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Radical queer presence

New political collective hatches at U of O campus

They came without berets, balaclavas or megaphones. In fact they were so quiet and unobtrusive that it was hard to believe that Georgeanne Blue and Pat Mooney were the representatives of the radically queer not-so-student group Queer fAction. 
 
Queer fAction is a grassroots group based out of the University of Ottawa, comprised mostly of students, although Blue and Mooney stress that it is intended to be a community group rather than a student group. Queer fAction’s basis of unity proclaims that all queers should be visible within their communities, stand in solidarity with other oppressed groups, take non-violent action, be sex positive and support sexual health. 
 
They decry racism, sexism, ableism, xenophobia, homophobia, capitalism, classism, patriarchy and heterosexism, to name a few, within queer communities and the community-at-large. 
 
Queer fAction is an action group nestled under the umbrella of the Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG). OPIRG provides the group with resources — meeting spaces, a small operating budget, technical equipment and opportunities to network with communities of resistance. The latter particularly appeals to Queer fAction — their connection to OPIRG allows them access to mailing lists, event advertising and other student activists. 
 
“Part of what we want is to bring queer presence to radical spaces and radical presence to queer spaces,” says Mooney.
 
The group came to be in fall 2008 when a number of University of Ottawa students, frustrated at the apolitical stance of the school’s Pride Centre, got together to form a visible queer force on campus. 
 
“We wanted to have a politically-queer group,” says Mooney. “More particularly, a radically-queer group to deal with the political issues we had around queer issues and issues within the queer community.”
 
Queer fAction’s official cumming out party took place at SAW Gallery on Oct 2. The party was the group’s first event, which had a two-fold aim — to reclaim part of queer history by asking guests to flag at the party using the queer hanky code and to fire up enthusiasm and knowledge about Queer fAction and its anti-oppression stance.
 
“We are not just talking about queer issues; we are talking about solidarity across all oppressions,” says Blue. “If we are fighting homophobia or gender oppression or anything that is directly queer, we [are not okay] with fighting [in ways that enforce] other types of oppression like racism and classism.”