- Out In Schools
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July 28, 2021
Queer Community Collective (QCC) is a grass-roots non-profit dedicated to offering a supportive space for 2SLGBTQIA+ and QTBIPOC folks to make friends. I spoke with the co-founders, Creative Director Ess Ravensbergen (they/them) and Executive Director Kaide Tighe (they/them). QCC’s roots are in advocacy for marginalized communities, born out of an initiative to support the homeless population displaced from Strathcona Park. They are currently on a mission to bridge the gaps in the 2SLGBTQIA+ community by connecting people at small in-person events. Their vision resonates with the Vancouver Queer Film Festival. As a result, several members of the Collective have volunteered at the Festival, past and present.
Queer Community Collective hosted the first-ever Fraser Valley Pride, a landmark event that pushed against homophobia and transphobia—allowing people in the community to feel seen and celebrated. With the Festival broadcasting all over BC, community members in small towns far removed from our Vancouver cinemas are reminded that they are not alone and that queerness is worth celebrating! The Collective plans to host a viewing party in Langley during the Festival, where they’ll project Los Fuertes (The Strong Ones) onto a screen. This film tells the story of two lovers who grapple with their future when they must choose between comfort or facing their fears. Los Fuertes captures a common queer experience, one that many of us face as we come to realize that being our true selves may mean losing acceptance from those we love. Having a community to lean on can make a huge difference for young 2SLGBTQIA folks, and we’re thrilled to be able to share this film and explore this experience alongside the QCC.
Outside of hosting events, Queer Community Collective has a podcast, QKIDS, a play on words for skids and a queer kid in distress. “As queer folks we experience more distress. It’s a fun way for people to be like, ‘oh what’s that’ and then we open up these doors to conversation,” explains Kaide. As co-founders, they aim to create the supportive space that they longed for as young queers. Now, as adults, they offer resources and peer support for 2SLGBTQIA+ youth. The episodes of QKids examine pop culture through a queer lens and spotlight 2SLGBTQIA+ artists, performers and entrepreneurs. In their latest episode, Ess and Kaide speak on the magic of trans visibility.
The 2021 Festival programme swaps out the heavy-hearted endings predominant in media representation of trans masculinity with depictions of joy. Authentic representation of those far too often underrepresented reminds audiences that there is no one way to be trans, and they deserve a happy ending. “I came out in high school, but I didn’t know that there was the option to not be a woman. I didn’t understand what trans men were, so I had no idea until my early 20s and it took me so long to unpack that,” says Kaide. The shorts programme Homecomings celebrates transmasculine bodily autonomy with stories that are created by and for trans folks.
Kaide says, “Our biggest goal is to create representation across the board for all parts of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. That’s kind of where it started and where we’re going.” There is still an absence of connection within the greater queer community. Through initiatives and events, such as a small viewing party during VQFF, folks come together to foster relationships that make them feel like they’re a part of something bigger. Queer Community Collective continues to create language and imagination to enable queers to express themselves fully. You can find Queer Community Collective on Facebook and Instagram. Their podcast QKIDS is available to listen to on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.