Montreal Shamrocks welcome LGBTQI+ community with open arms
By John Harrington
On August 22, Montreal Shamrocks GAA club in Canada hosted a very successful Pride Games Day Tournament as part of their Healthy Club Project.
When they were planning the event the hope was to have three football teams and two hurling/camogie teams competing in a co-ed tournament.
But when an idea is a good one it tends to grow wings, and the Pride Games Day Tournament ended up being even bigger and better than they hoped.
“The registrations came in and we had 75 players registered for football and 44 players registered for hurling/camogie,” says Montreal Shamrocks Healthy Club Officer, Julie Morrice.
“Players from Les Patriots de Quebec travelled 3 hours to participate in the event. We ended up having a total of 5 football teams and 3 hurling/camogie teams. Each team was given a colour of the rainbow for the event. We had team Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple, Pink and white.
“The event was run as a fundraiser and all players made a minimum 5$ donation towards Project 10 in Montreal. Project 10 works to promote the personal, social, sexual and mental wellbeing of gay, lesbian, transgender, transsexual, two-spirited, intersexed and questioning youth and adults in Montreal.
“For the event we had invited a local LGBTQI+ Cheer Aerobics team 'À Pieds Levés' from the community to perform a half time show as well as do a demonstration for our GAA players. They put on a fantastic 20 min show and instructed our players in two dance routines. The day could not have gone better.”
Montreal Shamrocks have worked hard to be a truly inclusive GAA club and develop strong ties with the LGBTQI+ community in their city.
The Pride Games Day Tournament was just the latest example of the club welcoming everyone with open arms.
“As a club we felt that it was important to build stronger ties with the LGBTQI+ community and with Équipe Montréal,” says Morrice.
“Équipe Montréal is an association in Montreal that recognizes LGBTQI+ leagues and promotes them to the LBGTQI+ community so that athletes know what leagues they can join while feeling at ease and accepted. In recent years, the Montreal Shamrocks gained recognition with Équipe Montréal as being an LGBTQI+ friendly league.
“The Shamrocks are only 1 of 2 teams in Montreal to receive this recognition while not being an LGBTQI+ league itself.
“Not only did we receive this recognition, but we were also awarded Event of the Year in 2019 by Équipe Montréal for hosting the largest inclusive event in Montreal that included teams nationwide.”
Last year the GAA launched a manifesto which was summed up by the statement ‘GAA – Where We All Belong’.
That manifesto wasn’t a self-serving pat on the back, it was a call to arms, and one the Association is determined to live up to.
Montreal Shamrocks are a shining example of a GAA club who are doing just that.