The Camp of Six Colours will be like most other traditional camps: kids between the ages of 7 and 15 will bond while taking part in activities like canoeing, hiking, swimming, drama, and arts and crafts.
Where it differs is in its campers, who will be transgender, intersex and gender-creative or gender-nonconforming youth and their siblings. (Transgender means identifying as a gender different from the one assigned at birth and intersex is when someone is considered to have ambiguous genitalia by the medical profession.)
This is the first camp of its type in Quebec and it will run between Aug. 1 and 5. Camp coordinator Sophie Labelle says “those children need a space where they won't feel the pressure to conform to the gender they were assigned at birth.”
There will be gender-neutral bathrooms and special attention will be paid to the language used during activities. “Addressing children in ways that acknowledge their identity and experiences is the first step in creating a safe environment for them,” Labelle said. “So often, they are forced to educate people about their reality.”
The counsellors are parents of transgender, intersex and gender-creative children, or are members of the transgender community, Labelle added. All counsellors and volunteers have taken workshops or received training about the topic of transgenderism, intersexuality and gender-nonconformity.
“All we want is for the children to have a fantastic time, without having to worry about anything related to their body, identity or expression,” Labelle said.
The camp is the brainchild of Gender Creative Kids Canada, a Montreal-based organization that holds a bilingual support group for parents on the second Monday of every month.
For more information, visit gendercreativekids.ca.