We are pleased to announce the recipient for the Read + Co’s annual Read + Seed program for 2023 is Qmunity, a non-profit organization based in Vancouver, BC, that works to improve queer, trans, and Two-Spirit lives. They provide a safer space for 2SLGBTQIA+ people and their allies to fully self-express while feeling welcome and included. Their building serves as a catalyst for community initiatives and collective strength.
These recent years we’ve seen 2SLGBTQIA+ communities face a hostile backlash in Canada and around the world. This moral panic has been intensely focussed on trans and gender queer folk and their allies, including our beloved booksellers. We’ve seen anti-LGBT legislation, book banning, school policies, bathroom restrictions, bans against trans athletes, limits on access to gender-affirming care, all alongside a rise in anti-LGBT hate crimes, online threats and harassment, vandalism, and protests.
Of particular concern to us is the alarming increase in attempts to ban or limit access to books with diverse voices and stories, many of which provide critical information to LGBT youth. The fight to keep these books is being fought by parents, teachers, LGBT community members, and allies. Staff in public and school libraries have been at the forefront, often facing harassment in the workplace and threats of defunding from city councils. And some bookstores have experienced their own backlash against Pride displays both in-person and online.
Our donation will be put towards providing free professional counselling, drop-ins for youth, peer-facilitated groups, education and training opportunities, and support to aging members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ communities in Vancouver, where many of our partner booksellers are located.