Internship Spotlight: Coves Larose - Fondation Émergence

I am a soon-to-be second-year student that chose a major in Gender, Feminist, Social Justice
Studies and a double minor in Linguistics and Indigenous Studies. I recognize that the internship I undertook was offered by the McGill department of Quebec studies and I am interested in this field as well. In fact, I will pursue classes that correspond to this field during the following semesters. I am a lover of sports, arts and diversity. I am a member of the LGBTQ+ community as I am non-binary and queer and I haven’t had many chances to connect with other members of this community throughout my life. This summer I had the honour of working at Fondaton Émergence in Montreal. With this internship, I was hoping to connect with my community and learn about the emerging challenges it faces today and faced in the past. I wanted to learn how to advocate for individuals in an effective and safe way. Fondation Émergence is a non-profit community organization whose goal is to raise the awareness of the general public about the new challenges of the LGBTQ+ community. They offer many programs which provide a safe space for people with little to no knowledge about the LGBTQ+ community to ask questions and learn how to help and respect members of this community. These programs are offered in different workplaces and institutions so as to increase the inclusivity of the workplace and, for instance, retirement homes and nursing homes.

During my internship, I was responsible for many little projects as the month of May is the Foundation’s busiest month of the year. The Montreal organization founded, in 2003, the international day against homophobia and transphobia. Many events then take place during that month. We send out informational letters to all federal and provincial ministers to allow them to support the event, we send out the many online orders we receive for awareness raising materials, we also organize an award ceremony to highlight the efforts of inclusivity and advocacy against homophobia and transphobia of certain individuals in the public eye. Personally, I was in charge of shipping most of the orders we received online, completing a list of contacts o hundreds of international LGBT organizations that we would reach out to in order to advertise the international ay against homophobia and transphobia, I prepared material for networking events and awareness-raising events that occurred across the province and I prepared and helped carry out the award ceremony that occurred June 8th. For this ceremony, I compiled all the confirmed guests onto a single list containing all their contact information, I helped set up the venue, the zoom conference for the people who couldn’t be there physically, the greeting area, I welcomed guests and operated the slide show during the hosted portion of the evening.

One of my most important responsibilities was to conduct research for a new campaign that will be launched in the coming months. I was in charge of creating a draft for a pamphlet about “ending conversion therapy” since it has officially been made illegal in Canada December 2021 (very late). I was satisfied with my work thanks to my coworkers that found my research impressive and offered me further research opportunities.

Another highlight of my internship is when I was able to contribute further to the multimedia project on conversion therapy. The project is composed of many elements, including a short film in which there will be testimonies from individuals who have suffered through conversion therapy. I was able to contribute as a friend of mine has experienced such a thing and was happy when I asked her if she would like to contribute to the campaign. Additionally, a highlight of my internship was the exceptional work environment. I got along wonderfully with my coworker Brigitte and she opened my eyes to many challenges that trans individuals face as she transitioned in 2014, at the age of 54. Lastly, a highlight that may not be fully relevant to the internship itself was the location of the Foundation. I loved making my ay to work on my bike every morning and I was very grateful that the internship was not remote as the pandemic has shown that I work best when on site.

The only challenges I faced during this internship were staying awake during the almost 12-hour workday leading up to the award ceremony while everyone was nervous, and improving my skills when it comes to using Excel. I must admit, I am now much better at navigating this platform.

I will not be receiving academic credit for this internship nor do I need to write a research paper.

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