International Day Against Homophobia 2009 - Though invited to participate in the fight against homophobia in their communities, cultural organisations give a shy response



    Positive Results from the Homosexuality Knows No Borders Campaign

    MONTREAL, May 15 /CNW Telbec/ - For the International Day Against
Homophobia, with the participation of Minister of Immigration and Cultural
Communities Ms. Yolande James, Fondation Emergence is assessing its 2009
campaign. Just as a reminder, the International Day Against Homophobia is a
Fondation Emergence initiative and takes place on May 17 each year.
    Fondation Emergence's campaigns are intended for the general public and,
each year, the foundation sets its goals on one group. The seventh annual
campaign to fight homophobia, which is directed toward cultural communities,
has been a huge success with the community's involvement and the participation
of close to 500 groups. Launched this past March, the promotional campaign was
enthusiastically welcomed and the slogan "Get involved! This is your day!" was
heard. The Day also showed its colours with banners hung from streetlamps
along the streets of Montréal, and for the first time in Québec City. "We're
more than satisfied with the results", President of Fondation Emergence
Laurent McCutcheon said.
    "In our society, important gains have been made in the fight against
homophobia. In fact, Québec has been among the first protagonists in the
field. Nonetheless, our vigilance and efforts are still required to ensure
that Quebecers of all origins are given the chance to strive toward social
equality," said Minister of Immigration and Cultural Communities Yolande
James.

    Cultural Communities

    Entitled Homosexuality Knows No Borders, the campaign for 2009 aims to
make the entire population, and specifically cultural communities of all
backgrounds, aware of gay and lesbian issues, and sexual diversity. With
homosexuality being a universal fact, no one can force borders on it, and this
is what inspired the concept behind the campaign's posters and pamphlets. The
written content of the pamphlet, which was geared toward cultural communities,
mentions the status of homosexuality across the world, focuses on how newly
arrived immigrants have difficulties coping in their host society, and
specifically highlights parent-to-child relationships.
    All organisations listed in the index of cultural communities in Québec
(published by the Ministère de l'Immigration et des Communités culturelles)
have received a personalized letter inviting them to participate in the
campaign and to promote it in their communities. A pamphlet, in French and in
English, plus a participation form were enclosed in the mailing.
Unfortunately, very few responded to the invitation even though a 10% rate of
participation was hoped for at this first year.
    According to the President of Fondation Emergence, "most probably, for
many of these organisations, it was the first time they had ever received a
message relating to sexual orientation. This is not necessarily a failure. The
goal of the exercise was to inform organisations dedicated to the well-being
of cultural communities so, in this way, it was successful. For that matter,
people from cultural communities, just like the entire population, got some
exposure to the fight against homophobia."

    Survey

    A survey on the perception of homosexuality among first and
second-generation members of cultural communities was conducted by Léger
Marketing. For the President of Fondation Emergence, "with regard to
homosexuality, children give greater support to Québec society's values of
equality than their parents do. In the case where several of these parents
come from countries in which being gay or lesbian is punished, it's a real
pleasure to see that young people are abandoning some values while adopting
those of their host society." Full survey results are available at
www.homophobiaday.org.

    Fight Against Homophobia Award

    Last Monday, Fondation Emergence gave the 2009 Fight Against Homophobia
Award to Mr. Dany Turcotte, television host and comedian, at a ceremony held
at National Bank's head office in Montréal. By publicly revealing that he is
gay, the jokester from the show Tout le monde en parle has garnered respect
from all of Québec. He has managed to play down the fact that he is gay and
has succeeded in showing that people can be gay or lesbian, famous, have a
successful career, and earn the respect of men and women of all ages. He has
definitely given hope to the parents of gay and lesbian children and has shown
that being gay or lesbian will not jeopardize their future.

    Participation

    Close to 500 groups have ordered promotional materials and over 200 of
them have informed Fondation Emergence of their intention to actively
participate in the campaign. All these initiatives are the fruit of a variety
of organisations, and their offshoots reach far beyond the LGBT community,
even if this community remains a leading partner. The big players in civil
society and organisations from all communities have also joined in this
campaign both in Québec and in the rest of Canada. Likewise, organisations
from countries such as Albania, Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy,
the United States, and the United Kingdom have ordered promotional materials
from Fondation Emergence. A list of these initiatives, each more original than
the next, can be found under the "Activities" section at
www.homophobiaday.org.

    Motions

    Each year, the Québec National Assembly passes a motion of support for
the International Day Against Homophobia. Deputy Premier of Ontario Mr. George
Smitherman will make a statement to this effect at his province's Legislative
Assembly. Cities and other municipalities are also adopting such motions just
about everywhere across Canada, such as Ville de Québec's motion of support
and the City of Gatineau's flying the Rainbow Flag.

    Partners

    Holding this type of event would not have been possible without the
contribution of some 42 partners. Fondation Emergence would like to thank
these organisations who have financially supported the campaign or who have
participated in some other way (list available at www.homophobiaday.org). The
president of Fondation Emergence wishes to point out that "Ms. Yolande James,
Minister of Immigration and Cultural Communities, was the first to believe in
this campaign and give her financial support, without which the campaign would
probably not have gone ahead."

    A Sample of Activities for this Weekend

    There are a few activities set to take place over the weekend of May 16
and 17: a march in Québec City organised by GLBT Québec / Lutte à
l'homophobie, a gathering in Montréal organised by GRIS-Montréal, a march in
Gatineau organised by Projet Jeunesse Idem à Gatineau. Please see the
"Activities" section at www.homophobiaday.org.

    The Campaign Outlined in Numbers

    - 300 000 printed pamphlets
    - 55 000 printed posters
    - 1670 cultural organisations contacted
    - 1 500 000 Internet visitors
    - 42 partners
    - 447 participating groups
    - 60 banners in Montréal streets
    - 20 banners in Québec City

    Theme for 2010

    While continuing the awareness-raising begun with cultural communities,
Fondation Emergence announces that the 2010 campaign will be geared toward the
sports world. Mr. McCutcheon ends by saying that "more than in any other
environment, the sports world is known for its lack of openness toward gay and
lesbian issues. We plan to make this community aware of the consequences of
homophobia and we've already started inviting all those involved in this
community to support the foundation's efforts."




For further information:

For further information: Richard Rancourt, Director of Communications,
Fondation Emergence, (514) 866-6788, cell: (514) 836-2050; Laurent McCutcheon,
President, (514) 522-7614

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Fondation Émergence

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INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST HOMOPHOBIA

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