On April 1st, at Alterheros’ annual general meeting, Marc-Olivier Ouellet officially stepped down as the president and founder of the Alterheros Internet portal. Almost four years after creating this innovative awareness-building tool to demystify homosexuality and homophobia, Marc-Olivier can be proud that his brainchild has recently welcomed its one-millionth visitor!
“To be honest, I never thought that we would get one million hits so quickly! It just confirms that I was right and that there is a real need for this type of portal,” said Marc-Olivier in an interview conducted at a party held at the Drugstore bar in Montréal where more than thirty people gathered to celebrate Marc-Olivier’s leaving for Europe and, of course, Alterheros’ one-millionth visitor!
An honorary plaque
Marc-Olivier was given an honorary plaque in recognition of the impact he has had on community groups in Montréal and Québec thanks to his work with Alterheros, but also as an active member of the Québec Alliance for Queer Youth (QAQY) and the Montréal Youth Coalition
photo: Jean-Pierre Vu
Marc-Olivier Ouellet was given an honorary plaque in recognition of the impact he has had on community groups in Montréal and Québec.
Against Homophobia (MYCAH), two organizations with which he has worked over the past few years.
“I’m very touched,” said an emotional Marc-Olivier. “I am thrilled to know that Alterheros is such a success! When I think back and see what a difference we’ve made for so many people, I can’t help but be very happy. Thank you to everyone who has worked with us and supported us…There are so many of you!”
Even though he will be in Europe, we should mention that our good friend, “Marco”, as we like to call him, will continue to contribute to Alterheros, since his sneaky colleagues managed to convince him to stay on as the portal’s development director.
New President Tiago Graça will take over Marc-Olivier’s duties, and most of the members of the dynamic 2005-2006 are staying on, including Vice-President Sébastien St-Onge, Editor-in-Chief Julie-Maude Beauchesne, Outreach Director François Paquette, Marketing Director Jean-Pierre Duchastel, Secretary-Treasurer Jean-Pierre Vu, and newly appointed Animation Director Véronique Brisson.
There are also two new additions to the administrative team: Communications Director Joé Thibault and Participating Administrator Vincent Robichaud.
An organization like no other
Officially launched on August 3, 2002, by a young and dynamic McGill grad, Marc-Olivier Ouellet, the Alterheros portal is unique in that its mission is to demystify sexual diversity. The Web site has helped hundreds of thousands of young people from across Québec, Canada, and the world to accept their differences.
photo: Jean-Pierre Vu
Members of 2006-2007 administrative team: Jean-Pierre Duchastel, Vincent Robichaud, Joé Thibault, Sébastien St-Onge, Jean-Pierre Vu, Julie-Maude Beauchesne, François Paquette, Véronique Brisson, Marc-Olivier Ouellet and Tiago Graça.
In the months and years since its creation, the portal has distinguished itself and has even earned a few awards along the way, including the prestigious AVENIR Société, Communication et Éducation award at the 2004 Forces AVENIR gala. In 2006, Alterheros was recognized by its peers and nominated in the Organization of the Year category at the very first Allostars gala.
65 000 visitors in a single month!
And 65 000 is just the beginning because the portal hasn’t even reached its cruising speed yet! Each month, more and more people visit the site. There were 25 000 visitors to the site in April of 2005, 40 000 in January of 2006, and 65 000 this past March!
“I think that several elements explain our success: the quantity and quality of the information on our site, our partners, the work of our many volunteers, and the ‘wow, cool!’ factor of the Web site itself. Without such a user-friendly, well-organized site, we wouldn’t have as many visitors,” affirms Marc-Olivier Ouellet. “As far as I know, there is no other Web site like ours. There are other sites for queer young people, but they don’t necessarily focus on demystifying the differences like we do. We cover all aspects of sexual diversity and that’s what makes us so unique and so successful.”