A YEAR OF RECORD-BREAKING PARTICIPATION AND FIRSTS FOR MONTRÉAL PRIDE
THE FIRST CANADA PRIDE 2017 A “TOTAL” SUCCESS!
Montréal, August 22, 2017 — According to Montréal Pride President and founder Éric Pineault, the first national edition of Canada Pride Montréal 2017 presented by TD in collaboration with Casino de Montréal, has exceeded all the expectations of its organisers. “We have experienced unexpected firsts and broken several records over these 11 days,” he said. “We wanted it to be a great celebration of openness and inclusion and it has been a total success in this regard!”
Advocating for trans migrants’ rights
Montréal Pride wishes to express its full support to trans migrant individuals in their fight to be able to change their legal name before they get Canadian citizenship. According to Éric Pineault, “this is a serious hindrance to their right to live with dignity, with legal documents that match with whom they truly are.” This is an issue we have raised over the past 11 days at our two conferences on LGBTTIQA2S rights, our panels and our press conferences. We also reiterate our mission to fight all forms of racism, sexism and LGBTphobias.
A Parade of Firsts
Éric Pineault cited the presence of the important contingent of Indigenous Peoples who led the parade, the rising number of participating political personalities including the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, accompanied by Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar — the first foreign head of government to take part in a Canadian Pride parade— and the record number of 17 Grand Marshals taking part. He also added the record participation of 270 groups in the parade with over 7,000 marchers, “almost doubled last year’s figure.” The hundreds of thousands of spectators also set a new record for what is already recognized as the largest parade in Quebec’s metropolis.
The New Principal Venue a Hit with Festival-goers
A first for 2017, the parc des Faubourgs became the festival’s main outdoor venue with 10 blockbuster shows presented on the TD stage. “Festival-goers in large numbers were quick to adopt the site which offers more capacity than place Émilie-Gamelin and enjoyed great moments with headliners such as Nelly Furtado, Gregory Charles, Marie-Mai, Mado, Edith Butler, Radio Radio, David Usher, Yann Perreau, Kim Richardson and the participants of RuPaul’s Drag Race. And also, with the internationally renowned line-up of DJs, » added Éric Pineault. The parc des Faubourgs was also home for the House of Pride, the exhibit on Canadian Prides, multiple food trucks as well as a play zone for kids. “The enthusiastic verdict of the public for this new site ensures we will now be returning there every year while maintaining the place Émilie-Gamelin site,” he said.
Safe Spaces for Young People and QTBIPoC
In response to requests from the communities, Montréal Pride set up safe spaces at the parc des Faubourgs for LGBT youth and for queer and/or trans Black Indigenous People of Colour with community facilitators on each site. “We are very pleased with the positive impact this initiative has had, offering inclusive sites that allowed young people —be they Indigenous, trans or People of Colour, to get acquainted in an environment where they could celebrate Pride with no worries,” said Éric Pineault.
A Record Number of Grand Marshals
Another first this year, Montréal Pride elected to recognize the contributions of no less than 17 Grand Marshals to the cause of sexual diversity and gender plurality. “We were fortunate to have persons so representative of the diversity of our communities accept our invitation and bear witness of their involvement in support of the cause,” he indicated. Moreover, a total of 96 Canadian Pride organisations came together in Montréal for this first ever edition of Canada Pride as both Montreal and Canada marked their 375th and 150th anniversaries.
Two Conferences on LGBTTIQA2S Rights Well Attended
Both co-chairpersons of the national LGBTTIQA2S Lives: Our Struggles, Our Victories, Our Challenges conference, McGill University researcher and social work professor, Bill Ryan and Mona Greenbaum, executive director of the LGBT Families Coalition, said they were impressed with the quality and level of participation. “It was the first time since 2006 that we were able to make an assessment and more importantly, determine promising avenues for the future,” Bill Ryan stated. The international conference Equality and Legality on LGBTQI issues in the Francophonie presented by the Quebec Government was also a success with some 200 delegates from 26 countries participating.
