MONTREAL – The LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Quebec recognized the outreach efforts of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) toward the LGBT community with the awarding of its Phénicia Society Prize at a gala event on May 26.
Among CIJA’s initiatives was organizing a mission to Israel for 12 LGBT leaders one year ago.
“I am deeply grateful to the LGBT Chamber of Commerce, which honoured CIJA’s efforts to build bridges between the Jewish and LGBT communities,” stated CIJA Quebec co-chair Patrick Benaroche.
“At the award ceremony, [chamber president] Steve Foster noted that few communities support both their own LGBT members and build bridges with the LGBT community as much as the Jewish community.”
While CIJA has partnered with the LGBT community on numerous occasions over the years, Benaroche said the Israel trip was a “significant milestone.”
The delegation to Israel was accompanied by Myriam Azogui-Halbwax, CIJA’s associate director of community and university relations, and Carlos Godoy, president of its advisory committee on relations with the LGBT community.
“CIJA is proud to partner with the LGBT community to help make Quebec and Canada ever more open and dynamic societies that are respectful of the right to be different,” said Benaroche.
Among the dignitaries present were Quebec Economy Minister Dominique Anglade, Quebec Justice Minister Stéphanie Vallée and Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre.
In related news, CIJA applauded a bill to combat transphobia tabled by Vallée on May 31.
Bill 103, which aims to improve the situation of transgendered youth in particular, amends the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms to protect against discrimination based on gender identity and the Civil Code to make it easier for transgendered minors to change their names and sexual status.
“Transgendered people are still victims of social rejection, discrimination, intimidation and even violent acts,” stated Benaroche. “This bill constitutes an important advancement in the fight against transphobia, which like all other forms of discrimination… has no place in a pluralist society like Quebec.”