Interview by Jason Setnyk | Submitted Photo
Cornwall, Ontario – Liz Quenville is President of the Board of Directors for Diversity Cornwall. She joined the Board in 2017 to create more opportunities for 2SLGBTQ+ families in our community and to connect and provide programs and services for community members beyond the annual Pride festival. Liz does a lot of the everyday communication and coordination for the organization as well as helping with fundraising, events, and community engagement.
Diversity Cornwall was founded in 2016 to promote equality and wellness for 2SLGBTQ+ individuals in the Akwesasne, Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry area through community events, education, and advocacy. The organization serves the interests of the 2SLGBTQ+ communities and allies.
Five Questions with The Seeker
1 – What need(s) or issue(s) does your organization address in our community?
“Our organization serves a need in the community that is generally overlooked and underserved. Diversity Cornwall strives to improve the mental health and well-being of 2SLGBTQ+ community members by providing training, hosting community events, and offering gender-affirming programs and services to transgender, two-spirit and non-binary community members that are not available through any other community organizations – such as access to binders, gaffs, STPs, laser hair removal, help with transportation to affirming appointments and legal name changes.”
2 – What do you like most about working at this non-profit?
“What I enjoy most about working with Diversity Cornwall is the opportunity to impact the lives of our community members and to see and hear the difference that we are making in other people’s lives. I have had many folks approach me at an event or afterward to tell me that the event was the first time that they have ever gone out in public as their true self. Parents have also told me their child is only “out” at Diversity Cornwall events. We have facilitated transportation to gender-affirming appointments that would otherwise not have been possible. We have also offered training to community partners to help them better serve their 2SLGBTQ+ clients. It is incredibly rewarding to know that you have helped make someone else feel more safe in their community and more comfortable in their own skin.”
3 – How can people in the community support your organization?
“There are many ways that the community can support the organization. Diversity Cornwall would not exist were it not for their amazing volunteers and community sponsors. Every volunteer, every donation that they receive, every person who purchases a ticket to an event or purchases Diversity Cornwall’s merchandise, and every sponsor who supports their events makes it possible for Diversity Cornwall to continue to exist and to serve our community.”
4 – Tell us about volunteers and what they mean to your organization.
“Our volunteers are the backbone of the organization. Diversity Cornwall has been operating as an entirely volunteer-run organization since 2016. Every event and fundraiser we have hosted has been organized and led by volunteers, and we would not exist without their support. Our Board of Directors is an operating Board and each person who has volunteered on our Board of Directors has contributed to its success. We also have many dedicated volunteers who help us to solicit donations and sponsorships for our year-round events, which has made it possible for us to continue to exist. I could never sufficiently put into words how important our volunteers are to the sustainability of our organization.”
5 – What is your organization’s most significant accomplishment?
“I think that the overall growth of our organization over the past six years has been a significant accomplishment in itself, given that we are a new organization and only now looking to hire our first employee. But regarding our programs and services, I would say that our Gender Affirming Program is our greatest accomplishment. As far as we know, it is the only program of its kind in Canada. Through this program, we have provided access to gender-affirming goods and services for more than 100 transgender, two-spirit, and non-binary individuals in our community.”
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