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Edmonton queer diversity group hosts social mixer

March 26 event aims to strengthen bonds through networking, support

As Edmonton continues to grow, so too does the diversity of the city’s queer community. In an effort to bring together queers of different backgrounds, a relatively new group, the Diversity of Identity and Acceptance of All Minds (DIAM), is hosting a social mixer.

Connections 2009, taking place at Play nightclub, promises to introduce attendees to Edmonton’s queer and queer-friendly community groups, says event organizer and DIAM co-founder Aisha Cruz.

The group’s mandate is to focus on the realities of being queer and part of religious, gender, class, ethnic or cultural group. As a lesbian and a second generation Canadian whose family still has strong ties to its Filipino roots, Cruz says she felt the need for a group like DIAM. “We couldn’t find ourselves represented in the queer community,” she says, adding that queer issues weren’t often brought up at home either. “So we came together and continue to illuminate for each other what it is to be gay and ourselves.”

The group has been busy over the last six months holding regular meetings, getting the word out, hosting film nights and planning upcoming events.

Cruz hopes the evening will offer a chance for queers and groups to network. “We are an interlocking unit,” says Cruz of the various groups that exist in Edmonton, “and as a whole we can achieve more than what we could possibly accomplish if we functioned as independent units. Our strength is in our numbers and diversity.”

This event is not the first of its kind. Last year the Pride Centre of Edmonton hosted the Pink Tank, at which representatives from most of the city’s queer groups and organizations came together. The Pride Centre will once again host Pink Tank on May 2.

Connections 2009 will be a little different. While people can expect to gain information about each group, Cruz says that people should come ready to play. “People can expect to have fun with our community building games,” says Cruz. “It is always exciting to see how great minds from a community think!”

Among the groups already confirmed are the Pride Centre of Edmonton, HIV Edmonton, Exposure: Edmonton’s Queer Arts and Culture Festival, the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services, Womanspace and Team Edmonton. Individuals are welcome too, says Cruz.