Merging Waters welcomes everyone, of any sexual orientation, gender expression or gender identity. For decades our community has been led and supported by people of diverse orientations and identities.

 

In 2002, Union Church became the first Affirming Congregation in Quebec. Today, having joined with Beaurepaire United to become Merging Waters, we are 're-affirming' following the guidance of Affirm United, the national organization that assists and recognizes communities of faith that are inclusive of the 2SLGBTQIA+ spectrum. 

 

We recognize that knowledge and understanding of sex and gender have changed and grown immensely in the past twenty years. There is much to learn. We are fostering an ongoing conversation about all aspects of 2SLGBTQIA+ diversity based on personal experience, reading, discussion and reflection. 

 

Below, you can find information on our work with Affirm United, published and web material that has been particularly helpful, and news items that inform us of 2SLGBTQIA+ issues of justice and inclusion in society. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFFIRM UNITED

Affirm United / S'affirmer Ensemble (AUSE) is a national organization within the United Church of Canada with that educates and supports Communities of Faith affirming their committment to inclusion and justice for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. 

 

The AUSE main website is here.

The main AUSE resource we are using is called Open Hearts and can be found here 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ACTIVITIES 

Through the past year, Lisa and the re-affirming team have been responding to questions from grandparents whose grandchildren have been asking them to use different names and different pronouns. At the same time, there was so much in the news about gender policies in schools and about the conflicting rights of parents and children in gender discussions and the role of teachers in gender education.  

In October 2024 Lisa led a Sunday service entitled "Equipping Our Grannies: Understanding what our grandchildren might teach us about gender". Two guest speakers from the local 2SLGBTQ+ community told their stories and explored the questions to help people find their way through the complexities of new words and concepts. It was a lovely and informative service that generated lots of discussion in the weeks that followed. A video of the service can be found here.   

 

In April 2024 another service followed by discussion over soup lunch re-visited the questions arising from the last activity and exploring more deeply the concepts around transgender and non-binary identities and how we as a church, as families and as individuals can support people of all identities. Leah and David did a wonderful job of answering questions on everthing from pronouns to medical transition and beyond. We all came away feeling more confident in our understanding but also with many more questions to explore. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RESOURCES

In this section we have collected web sites that we have found useful in our work to understand 2SLGBTQ+ issues as they develop. Things are changing fast and its hard to keep up. We encourage you to explore these sites and develop your own understanding. We hope these resources are helpful to you.

 

Terminology

The developing understanding of sexuality and gender has introduced a lot of new concepts and new language to go along with them. Like learning any new language, this can be unfamiliar and confusing. We encourage you to learn the language and become comfortable using the words. Here are some helpful resources:

 

A good 'lexicon' of teminology in English and French can be found here.  FONDATION EMERGENCE is a Quebec organization working against homophobia and transphobia.

 

A good poster summarizing key words and ideas comes from BelongTo, an Irish organization supporting LGBTQ+ youth with information, interviews etc.

 

The Gender Unicorn is here!

 

Love Me Gender: The Guide

This is an extensive resource published by the Quebec Museum of Civilization in support of a recent museum exhibit. It covers a wide range of topics relating to gender and sexuality, and is a good read for everyone.

 

2SLGBTQ+ : Proud, Prepared, Protected

From a new organization devoted to providing information and support for 2SLGBTQ+ people in healthcare,  this  website has a wide variety of information and resources developed by 2SLGBTQ+ for 2SLGBTQ+, with funding from Health Canada. 

 

Local Resources

In our area, the West island LGBTQ2+ Centre provides information, in-person and online programs and events for youth, adults and seniors.

 

 

Lived experience

Here is a first-person reflection from a non-binary student: I shouldn't have to look non-binary

 

THINGS TO WATCH

 

 

Fluid: Life Beyond the Binary

This new CBC Nature of Things episode explores the amazing diverisity of gender and sexuality expression in plants and animals. Interviews with leading researchers explain the extent and origins of this diversity and raise the question of why should we expect humans to have just two genders. Accessible online for free through CBC Gem: Nature of Things (scroll down to find the episode)

 

 

 

 

NEWS

In society at large, the discussion of 2SLGBTQ+ issues is evolving rapidly. This section includes links to news stories that we feel are imporant to be aware of. Clearly, we can't cover all of the media reports but we try to touch on the main issues through reports from credible outlets .

In particular, in the United States there is a huge and politcal wave of anti-trans and more generally anti-LGBTQ rhetoric. This wave is driven by conservative Christian organizations. It threatens to undo decades of human-rights legislation protecting  the 2SLGBTQ+ community as well as communities of color. We are seeing this regressive movement coming to Canada and we need to be vigilant, informed and active in support of our own 2SLGBTQ+ affirming policies.  

 

The news items below are listed in chronological order. You may have to scroll down to see the different stories on a given topic. We try to use mainstream media and encourage everyone to read widely about these issues. 

 

June 6, 2024: It's Pride Month in the US and many other places. Here is a nice NBC article on the history of Pride Month. 

 

April 8, 2024: In a doctrine introduced this week, the Vatican ruled against gender theory and gender affirming surgery.  Transgender advocates and allies criticize the doctrine for its potential to fuel hate and violence against gender non-conforming people.  See: Advocates blast new doctrine...  

 

March 27, 2024: This article gives an overview of events, concerns and actions arising from  assaults, a year ago, in a gender studies class at the University of Waterloo. From University Affairs: "Are University Campuses Safer Spaces for 2SLGBTQIA+ Folks"

 

February 21, 2024: Poilievre backs banning trans women from sports and bathrooms

 

February 15, 2024: CSIS warns that the 'anti-gender movement' poses a threat of 'extreme violence'

 

February 15, 2024: Greece legalises same-sex marriage but Orthodox Church remains opposed 

 

February 2, 2024: Doctors warn against Alberta's transgender health policies and another article on the same subject from the Montreal Gazette

 

December 24, 2023: Trans folks will someday be revered as the visionaries they are . This is an opinion piece which draws parallels between trans rights and the anti-slavery and feminist struggles of earlier decades. It offers some thought-provoking perspectives. 

 

December 18 2023: Pope Francis says priests can bless same-sex couples

 

December 6 2023: No trans or non-binary people on Quebec's gender identity committee

 

December 2023: A research report produced by the Southern Poverty Rights Centre documents the rising promotion of anti-LGBTQ+ pseudoscience and its influence on policy in the United States.  This is a long read with several chapters but the well-documented results and conclusions are concerning to say the least. 

 

October 20, 2023: Canada's Saskatchewan passes school gender identity bill

 

October 19, 2023: The spectacular freedom of embracing she/he/they pronouns. A personal story of coming to understand gender, full of insights.

 

September 2023: Canada: The LGBT Agenda Seeks to Destroy the Catholic Church

 

July 2023: US religious right at centre of anti-LGBTQ+ message pushed around the world