United Colours: Fierté Montréal kicks off Aug 13
For its sixth edition, the organizers of Québec’s largest LGBT event wanted to reunite the family, in spite of our quarrels and differences. Billed as being particularly political, this Pride 2012 is reaching out further than ever before. Get ready to see Montréal draped in the many colours of the rainbow flag (and some red squares).
- Pride Parade caps off successful Fierté week, brings out politicians
- DJ Alberto: Hombre in the House
- Special Laws
With a hint of sarcasm, one might be tempted to dub this celebration “United Colours of Pride Montréal”. But all jokes aside, it is rare to see an LGBT event in Montréal reaching out to every part of the community.
Éric Pineault and Jean-Sébastien Boudreault are eager to please. “Good organizers are logically good diplomats,” explain the two men. “We don’t have a choice. There is nothing quite as diverse as the LGBT community. For some, Pride has to maintain its political mandate. For others, it’s about culture and the festive side.”
Their team is very familiar with past criticisms of Pride Montréal’s first five editions (notably in the pages of our sister magazine, Etre). Not political enough? “This year, Pride is more political than ever,” replies Pineault.
The program, which for the first time will include mini-conferences on human rights, reflects this evolution. Spokesperson for Pride Montréal 2012 (alongside soccer player David Testo, academic Line Chamberland, artist Kat Coric, trans activist Julie-Maude Beauchesne, and television host Jasmin Roy), French politician Jean-Luc Roméro, one of the few openly-gay politicians in his country, explains that it was the opportunity to be able to speak, over the course of the week-long event, about stigmatization and the battles that are still to be fought in the fight against HIV/AIDS, that convinced him to accept the organizers’ invitation.
Members of the leather community won’t want to miss Andrea Zanin at the LGBT Rights Conference Thurs Aug. 16 at 6:30pm (335 de Maisonneuv Est). Zanin’s will be the only presentation made in English during the two-night conference.
LGBT people who wish to show their support for the students on strike will also have their place at pride at the parade taking place on August 19 (though not at the front of the Pride parade as some had hoped for). Student leader Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, who has become an icon for some gays, who admire him as much for his ideas as for his boyish good looks, will be there. See GLBT contre la hausse for their gathering point, including members of Pervers/cité and writers for 2B, Etre, Entre Elles and RG.
You can also expect to see some Québec Liberals in the parade, who also participated last year, as well as PQ leader Pauline Marois. Seeing as an election has just been called, some might wonder if we should be worried about these politicians using the event for political opportunism? According to Éric Pineault, there is no need to worry. He sees their presence at the parade as “the possibility of having informal conversations with political personalities as well as the opportunity to give a positive image of Pride,” though the organizers did express some disappointment at the meagre resources offered by the city of Montréal and the government of Québec (Harper’s federal government gave nothing).
“Our Flag, our Pride”
While taking time to answer some of the tougher questions, the Fierté Montréal Pride team hopes to put the emphasis on the events that rally people together with this year’s theme: “Our Flag, our Pride”.
This symbol of the fight for LGBT rights and recognition throughout the world “is not visible enough [in Québec], even in the Village,” says Éric Pineault, who contacted businesses in the Village so that the flag would be more visible. “This is how we raise awareness. There are so many things that we take for granted,” he adds.
From August 13 to 19, all of the colours of the rainbow will be represented. Montréal Pride’s official Lesbien March will be held on August 18 at 11am, on Sainte-Catherine Street, from Champlain to Place Émilie-Gamelin (not to be confused with the Radical Dyke March being held Aug 14). Organizers decided to make the march relatively short since it will be a “first experiment.” “We have always had events for women, but it was difficult to reach the lesbian community. This year, we found the right people to change that,” says Pineault.
The photo exhibit Transgeria will also be coming back to Montréal for Pride. LGBT parents will have a place to take their kids on Kids Day on August 16 during the day at Parc Émilie-Gamelin, with inflatable games, guest artists, face painting and more. Even teens will have their space at the party with the Queer Prom on August 16.
Culture will also be a big feature of the week-long event, with the Café des Arts back for the fourth year. For nighttime events, Arc-en-ciel d’Afrique is on board this year for the Black & White Party which will be held for the first time at the Hôtel des Gouverneurs Aug 17. If you can afford it (and you don’t mind being a wreck for the parade the next day), check out the Platinum Party at the Marché Bonsecours Sat. Aug 18 with DJs Alberto, Danny Verde, and Joe Gauthreaux.
See you at the parade!
For more information: fiertemontrealpride.com