Queer McGill’s first General Assembly (GA) of the year flowed smoothly Tuesday night, with the executive and attendees electing a new administrative executive, and with GA chair Grace Khare leading an overview of of several of Queer McGill’s working groups, a $500 donation to QPIRG for Culture Shock, and budget consultations.
One of the stand-out issues of the night was the debate on whether the $10,000 surplus from last year would be used toward sensitivity training for McGill staff, medical expenses for queer students, or the Queer McGill Undergraduate Fund (QMUF).
The QMUF supports students who have faced financial difficulties based on their queer or trans* identity, allowing these students to continue their studies in the face of adversity.
Social Coordinator Maggie Haughey believes that the surplus should be directed toward the QMUF and should also help trans* people with medical expenses, citing queer people’s increased risks to mental health issues due to stress.
Members of the assembly voiced their opinions on a desire for increased advertising to raise awareness about QMUF. Although the person who put QMUF on the agenda for discussion was not present, a motion was passed for further consultation on the subject.
Until last year, the fund was administered by the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU); however, a motion passed by last year’s SSMU Legislative Council shifted the responsibility to Queer McGill to allocate the funds internally.
QueerLine, a confidential peer support and referral service for students, was created and funded by Queer McGill several years ago, but has not operated for a few years and was seen as requiring too much of a time commitment from Queer McGill staffers.
A motion to provide the queer community at McGill with other suitable resources, instead of QueerLine, was passed.
The Post-Graduate Working Group was also a subject of discussion at the GA. This working group meets once a month, and provides an environment for queer post-graduates at McGill to access Queer McGill services. Members reported that their first meet-and-greet exceeded expectations, and extended an invitation to undergraduates to partake in future social events.
Including the trans* community
As newly elected Administrative Coordinator, Verónica López Lampré promised to strengthen the organization from within. López Lampré also said that she hopes to “work closer with the Union for Gender Empowerment and make Queer McGill more trans* positive.”
Trans* inclusion was a common theme of the night, and was also echoed by Resource Coordinator Sabine Grutter.
“Trans* inclusion is an overall queer problem […our move towards trans* inclusion] stemmed from a particular incident in the past which we are trying to reconcile,” said Grutter in an interview with The Daily.
Grutter hopes expanding Queer McGill’s resource base will help queer or questioning students.
However, Vidal Wu, former Co-Administrative Coordinator, remained skeptical of this renewed emphasis on trans* issues in Queer McGill.
“Trans* people have just grown accustomed to not caring,” Wu said, noting that past executives have tried and failed to be more inclusive. “Their needs are better served by the [Union for Gender Empowerment] anyways.”
When asked whether Queer McGill will remain as politicized as it has in the past, Haughey told The Daily she wanted to strike a balance between the social and political aspects of Queer McGill.
“I feel like Queer McGill is inherently political,” she noted.