Wednesday, October 29, 2008

QAM: Too Shy to Come Out?

Marianopolis faculty & staff QAM sticker campaign. A "safe zone" for students to ask questions and discuss matters without fear of prejudice or shame.

Queer Allies of Marianopolis was founded around 4 years ago by one of the most enthusiastic leaders of GLAM (gay, lesbian, and more). Essentially, QAM is a sticker campaign oriented around the staff and faculty members of Marianopolis. The stickers themselves are easily recognized; just look for the rainbow colored upside down triangle that has the letters Q-A-M on the top and you can be sure that’s the sticker for QAM. Dr. Skerry and Brian Webb are the two faculty members that put the workshop together ad invited their coworkers to join the committee. The purpose of such a committee was to ensure the safety and comfort for all Marianopolis students. These workshops worked on how to handle certain questions and especially issues that may, if they hadn’t already, arise. One issue in particular is the use of the word “gay” as an insult (i.e. “that’s so gay”). Unfortunately, many people can’t comprehend that when using the word “gay” as an insult, there might be people around them who will get severely offended. So, not only is it offensive, but it’s also grammatically incorrect (see editorials). Thus, if any student has a question or simply wants to speak to one of the committee members, they need not feel ashamed.

The sticker, which can be found on most faculty and staff doors throughout Marianopolis, is a symbol of security, comfort and understanding. However, after speaking with Véronique Champoux, one of the committee members of QAM, I was informed that QAM has yet to be in action this year and was extremely slow on the promotion and action side of things last year. Champoux explains that with the stress and confusion of the Marianopolis site move, the committee has hardly had the time to meet, let alone discuss. What's more, this year students don’t seem to be as motivated as past year’s students. There’s no GLAM club this semester, and the result of that; there’s less promotion for QAM’s sticker campaign, and less awareness for the right of acceptance and ensured sanctuary of gay, lesbian, and more peoples of Marianopolis.

By the way, if you don’t see a sticker on a faculty or staff member’s door, it’s not because they’re homophobic. It simply means that the person does not feel comfortable discussing such an issue with student body of Marianopolis. That, and there’s a good chance that some new staff or faculty members haven’t yet had the chance to learn about QAM and the sticker campaign simple because they’re…well…new. But, with any luck, this article will spread the word and save the world. Ok, so that might be stretching it a bit but you can’t blame me for being optimistic. If you feel that you would like to be a part of the sticker campaign, although it’s a committee composed of only staff and faculty members, there’s not rule that prevents students from getting a sticker and promoting the campaign themselves. Hopefully, next semester, Marianopolis will re-introduce the GLAM club and will in turn be able to activate and motivate the student body to make a difference in the GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender) world. So, no worries fellow students, the sticker campaign has not fallen, it’s just a little shy to come out at the moment. I’m just letting you know that they’re still there to help you with any questions or concerns that you might have, and if you’d like; feel free to speak with Véronique Champoux or Philip Dann, co-chair of QAM.

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