Ethnoculture is a not-for-profit organization whose sole mandate is to organize events for and about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual/transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) ethnic minorities, queers of colour, and Two-Spirited people in Montreal. The goal of these events is to help such individuals break free from their invisibility, silence and isolation.
In Quebec, ethnocultural minorities are often pushed to the margins of Quebec society due to economic, social, political, cultural, and racial tensions with the majority population. This leads many minorities and minority communities to resist their subjugation by retaining or adopting what they perceive to be non-Western values such as homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, and queerphobia, despite the fact that often such values originated in the West and were inculcated by “other” cultures through colonial and imperial rule. Consequently, many people in these communities who identify as LGBTQ or Two-Spirited are often alienated and oppressed by their families and fellow community members.
On the flipside, the mainstream LGBTQ community in Montreal, fearing that the rights that it has fought long and hard to achieve will be taken away, frequently defers to stereotypes about non-Western cultures as being inherently heterosexist. As a result, racism and xenophobia have become commonplace in spaces such as the Gay Village as well as on the Internet.
With their sexual and gender identity rejected on one side, their cultures, ethnicities, and races vilified on another, and their existence completely unacknowledged by mainstream society, LGBTQ ethnic minorities, queers of colour, and Two-Spirited people in Montreal experience an extreme form of isolation that can lead to depression, desperation, and self-destructive behaviour.
There is a huge need to create a circle of dialogue and respect and mutual acceptance of cultural, sexual, gender, racial and ethnic differences in order to prevent and fight prejudice, discrimination and intolerance. This is why Ethnoculture was created.
Ethnoculture’s objectives are:
• To help empower ethnocultural LGBTQ and Two-Spirited groups in their own ethnocultural communities.
• To increase exchanges between different ethnocultural groups.
• To raise awareness about multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination.
• To provide a forum for dialogue among different ethnic communities and all those who work in such social service fields as immigration, health, education, and social work to help them grasp the different aspects of sexuality and gender identity.
• To develop among Quebecers knowledge and understanding of the realities of their pluralist society.
• To raise awareness with the mainstream LGBTQ community about the different realities of LGBTQ ethnic minorities, queers of colour, and Two-Spirited people.
• To help better integrate LGBTQ immigrants and refugees into the Quebec LGBTQ community.
• Prioritize the promotion of the artistic works, presentations and performances of LGBTQ people from ethnocultural communities