The purpose of providing a directory of businesses and organizations that are LGTBQ+ friendly is to ensure that everyone can have a comfortable experience when seeking out services, products or support, without fear of discrimination. With Queer YEG members, you have peace of mind that you will be treated with equality and respect.
Queer YEG is basically a reincarnation of the Edmonton Rainbow Business Association (ERBA), a non-profit organization that ran from 1998 to 2013. After leadership was lost, the organization was no longer able to collect membership fees for new or renewing members unless it became re-registered as a non-profit society. The website sat inactive for 3 years before the volunteer Web Designer (also a dedicated ERBA member) decided to take matters into her own hands.
Francine Mercier, the volunteer Web Designer of ERBA and the founder of Queer YEG, continued to respond to inquiries over those 3 years since the website was still accessible, but with the legal limitation of being unable to accept new members. After several attempts reaching out to the board members to revive ERBA, no action was taken, but the inquiries continued to stream in steadily. This made Francine realize that the demand for having such a directory continued to be high, so she wanted to ensure something was done about it. After waiting around long enough, she created Queer YEG in 2016, heavily inspired by ERBA, but as a free directory.
As a one-woman show continuing to maintain the website on her own time and dollar, she strongly feels that it's a worthwhile cause. Francine believes that Queer YEG will be a valuable resource for Edmonton's LGBTQ+ community for years to come, and hopes that more and more businesses (and people in general) will recognize the power of acceptance and being welcoming to all.