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The GRIS welcomes 50 new citizens

0 18 décembre 2018

On Monday, December 17, GRIS-Montréal co-hosted, in partnership with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, a ceremony welcoming 50 soon-to-be Canadians—hailing from 16 different countries—and their guests. A first in Canada for an LGBT organization!

 

Pride and joy filled the room as Catherine Duclos, president of GRIS-Montréal, took to the stage to welcome the day’s honoured guests.

 

Read the full text of her speech:

 

“ It is an immense honour for us to be partners in this citizenship ceremony. This is an important moment in your life and we are pleased to be here to witness it. My name is Catherine Duclos and I am the president of GRIS-Montréal, an organization that aims to demystify homosexuality and bisexuality in Quebec. Our goal is to build a stronger and more welcoming society for all citizens, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

 

With that in mind, GRIS-Montréal works with 250 volunteer workshop leaders. They range in age from 18 to 73 and identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual. Some come from Quebec or Ontario, others from Haiti, Algeria, France or Mexico. They share a common goal: to create a more just society. And that is what drives them to go into elementary school and high schools, CEGEPs and universities, workplaces and seniors’ centres, to share details of their reality as gay or bisexual people.

 

Not everyone who attends these workshops has been given the opportunity to share space with members of sexually diverse communities. These encounters allow them an hour to ask questions in an open and judgment-free environment. The discussions that arise are bridge-builders.

 

Each year, as a result of these workshops, thousands of people are able to put a face and a name to homosexuality and bisexuality. And set aside their prejudices.

 

I am talking to you about our demystification work because there is a direct parallel between our organization and Canadian society. At the GRIS, we are wholeheartedly convinced of it: building bridges through open dialogue helps shape a better society. Just as this type of dialogue can put an end to the fear and ignorance that leads to racism, it can do the same for homophobia and biphobia.

 

This concept is central to the Canadian identity. By embracing people from all around the world, our country became a land of welcome. Diversity is a strength, not a weakness, and accepting that fact has allowed us to make great strides as a nation. For example, in 2005, Canada became one of the first countries to legalize same-sex marriage.

 

In choosing to make Canada your home, you have also made the choice to embrace the core value of openness, which leads to a judgment-free and diverse society. We sincerely thank you for this and are very proud to count you among our fellow citizens. Congratulations and welcome into the Canadian community!

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