Pride Parade caps off successful Fierté week, brings out politicians
Organizers were already happy with how things were going when Fierté Montréal’s culminating Pride Parade took to the streets yesterday, Sunday, Aug 19. Reuniting all of the community’s main LGBT groups, as well as an ad-hoc “red square” contingent, the 2.5-hour procession was watched by a crowd of thousands from all over Canada and abroad.
The meeting point was once again the corner of Guy and René-Lévesque at 1pm. Motorcyclists were the customary leaders of the parade, followed by guests of honour soccer player David Testo and French activist Jean-Luc Romero, who also spoke at Fierté’s human rights mini-conference last week. After them, came the parade’s special guests, anti-homophobia research Chair Line Chamberland, artist Kat Coric, and activist Julie-Maude Beauchesne.
Since it’s election season, Québec’s main political parties were out to wave and shake hands. Liberal cabinet ministers Jean-Marc Fournier and Marguerite Blais, Village PQ candidate Jacques Daniel Breton, the CAQ’s corruption whistle-blower Jacques Duchesneau all came out, as well as Québec Solidaire’s Amir Khadir and Manon Massé.
Federal politicians took the opportunity to sell face under mostly sunny skies, with NDP leader and Outremont MP Thomas Mulcair, NDP MPs Hélène Laverdière, Laurin Liu, and NDP deputy leader and out lesbian Libby Davies flagging orange. A pink-shirted Justin Trudeau (Liberal) was seen marching with supporters (right in front of Mr. Khadir). Montréal Mayor Gérald Tremblay and Vision Montréal’s Louise Harel were also in attendance.
The requisite floats of half-naked men and women with club music blasting were out in spades, not to be outshone by the numerous community groups, such as HELEM, the Association de transsexuel(le)s du Québec and the contingent GLBT contre la hausse des frais de scolarité and against police brutality (i.e. the red squares, accompanied by members of Pervers/cité and the P!NK BLOC).
After the parade wound up at Place Émilie-Gamelin, the music continued with a thumping T-Dance (and performance by RuPaul’s Drag Race alum Shangela), to tie up this year’s edition of Fierté Montréal. “I don’t know why, but this year was magical! When you feel like your work (which is practically a calling) is useful, when you see that people are moved by it and people come up and thank you, well, your heart just wants to burst with love!” exclaimed Fierté president Éric Pineault on the event’s Facebook page.