Queer Scouts

Queer Scouts



I think the world needs to learn that where youth have always been here and we're always going to be here of course the queer youth will change the world the people who are at the forefront of oppression are always the people leading the movement the people who experience things most directly or know the solutions survival obviously we want that we don't only want that because survival is the bare minimum Chris gouts is more about learning how to be an active member and social change we believe that the only thing that's going to change circumstances for queer young people is them organizing themselves so of course queer kids are going to change the world because we have to yeah big queer of the word queer to me queer means like challenging what's normal and what's perceived as normal not just with queer Scouts is a social justice leadership program for queer youth between the ages of 14 and 24 we are a summer camp that happens every startup summer started last year and we also meet every our cohort meets every Monday angry is like a big part of who I am as a person I am angry quite often but I'm angry too like a lot of things like climate change and like the fact that like people are continuing to be oppressed and nobody's like openly being like this is you should stop queer Scouts is more focused on like actually going out and doing something about the thing that we're having a problem with and actually having active conversations about it and how it affects us being queer is inherently political like your existence is debated almost daily so to distance yourself from it is from a place of privilege and it's something that's you're going to end up having to confront so I'm gonna tell you a little bit about what we kind of planned for this activity we want to start talking about words that we use to describe ourselves both as individuals and as a group and what those words mean why box yourself in with labels instead of just being you is an idea of snow out of it it's very distressing to me and uh not quite sure why two other people feel like they get that question I all these labels these kids are using these days so yeah labels are like really frustrating they can be really limiting for sure because sometimes you'll feel like we fit into the label that people give us or that we claim but we are here to like complicate labels and so in just some context on our little activity today I think queries need to hear that there's a space for them they are completely valid the way they are and you don't have to live up to somebody else's standards you can just be you I have this hairstyle for no reason because I'm gonna get kicked out the second that I have like my hair shorter which I'm doing in a few days I'm gonna be 18 alloy wheel to you and then the clouds are like two different parts of my life since moving kind of split it right down the middle and just kind of the bad negative things that people have said those words my life and then we all get dinner sometimes Chris got started as a group of youth who wanted to give essentially resources to other queer youth we're sort of in that beginning stage where we're having to do a lot of work to create what this thing is chris is a program and we're still figuring out I guess this yeah this language around structure but it's a program of Pyro's and Pyro's is the Prairie youth radical organizing school with Pyro's eventually we'd like to be like the Highlander school the social justice school that exists has existed since the 60s and trained the leaders in the civil rights movement we'd like to be like that for the prairies and for Canada and train the next generation of youth activists our politics are like really informed I guess by thinking and talking about forces of colonialism and forces of capitalism we're trying to name I guess these forces that are like the shape our lives and so those are ones that come up a lot so what exactly is a union what does that word mean to you like what have you heard about it do you have a definition of what a union actually is yeah so essentially a union is an organized group of workers who come together to make decisions about the conditions of their collective work the first union in Canada was formed in 1872 and it was a cigar makers union and they were like hey the people in the US did it we should do it here as well we're scouts itself isn't the goal Crewe Scouts is like a means to a much larger goal and that goal is like liberation whatever that means so it's like a very long term project and so yeah we see Chris Goetze as a feeder into other things and we see it not just as like an investment for like individually for the youth who participate in it and like benefit a lot maybe from that environment over the course of a year but we hope to give youth the skills that will make them more effective agents and whatever it is that they choose to work on whether that be electoral politics or climb at work or whatever it is like my dream is to see like former queer Scouts everywhere using their skills that they've learned in the program to continue to like magnify I guess like the impact of what this small little group is doing now Chris Coates more marginalized folks in our groups because we're quite white we're quite able-bodied there's not a whole lot of diversity in our rooms talking more about what whiteness and colonialism mean is something that's really important because I think folks of color don't want to have to do that have that conversation for you if you're already having that conversation then it's more likely that I'm going to engage with you think back to the last action movie you watched how much am I willing to bet that the heartthrob character was a white man they're not really individual arbitrary preferences like liking people of a certain racial category is not solely the result of one person's individual preference like liking chocolate over vanilla OkCupid did a study calculating the averages in which certain people demonstrated attraction to certain racial demographics black women and Asian men were the least likely to be approached in the study so the Google attractive people let's do a quick study let's get the first twenty