Healing through the hate

LGBTQIA2S+ students stand in solidarity through art and community

Concordia students stand in solidarity infront of the hall building. Photo Gabrielle Laperrière-Leblanc

One week after thousands of anti-trans protests took place all over Canada, and more notably made their way in front of the Sir George Williams campus, LGBTQIA2S+ Concordia students organized a small community get-together. 

A trans solidarity banner painting session took place on Sept. 27, from 3 to 5 p.m. in front of the Hall building, on the corner of Mackay and de Maisonneuve.Blvd.  

A range of pop classics could be heard as participants kneeled on large tarps, paint stains on their clothes with brushes in hand. 

“After all the anti-trans protests that happened last week, the morale was down, and a lot of students did not feel safe,” said Amina Vance, one of the student gathering organizers. 

An overwhelming feeling of love, openness and acceptance could be felt on the street corner. It was on that same corner where exactly one week prior, hundreds of protesters showed intense disdain for LGBTQIA2S+ rights. 

“It’s really scary to see what’s happening out there, and to notice that the school is not really doing anything about it,” said Juliana Rodriguez, an anthropology, sociology, and First Peoples Studies major at Concordia. “We studied queer history in class and they keep telling us this is what happened in the past, and here we are today. It feels like it’s happening again,” Rodriguez told The Link, referencing the rise of far-right ideologies that can be felt throughout the country. 

“Trans resistance,” “No space for hate,” and “Trans liberation” were just some of the messages that could be seen on the banners being created as participants ate, danced and vibed all around. 

Displayed on the ground all around the banners were art supplies, some of which were provided by ASFA while others were brought from students' homes. Next to the art supplies, a speaker playing some catchy tunes could be heard, courtesy of Rose Chisholm, another student who helped organize the event. 

“This just felt like a nice thing to do, just to create some art in a safe space for all of us. It's healing,” Chisholm said. 

Food was provided by the People’s Potato. Meals were passed around, feeding the artists and anyone who needed a quick bite. A young child and their father made their way to the art-making spot with food in hand, both grinning ear to ear while looking at the art-making. 

Also present on-site distributing pamphlets and partaking in the arts was the Pink Bloc collective. They describe themselves as a radical anti-capitalist queer group and their support could be felt. 

“Now more than ever we have to stand together and be there for each other. ]At least there is such a strong sense of community here. I am friends with so many people here,’’ Rodriguez said. 

Bystanders and people who were driving by turned their attention to the gathering all throughout the afternoon, intrigued by the scene. The event saw a good flow of people until the very end when it was time to take the banners inside to let them dry. 

“At least next time we’ll have banners to protest with,” Vance said.

This article originally appeared in Volume 44, Issue 3, published October 3, 2023.