May 22, 2011

Sunday Skooled: All baby gays are kinda nice, need a place to chill

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Written by: Nikki
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Okay, maybe not all baby-gays, but seriously guys, for those of you who are still skeptical about the idea… IT GETS BETTER! At least for the young ones in Montreal’s West Island. Cause guess what, they opened up a centre just for you; for all you homogay, bisexual, transgendered, and/or questioning folk.

The LGBTQ Youth Centre can be found in Beaconsfield, at the back of a…. Church?

I dunno about y’all but this is a first for me. I didn’t even know this was possible. When I think of a Mosque, a Synagogue, a Church, a Temple or any Religious building really, I think of the WBC and the God Hates Fags signs.

So why a church? How is this a thing?

Me being the curious little lesbo that I am, I had to find out. So I personally went to check out the place myself and had a talk with the director of the centre, Daniel Bastian. We sat down and he gave me the low down on the centre. The inauguration of the centre took place last Sunday (May 15th) along with a full blown church service. It was a pretty big deal for everyone involved because the centre has been running for about two years now. Shaun Fryday – the openly gay minister of the church – initiated the project.

For y’all who have not been to the West Island, it appears to be hetero-ville. But that’s the thing, it’s not! The homogay population has indeed infiltrated various regions around the world, like um the entire world. However the closest centre devoted to LGBTQ youth in the West Island is downtown – which for ‘us’ is like another galaxy.

Cindy Casey, the church coordinator, and Rev. Fryday both noticed the resources available for young queerios around here – or lack thereof – and decided to do something about it. Put two and two together and you get a homo-loving church! The official term that the director used was ‘Open and Affirming Congregation’, but I had to google that when I got home and I figured I’d save you guys the trouble.

The goal of the centre is for sexually diverse young ones to come together in an environment that provides them with a sense of acceptance and support. A TV allows you to watch your favorite (gay) movies without freaking out that your mother is going to walk through the door any second  (some of which are already at the centre). You can curl up and read a good book from their bookshelf, or bring a laptop and surf the net because there’s WI-FI and we all know how much we love the internet. We really also love talking about feelings too so it’s the perfect place to do that.

However, you’re not obliged to do anything. The point is to be someplace where you can relate to the people around you, and just feel accepted. Casey and Fryday wanted to create a 100% safe zone for the baby-gays and an affirming congregation seemed the best way to affirm both tradition and needs.

Now that the centre has opened, it’s going to be run separately from the church. The two founders of the project will support and remain on the board, however the centre will be from now on its own entity.

This is where Daniel Bastian comes into the picture. It turns out he’s only 23 years old and so he actually remembers what it was like to be a baby-gay, unlike most of the people who are trying to reassure you that there will be (a) pot (of gold) at the end of the rainbow. Director Dan did his degree at McGill in Classical Voice Performance and yet he ended up in charge of running this centre. Although he has no professional training in this field, he’s been told, “his life experience qualifies him.” Dan wishes to give back to the community by acting as a role model and providing resources that he never had whilst coming out.

As it turns out, to go to the new LGBTQ Centre, you don’t need to be a member of the United Church, or any Church at all! You can be Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, or even Atheist. It’s open to all faiths, or none!

Until further notice, drop-in times are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3 to 7.30 p.m with a movie night starting at 6.30 p.m on Thursdays. So if you’re in the area or know a baby-gay who is, go check it out! Oh and did I mention movie nights include pizza?

We are sure you have feelings about your non-welcoming, non-homogay baby-gay church experiences. Share your feelings.

About the Author

|Montreal/Guelph Contributor| You'll find me rambling, ranting and raving about everything; from feminism and religion to relationships and fashion. I'm an avid procrastinator and full-time perfectionist. I have an obsession with semi-colons and use them irrationally. I love books, reading stuff on the internet, and writing everything down. Winter makes me cry and I always crave chocolate and the sun.



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  1. Ty

    Great article Nikki, I will surely recommend this center to youth educators and teachers alike. This is AWESOME!

    Love pizza/movie nights, too. :)!

  2. This makes me very happy. I know there are good churches out there that are opening and welcoming and affirming and such, but this is a stand. This is saying “we care enough”, “we are not just ok with acceptance”, “we believe in more”. Happiness.

    • Nikki

      That seems to be a problem in general with many organizations/institutions, they publicize how accepting they are except no one DOES anything! It’s all talk.
      So that makes this particular centre so great. Let’s hope more people will follow their example!

  3. […] Another step for promoting gay-love is being taken by our very own. The Montreal Youth Coalition Against Homophobia is in the planning stages of a project directed towards LGBTQ peeps aged 14-25. The project entails establishing a youth centre, similar to this one in the West Island. […]

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