Multimundo: a new coalition for queer cultural communities

May 8, 2006, was an historic day for Québec’s queer cultural communities. For the very first time in North America and maybe even in the world, the LGBTQ community organizations that offer services to queers from cultural minorities held a meeting to create a new alliance: the Multimundo Coalition.

Almost twenty representatives from different organizations met at UQAM and officially founded the Multimundo Coalition at an assembly attended by close to thirty people. General rules were adopted and a four-member executive committee was elected.

Vanessa Dorvily and Benji Pereiras were named co-presidents, Nada was elected treasurer, and Mona Greenbaum was voted secretary. The board of directors will be made up of representatives from each of the voting organizations.

Co-president Vanessa Dorvily explained that despite its recent creation, the Coalition is already targeting three major objectives. “We want to increase the visibility of ethnocultural minorities in the ‘white’ LGBT community so that they are better included. The Coalition must also provide tools for ethnocultural LGBT organizations so that they can better integrate sexual minorities into their cultures, as well as ensure that queer members of ethnocultural communities are increasingly included on the social and community scenes,” added the new co-president.
How it all came together
The Multimundo adventure began in 2002 when a small group of people met for a “ listserv” to broaden their network. 

“Even then, we needed to discuss and meet with each other in order to break the isolation. Solitude itself isn’t the problem. The problem is that so many people feel alone,” explained co-president Benji Pereiras.


photo: Hugo Ducharme 
Executive council of Coalition Multimundo: Benji Pereiras, co-president,  Mona Greenbaum, secretary, Nada, treasurer, and Vanessa Dorvily, co-president.

The Canadian Mental Health Association then implemented Sortir ses couleurs, a first colloquium for queer members of ethnocultural communities that was held in Montréal.

The idea of creating a coalition was already taking shape as the groups shared their experiences and expressed the need to form a group one way or another. Many members of these communities then got involved in planning the next colloquiums, which, unfortunately, were not particularly successful. The second colloquium was aimed at members of majority communities and the third at members of heterosexual organizations.
Helem, a group that supports the Lebanese and Arab communities, then continued their work and organized the very first ethnocultural day in April 2005. Towards the end of the event, groups met, discussed, and decided that the time was right to create a coalition. One thing led to another and a little more than one year later, they achieved their goal and founded the Multimundo Coalition.
Projects in the works
Many projects are already taking shape, at both the social and community levels, from cocktail parties to participating in the Divers/cité Community Day and work to structure the new Coalition. 

But the organization’s major project is their participation in a cross-Canada research project studying queer individuals from ethnocultural minorities, the Homosexualité, vulnérabilité et resilience study. The Coalition will be a key player in establishing a Montréal base for the study, which has already received funding. 


“This study matches the objectives the we have set for ourselves and it is crucial that LGBT ethnocultural groups are involved in the process, which will have a direct impact on our community,” stated Vanessa Dorvily.

Why Multimundo?
The organization’s name is key to creating good public relations. The Coalition found a very imaginative and catchy name: Multimundo.
 “The main obstacle was finding a name that would work in both French and English. We chose ‘Mundo’ because it has meaning in both official languages without actually being from either and the prefix ‘multi’ because it exists in many languages,” explained Benji Pereiras.

This interesting name also speaks of ethnocultural realities by conveying the idea of a multiple world – a world with many facets, many cultures – just like the Coalition itself, which is sure to become increasingly important in our community.

About AlterHéros

Depuis 2002, AlterHéros répond à vos questions en ligne au sujet de la diversité sexuelle, de la pluralité des genres et de la santé sexuelle en général. Nous organisons aussi des activités pour les jeunes LGBTQIA2S+ de 14 à 30 ans et leurs allié.e.s.

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