95. Queer Skate Toronto

March 31, 2023
March 31, 2023 Will Mackie

Welcome back to another round of Comacan questions, today we are joined by a guest from Toronto who we haven’t personally met yet but we have seen their posts/events shared online by some skateboarders in our community. They are a guest that we plan on attending their events this year but we will let them explain who they are and what they do! Please enjoy this week’s interview with Queer Skate Toronto.

What exactly is Queer Skate Toronto?
Queer Skate Toronto (QST) is a collective of queer and allied skaters whose objective is to create safe spaces for the queer community to explore and revel in the world of skateboarding and skate culture. We host monthly skate jams at various skate parks as well as host special events throughout the summer.

What inspired the creation of QST?
QST was born out of my personal desire to find more skateboarders who shared my identity. Although I had a great group of women to skate with, I yearned for the opportunity to skate with my queer community. I knew there were others out there, but it seemed like everyone was skating alone. That’s when I decided to start organizing queer skate sessions and QST was born. It’s amazing to see how our community has grown and flourished since those early days!

How does QST get involved in the community?
At QST, we think it’s important to get involved in our community. That’s why we offer free skateboarding lessons at our jams and provide opportunities for folks in the queer skateboarding community to volunteer or get paid work when we can.
But it’s not just about us – we want to give back too! That’s why we actively fundraise and donate to local indigenous organizations. We also collect food donations at each jam and distribute them to Community Fridges Toronto fridges/pantries. We love being able to support other communities and make a positive impact wherever we can!
Photo by: Norm Reynolds

How can people keep up to date with QST?
The best way to keep up to date is by following the Instagram, @queerskatetoronto or to visit our website www.queerskatetoronto.com

What does skateboarding mean to you personally and to QST as a whole?
Skateboarding, to me, is a means of expression. It’s not just a hobby, it’s a whole culture. From the community to the industry, and everything in between, skateboarding offers the opportunity for me to express myself through the tricks I choose to learn, the clothes I wear and even the skate videos I choose to watch. Skateboarding also offers me a safe haven. Skateboarding itself offers an escape from my own head. And the skateboard community (specifically the queer skate community) is always somewhere I can turn to find a friendly face.

Skateboarding to QST is community. QST’s aim is to share skateboarding and provide the opportunity for people to learn and enjoy skateboarding, but what we really aim to do is open the door to the world of skateboarding to those who may have not had the opportunity to experience it. As skateboarders, we want to show our queer community that skateboarding is for them.

Photo by: Chantal Garcia

Any plans for 2023?
2023 for QST is going to be a big year! We have a full summer of jams planned, plus some skate culture workshops where we’ll teach the basics of skate photography, filming and zine making. We’re looking to offer some deep dives into the skateboarding world for our QST community summer It’s gonna be a good one!

What would you like for people to know about QST?
QST is a zero-profit collective. The organizers don’t pay themselves. We do our best to pay our instructors, photographers, filmers and anyone who has a specialized skill to offer. The events we host are fully supported by either the organizers themselves or through donations from the skate community/industry. We believe in the importance of community-driven initiatives and we are always looking for ways to give back to other communities while making space for ourselves.
Photo by: Emanuele Barbier
Anyone you’d like to thank?
Skateboarding! Where would we be without it!?
I’d also like to take this opportunity to name drop some key supporting humans of QST. Dana Alwazani, Lyndsey Westfall, Annie Guglia, Yash Preswalla, Pascal from Letat Skateboards, Julie from Brockton Haunt, Ju Stein, Yumi Lee, Daria Dayle and all of the QST volunteers. Without that group of people I’m not sure QST would be what it is today!