2 min

Qmunity is The Centre’s new name

New logo and website unveiled after year-long rebranding process

'We've been saying it behind closed doors for months and months and it's now up on walls and on awnings,' said Jennifer Breakspear, executive director of what is now called Qmunity, BC's Queer Resource Centre. Credit: Natasha Barsotti photo

 Qmunity, BC’s Queer Resource Centre, is the new name of The Centre operated by the Pacific Foundation for the Advancement of Minority Equality (PFAME) at Bute and Davie Sts.

The new name, a stylized pink Q logo that resembles a conversation bubble, and a new, interactive website were formally unveiled at a rebranding launch held Jun 15 at 1181 lounge on Davie St.

“We invite you to join us in Qmunity,” executive director Jennifer Breakspear announced to whoops and applause from the gathering of about 50 people.

“This is the culmination of something that we — in what has been The Centre — staff and volunteers and the board of directors have been working on for over a year,” Breakspear said.

“We’ve been saying it behind closed doors for months and months and it’s now up on walls and on awnings. It’s online, we’re on Twitter, we’re on Facebook, we’re on Flickr, heck, we’ll be on your home computer,” she said.

The organization’s board and volunteers determined that the name, image and look of The Centre wasn’t “getting out the message that we wanted to,” Breakspear told the crowd in explaining the rationale behind the rebranding.

“We really have a vision of growing into being the province’s resource centre,” she said.

“A lot of that led to us trying to figure out what we will be called,” she said, adding “that wasn’t something we could come up with ourselves.”

The organization turned that task over to Rethink, an advertising firm, which worked on the initiative pro bono, Breakspear said.

Speaking to Xtra West after the presentation, board co-chair Craig Maynard said the new name would make it clear that the organization is dedicated to all of BC’s queer communities.

“It’s not narrowly defined to one group. It’s all of the groups that we’re aware of so far, and probably those that are forthcoming as we learn more about ourselves.

“I think most people felt that the name that we had was rather lengthy, and in its effort to be inclusive was always managing to leave somebody out,” he said.

“I think obviously the letter Q is probably what you make of it. Its most common understanding is the word queer,” he explained.

Maynard acknowledged that some community members still see the word queer as having negative connotations, but said others are living the richness and fullness of the word today.

“I like the Q, I like the colour and the website I really like. I think it’s really impressive,” said Little Sister’s manager Janine Fuller.

“I’ve often looked at The Centre’s website over the years and just gone, ‘Wow, they really have to move with the times,’ and I think that website represents a move forward.”

“We saw the new awning coming in and I thought, ‘Finally, there’s a renewed sense of energy emanating from the building,’” said Dave Deveau, who was at the launch with his partner Cameron Mackenzie.

For his part, Mackenzie said he finds the new look is modern, quirky and representing “right now.”

“I think [the rebranding is] way overdue. I think it’s a wonderful step towards getting a new space for people to take us seriously in our endeavour to find a new space.”

Mackenzie said he identifies as queer even as he realizes that it still carries a stigma for some in the community. “It encapsulates all of us and we don’t have to get into the initials, the Morse Code of what it is to be queer.

“I’m a little concerned that when you just say community — the same way that The Centre was kind of generic — I’m a little concerned that community is a little generic because people aren’t going to be able to distinguish community from Qmunity,” he added.