A Successful Sport Tournament
Festival-goers were invited for this special Canada edition to take part in a sport tournament with six disciplines highlighted and organised over two days on the opening weekend. Over 550 athletes from all regions of the country registered and took part in the events held at the Claude-Robillard Sports Center and Collège André-Grasset.
Community Day: A Showcase for Diversity
The August 19 Community Day was dedicated this year to a pioneer of Quebec’s trans persons’ movement, Marie-Marcelle Godbout who founded the Aide aux Trans du Québec support organisation. Eric Pineault expressed his pride with the record number of participating socio-cultural and sports organisations and groups who support the LGBTTIQA2S communities. “Year over year, we see an increase in the attendance of the public and the allies of our communities,” he indicated. “The 160 organisations present reached thousands of people who visited the stands on Amherst and Ste. Catherine Streets. The atmosphere is always festive and it allows for friendlier contacts while generating more awareness of diversity among the public.”
Montréal Pride President also stated the organisation has implemented several community initiatives to allow a maximum number of groups, associations and individuals to take part in as many of its activities as possible. The festival thus returned some $500,000 to the community through the waiving of fees for participation in the parade, the community day and the conferences, by hiring a team of liaison agents and by setting up safer spaces dedicated to LGBT youth, trans persons and people of color.
Recognition of Indigenous Peoples
An additional first in 2017: the decision by Canada Pride Montréal 2017 organisers to formally recognize the first inhabitants of the lands on which the event was held. “Not only was the parade led by an important contingent of Indigenous Peoples, but throughout the 11 days, before each event, we declared that the lands on which we were gathered are part of the traditional and unceded territories of the Kanien’keha: ka (Mohawks),” said Éric Pineault. “For the inauguration of the new parc des Faubourgs site, we called on a Mohawk elder for the traditional prayer. Indigenous Peoples’ representatives also officiated at the launch and the closing of the national conference on LGBTTIQA2S rights during which the concept of two-spiritedness was notably discussed. Finally, two of our Grand Marshals were from Indigenous Peoples communities.”
Éric Pineault also commented that the apologies presented this week by the Mayor of Montréal and the Chief of Police to the LGBTQ community for the raids of gay bars and clubs between 1960 and the 90s, were “welcome.” “This is an important act of obvious good will on the part of Messrs Coderre and Pichette,” he noted. “We must however continue to remain vigilant and see to it that our police officers are trained and sensitized for their interactions with the minorities within our LGBTQ communities. These persons must feel safe with the police.”
Ongoing and New Partnerships
“We wish to thank our partners from the public and private sectors who support this undertaking of celebrating Pride and building awareness for the cause of LGBTQ persons from here and everywhere, because they believe in it,” said Éric Pineault. Montréal Pride has been able to count on TD Bank Group as official presenter of the event for an eight consecutive year and on the continuing commitment of VIAGRA as official presenter of the Parade. Organisers were also happy with their first collaboration with Casino de Montréal, presenter of the place Émilie-Gamelin’s stage for the next three years. Among other ongoing partners, they noted the sustained support of Canadian Heritage, the Quebec Government, the City of Montréal, Fido, Tourism Montréal, SiriusXM Canada, The Society for the Celebration of Montréal’s 375th Anniversary, Barefoot Wine & Bubbly, Coors Light, Quebecor and 24H.
Montréal Pride in 2018: August 9 to19!
The 2018 edition of the Montréal Pride festival will also take place over 11 days next year. The next celebration of Canada Pride is slated for 2020 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. This was announced by Éric Pineault who added that “Pride is still necessary and more to the point, still pertinent. Make no mistake, in the context of rising extremism, intolerance and repression, advocating on behalf of LGBTTIQ2S communities — be they local or from around the world—still has its place. And to that end, we will be back August 9 to 19, 2018,”he said.
About Montréal Pride
Founded in 2007 at the initiative of Montréal’s LGBTQ communities, Montréal Pride is dedicated to promoting LGBTQ rights and celebrates their cultural wealth and social advances. The largest gathering of the communities of sexual diversity and gender plurality in the francophone world, Montréal Pride works locally day-to-day while serving as a beacon of hope for people around the world living in LGBTQ-hostile areas.
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