HC Link supports FrancoQueer plan new areas of focus
By Gabrielle Loesch, HC Link
In a recent meeting with Jean-Rock Boutin, the founder of FrancoQueer, we discussed the recent progress made by the organization this fall, after FrancoQueer approached HC Link for a consultation on how the organization could structure activities to fulfill its strategic plan.
In 2009, FrancoQueer originated a project to address HIV/AIDS prevention in the francophone community and, for that purpose, created Action positive VIH/Sida (APVS). Today a non-profit entity, APVS has become completely independent. Although both FrancoQueer and APVS, its now partner organization, have distinct and separate missions, they continue to work together to promote access to health services in French for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, transgender and queer communities (LGBTQ) in the Greater Toronto Area and elsewhere in Ontario.
New organizational focus and committees
Since its consultation with HC Link, FrancoQueer has been busy planning its main areas of focus and has formed three new committees: the Committee for the coordination of a francophone presence at the Pride parade, la Franco Fierté; the Committee for social and cultural activities, which focuses on cultural and social justice issues; and the Executive Committee that oversees management, governance and partnerships.
Unique workshops for the Francophone LGBTQ community
Another development at FrancoQueer is that Carlos Idibouo, a member of the Board of Directors, has offered to provide workshops for newcomers to address the sensitive issue of sexual orientation and its related human rights in Canada. FrancoQueer aims to ensure that new immigrants have access to this information, which at times, can also merge with the prevention of HIV/AIDS (for populations who come from countries where HIV is endemic). Jean-Rock believes that if FrancoQueer were to offer these workshops in partnership with APVS, this would combine both LGBTQ sexual orientation and disease prevention, something that no other local Francophone organization is currently providing.
Volunteers still needed
In spite of this unique and essential approach, additional efforts are necessary to recruit volunteers who are not yet part of FrancoQueer. Most of its members are already involved in various ways, providing all the support that is required to maintain the organization. Jean-Rock emphasizes that they still need experienced volunteers in the area of partnership-negotiation, grant and proposal-writing, and the development of peer-led capacity building programs.
This is why FrancoQueer appreciates the extensive visibility provided by HC Link's electronic and social media channels, as well as the e-bulletin Le Bloc-Notes.
Apéro Franco expands networks
One priority is the monthly Apéro Franco, a social meeting that has been maintained for the past seven years on the last Thursday of the month and that welcomes all friends and allies of the causes represented by FrancoQueer. This friendly gathering takes place between 5:30 and 7:30 pm at the Boutique Bar, 506 Church Street, in Toronto. It also rallies two other groups: APVS and its sub-group Franc Parler. Says Jean-Rock, "We would like to find someone who could manage this activity and the logistical details such as making a few phone calls for the reservation and catering, but" he continues, "it's already a successful event because people can come at their own convenience and make new friends, even when they're just visiting the city."
HC Link is looking forward to further work with FrancoQueer in 2013, while the organization pursues its mission to address and to provide for the needs of the franco-ontarian LGBTQ community.