and to know people how many of them are visibly people of color how many of them are white and blonde nobody calls it as someone who has one form of bigotry is very likely to exhibit other forms of bigotry if you refuse to date people of a certain racial preference then it's also likely that you'll refuse to meet people on the basis of body issues on the basis of gender presentation on the basis of ability right so people had just started buying cars they combined this idea of like building highways and roads so people could like use their cars to go visit these places and that's really where the concept of the National Park came so it's always really been based around tourism and kind of this idea of like a money-making enterprise in a certain way what it could look like if like people weren't greedy pretty much I feel bad like why do we do this but I'm also like it's not all human beings first second it's not like I make this decision this thing I enjoy with other people with queer Scouts what exactly we're trying to fix is the notion that when you're young you can't do activism we want to give people the tools that they need to go out right now and do it what do you think the ideal park would be that's really good but I feel like allowing native people on the line right back on the left might help to like work to heal it would be the best people and all of human history to take care of a piece of wild space okay I think the people who lived here for hundreds of thousands of years in very good balance with this spot I have a pretty good proven track record for going out of manage that space so we often times think about that know people we're really talking about us as settlers right like the land that we're on and our physical landscape like really shaped actually like who we are like being out in nature reminds me of that like I'm a seller here my parent like my great great grandparents or homesteaders and like being out in nature like allows me to like not be so alienated from that fact that like the land raised me we're really just hanging out in nature do it like art stuff we are going to lactate and the house that we're gonna be using is like a base is Avery's parents like cottage type thing I think that whenever we go to like a new place and we're enjoying the outside it's like really important that we know the significance of where we're from so the like that we're on is known in English as black CNN but is known by the Nakota soo as well calm day which is God's like the water that we're going to the water down there has a reputation around the world as being healing when we have chosen family it's because we have been rejected by our biological family or a family that raised us from birth or whatever but when you have chosen family these are the people that you know you're safe with and these are the people that you know you can trust and you know that they feel the same way because they've accepted you into their family I think giving queer youth the spaces that they need to be unconditionally them where they know that they're accepted no matter how they choose to present or if they're having a good day or a bad day it sets us up to continue to have positive relationships for the rest of our lives we learn how friends are supposed to treat us we all know what it's like to be the outcast and to be the outsider and to be someone who was mistreated you see queer people being attacked on the streets and this it's scary but it's a constant possibility and that's kind of terrifying for anyone to think somebody might just see me as a person as a problem and they might want to take that out on me violently for me being queer in Alberta is learning how to be yourself without fear because there's always going to be that fear it's very conservative there's always going to be that one guy on this side of the street that calls you the f-word it's hard but like you just got a live show them that you don't give up you're gonna be you and they don't have any say in that rainbow quest was created because we realize that in Edmonton and lots of places everywhere the only safe space for creative people in public is at bars so we decided hey for the people who are under the age of 18 and don't really like alcohol we can make this dry space for Friday nights where we play music and hang out has anyone seen four chords four chords okay we should play it later and we could try and play it but it would be an adventure oh dear okay queer Scouts and our weekly cohort program is our main focus right now but we also support the cohort youth in creating their own programs so Emerson runs rainbow quest every Friday we got a young Edmonton Foundation grant and that's essentially just a sober young queer space to do music and to hang out and make friends I think there's more on the way cuz what's the point of a Leadership Program if the people who are in the leadership program don't get to lead Hey cameras rolling so go ahead Chris gouts join us Damian take two welcome to queer Scouts we are a queer organization for and by youth career Scouts is on treaty six land in Edmonton in case you don't know where that is well it's an Alberta Canada also known as the Texas of Canada our goal is to spark conversations around social justice and here no question is wrong and no one is judging it's a friendly community where you can build lifelong friendships for a safe space in a world that doesn't always embrace queer identities queer Scouts is ever growing and evolving and you can see that in our diverse activities we've done everything from watching morning cartoons to observing the electoral process every year we have a week-long camp it's our largest event and it's a way for queer youth to congregate and bond we have workshops on a wide range of topics like traditional indigenous teachings into sex ed we also learn about harm reduction and we gain not only knowledge but resources of course all activities are optional one of camps highlights is the all body swim it's an outing where we choose what we wear but we aren't just a camp we're here all year round we're here for everybody come and learn with us that was a very good [Applause]

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