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)
- Teaching guide: « Démystifier l’homosexualité: ça commence à l’école »
- 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.
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. For quality control purposes we ask those who have used the services of our Staff to fill out the following Questionnaire : Feedback on services provided by GRIS staff.
The Workshop includes the filling out a Research Questionnaire. The questionnaire is made up of three parts. Students must not put their name on the Questionaire 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.
As stated above, the questionnaires filled out by the students during the workshops help 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 GRIS-Simple Plan Foundation Prize
Presentation and regulations:
What is your plan to fight homophobia in school?
Come up with a project, make it happen and tell us about it! You may end up winning a prize for your school, get recognition and inspire others.
What is it?
The Simple Plan Foundation has chosen GRIS-Montreal and GRIS-Quebec, two organizations involved in demystifying homosexuality and bisexuality in school, to create the GRIS-Simple Plan Foundation Award. Elementary schools and High schools all over the Province are targeted by this award and it is meant to reward students who have taken novel initiatives to fight homophobia or to demystify homosexuality and bisexuality in school. This award thus replaces the GRIS-Montreal Award which gave the award for the last three years to schools for projects developed in its coverage area.
What is there to be won?
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.)
Why was this award created?
Whether it be during its workshops in schools, through requests for help or information which GRIS receives, GRIS volunteers have realized that in some schools, students or staff have organized brilliant events which meet squarely with GRIS’ objectives. We believe that such events, which we also refer to as « projects », deserve to become better known and be recognized in order to encourage other students and staff to take a stand and to build a school that is more open to diversity and to an environment free of homophobia.
Examples of past projects:
- A school Staff member put up, in full view, photographs of homosexual, men and women, who are admired for their work, their life or their actions and who can inspire us all. -A young person did everything he could so that the school’s computer « firewall » would stop blocking access to legitimate websites which give out serious information about homosexuality
- Students in Grade 8, made a film in a « téléroman » (soap-opera) format, with three different stories entitled « L’homophobie ça tue! » (Homophobia kills!) This film was shown to other students in order to foster a discussion in order to diminish prejudice against homosexuals.
- Students made two « pinatas » on which were inscribed insults and curses which are often targeted towards homosexuals. They then invited their fellow students to destroy the « piñatas » by hitting them with a wooden stick. This event was broadcast on the student radio station during a Special. This program also featured a selection of songs made popular by gay artists or by gay icons of the gay community. It also featured key dates for the gay community and information on available resources aimed at young gay people or those wondering about their orientation. It also featured events held in the Montreal by the gay community.
Administrative regions and addresses
|For Western Quebec, the schools located in the following administrative regions:
16 Montérégiemust send their file with a signed application form to GRIS-Montréal:
|For Eastern Quebec, the schools located in the following administrative regions :01 Bas Saint-laurent
02 Saguenay-Lac St-Jean
03 Capitale Nationale
11 Gaspésie-Îles de la Madeleine
17 Centre-du-Québecmust send their file with a signed application form to GRIS-Québec:
The project could have been carried out by school staff, by one or more students, or by a combination of staff and students. The project may be nominated by the person(s) who carried it out, by anyone in the school where it was carried out, or by a person outside the school who became aware of the project. In the last two cases, it is advisable to involve those who made the project happen in the write-up of the application file and one of them must sign the Nomination Form.
The project must have been carried out during the current school year, save and except for those which are of a permanent nature. The deadline to submit the nomination is June 30th.
The projects will be judged based on their innovation, the ease with which it can replicated in other schools and the impact that they will have in the school environment. The jury reserves the right to award a special award, in a format which it will deem appropriate, to one or more young person(s), who will have come up with a project which clearly stands out from the other projects submitted, either by its quality, its impact or its originality.
GRIS-Montreal will put together a jury for Western Quebec and GRIS-Québec will put together a jury for Eastern Quebec. The decision of both juries is final and cannot be appealed.
The Award for Western Quebec will be given during the month of eptember during the Press Conference organized by GRIS-Montreal for its Annual Fundraising Campaign.
The Award for Eastern Quebec will be given during the month of September during the « Fête Arc-en- ciel », an event at which is attended by GRIS-Québec.
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:
- You can fill out the Donation Form and return it with a cheque made out to GRIS-Montreal to the following address: P.O. Box 476 Station « C » Montréal (Québec) H2L 4K4
- You can also donate by credit card through Paypal. 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 Annual report (available in French only) and Press releases (available in French only).
Workshops in numbers
GRIS-Montreal volunteers visited 212 institutions and spoke to over 28,000 students in the 2014-2015 school year alone. Since it’s creation in 1994, GRIS-Montreal has held over 11,650 workshops with more than 327,000 people attending.
Check the counter on the right-hand side of the page to see how many workshops our volunteers have given so far this year!
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, to abide by the organization’s code of ethics (available in French only) 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.
Teaching guide: « Démystifier l’homosexualité, ça commence à l’école »
Written by Irène Demczuk, the pedagogical guide « Démystifier l’homosexualité, ça commence à l’école » (available in French only) was created to help educators convey objective knowledge pertaining to homosexuality and to counter the devastating effects of homophobia experienced by youths in general and boys especially. In addition to offering an inventory of community resources, websites, videos, books and films which deal with homosexuality, this teaching guide gives educators priceless information which will give them a greater ease when talking about homosexuality. The guide contains a series of activities for both the elementary and high school levels. These activities will allow educators to make events, such as Valentine’s Day for example, more inclusive. It also has exercises to gauge the students’ reactions aand provides guidance as to how to react should they find out that their best friend is gay, that a classmate was rejected because it is said of him or her that he is gay or that she is a lesbian, and provide insight into how to react in various situations, such as two boys wishing to attend Graduation together as a couple.
Click here for an overview of the Table of contents (in French only).
To purchase the book visit the publisher’s website laboitealivres.com. You can also contact customer service team at 514 999-4226, fill out the order form, save and send as an attachment by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or print the order form and fax it to 450 818-9046.
P.O. Box 476, Station « C »
Tel.: 514 590-0016
Fax.: 514 590-0764