by students. Volunteers work in pairs, most often by a male and female team, which allows students to see there is more than one homosexual reality. After presenting GRIS and the format of the workshop, the volunteers talk briefly about themselves (less than two minutes each) and open the floor to questions from the class. Volunteers welcome any and all questions which they will answer using their own personal experiences rather than theories and statistics. This approach allows kids to put a face on a reality that sometimes scares or intimidates them and this could possibly help them clear up any misconception they have had about homosexuality and bisexuality.
Workshops in Numbers
GRIS-Montreal volunteers visited 209 institutions and spoke to over 26,000 students in the 2015-2016 school year alone. Since it’s creation in 1994, GRIS-Montreal has held over 12,000 workshops with more than 327,000 people attending.
Requesting a Workshop
Before Submitting a Request for a Workshop
When you first contact GRIS, our staff will ensure that you become acquainted with the various organizational and logistical aspects of this activity. We will explain, amongst other things: our methodology, give you an idea of the type of questions often asked by students and the answers to those questions that we provide, tell you about our rigorous volunteer training program (which allows them to answer the most difficult questions) as well as the Research component namely the use of the Questionaire which is handed out to students.
Examples of MFAQ (Most Frequently Asked Questions):
- How did you realize you were gay? Bisexual?
- How did your parents react?
- Did you lose any friends when they found out you were gay?
- Why is there a Pride Parade? A gay Village?
- Why have gay sporting events?
- Are you faithful?
What The Students Are Saying
« I feel like there is nothing wrong in being bisexual and loving both sexes. »
– Girl, 16 years
« I liked this workshop. I found it very interesting. I think it is a good idea to show teenager this because it could help them a lot in some cases. I learned quite a few things. I think that doing this it can change people’s opinion. »
– Boy, 15 years
« I still feel comfortable with gays/lesbians because we are all allowed to love who we love. »
– Girl, 14 years
Submitting Your Request
To make a request for a workshop, please contact our Staff by calling 514.590-0016 or complete the application form called « Demande d’intervention » (available in French only) and a member of our Staff will contact you.
As stated above, The Workshop includes the filling out a Research Questionnaire by the students. This helps us in doing our research to assess the level of homophobia in school. GRIS has published a Report entitled: Rapport de recherche 2008 (available in French only). To order, please contact GRIS Montréal at 514 590-0016.
The questionnaire is made up of three parts. Students must not put their name on the Questionnaire as it must remain anonymous. Students are asked to fill out Part One before the volunteers enter the classroom. After the workshop has ended, volunteers ask them to fill out Part Two and Three. Volunteers then collect the questionnaires and give them to GRIS staff who compile the results for research purposes.
Teachers are also asked to fill out a Workshop Assessment Questionnaire after the workshop. That questionnaire is then put in a sealed envelope by the teacher.
The GRIS-Simple Plan Foundation Prize
What is It?
With the support of the Simple Plan rock band, the GRIS-Simple Plan Foundation Prize rewards innovative projects which help in the fight against homophobia.
Who’s it for?
The students and/or school staff in Elementary or High Schools.
How do we do this?
Come up with a project to fight homophobia, put it together and send it to us!
In order to inspire you, here are some of the projects we’ve received in the past:
- A week-long program of activities to fight homophobia
- Production of a film “L’homophobie ça tue” (Homophobia kills)
- Production of t-shirts “You don’t have to be gay to stand up for gay rights”
What can we win?
The GRIS-Simple Plan Foundation Award has two bursaries of $2,000 each. Elementary schools and High Schools will be able to submit their project to GRIS-Quebec and the students and school resource-persons of Western Quebec will be able to submit their initiatives to GRIS-Montreal (please see the Regulations below to find out the administrative region for your school).
In addition to a $2,000 bursary, the two winning schools will be given a commemorative plaque and a certificate will be given to each participant in the project.
In order to respect the philosophy behind this award, this bursary will have to be used, by those who have won it, to finance future activities whose aim is to fight, this time around, against all forms of discrimination (racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.)
Make a Donation!
Your donation to GRIS-Montreal can make a difference in a young person’s life. It will help students find their place in the world and encourage a respect for diversity in our society. For every donation received, GRIS-Montreal will issue a receipt for tax purposes. The list of donors is NEVER given to any other organization(s). Charitable Number: 89119 1629 RR0001.
To make a donation:
Should you experience difficulty in using Paypal, please call GRIS-Montreal offices between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. and our staff will gladly help you.
The GRIS Team
The organization is run by a Board of directors duly elected as per the organization’s by-laws. The Board has created six committees to help with the workload. GRIS has a staff of six full-time employees, including the Executive-Director. Each year, new members join GRIS-Montreal. There are currently about 220 volunteers in the organization, 130 of whom go into schools for the demystification workshops.
GRIS-Montreal has developed a very good relationship with mainstream media and enjoys significant coverage of its various public events. Publications in the gay community have also offered this non-profit organization a constant visibility. Through contacts and connections, GRIS-Montreal has been able to create a few awareness campaigns in order to reach a wider audience. We invite you to view our most recent Annual report (available in French only) and Press releases (available in French only).
Becoming a GRIS Volunteer
Becoming a member is quite easy. All one needs is to wish to take part in one of many activities organized by GRIS-Montreal and to pay the symbolic annual fee ($5). Please note that only openly gay or bisexual people can take part in the training courses necessary to give workshops in schools. Compiling data and organizing social or fundraising activities are but a few of the activities in which all volunteers can be involved. As GRIS-Montreal is a francophone organization, a certain level of French is required to be able to partake in its activities and fluency in French is required to take the training to become a volunteer in the schools.
#201, 3155 Hochelaga
Tel.: 514 590-0016
Fax.: 514 590-0764