Defending the People of the Sexual and Gender Diversity’s Rights, 30 Years After the Police Raid of the Sex Garage Party
Montréal, August 4, 2020 – Montréal Pride Festival, presented by TD, reiterates that the full recognition of the sexual and gender diversity (SGD) people’s rights and freedoms is still not achieved, pointing out that merely 30 years ago, the violent police raid at the Sex Garage party became the “Stonewall of Montréal”. The organization unveiled this morning the political and social demands that will be made during the 360 Edition of the festival.
On the night of July 14, thirty years ago, one of the most violent police raids took place at the Sex Garage party, an inclusive evening organized clandestinely to avoid discrimination. Although accustomed to this type of police raid, our communities rose up in the face of extreme brutality experienced that night. Thus, the protest movement was organized on July 15 in the Village, resulting in a peaceful kiss-in on July 16 in front of the police station in downtown Montréal. However, the police team once again reacted with violence, brutally scattering the crowd and arresting several people.
Thirty years later, at a time when the world situation is exceptionally fragile, Montréal Pride intends to carry and encourage people to react to the following demands:
Fully Recognize the Identity of All Trans and Non-binary People Regardless of Age, Citizenship or Parental Status.
In Canada, gender identity and expression are protected by individual liberty laws. Trans and non-binary migrant minors and people with children are still discriminated against by colonial and oppressive laws. Trans and non-binary people have the full right to determine their own gender identity and expression in order to live full and fulfilling lives.
Therefore, Montréal Pride asks:
- The Québec Government to amend the Civil Code to allow trans people living in Québec to change their names on official documents.
- Corporations, governments and all other organizations to be aware of the trauma trans people suffer when confronted with their past identities.
- We call on the Québec Government to allow trans parents the right to have their true identities reflected on the birth certificates of their children.
Let’s Stop Mutilating the Bodies of Intersex People.
Montréal Pride reiterates, as do the United Nations (UN), that intersex children are perfect as they are and urges the international medical community to put an end to the subjecting of intersex people to unnecessary practices.
Montréal Pride reminds us that the measures to be taken are clear:
- End non-consensual mutilation, sterilization and hormone treatment on intersex people whatever their age, that is the respect of their physical integrity;
- Comprehensive information for intersex persons and their immediate circle, including access to their medical file;
- Training of all personnel (healthcare, social, legal, etc.) in contact with intersex people of any age and their immediate circle;
- Deletion of sex or gender reference in civil status certificates, i.e. respect of the right for self-determination of persons and adoption of legislation to enable changes to birth certificates and other official documents.
Let’s Respond to the Call to Action to Ensure Justice for All Black Communities.
We recognize that our society is rooted in colonialism, racism and oppression, that good intentions are not enough, and that apologies are worthless without change and restorative justice.
One lesson to be learned from this pandemic is that it’s possible for the government, for institutions and for us as individuals to act collectively and quickly to preserve lives. Anti-black racism also exists in our sexual and gender diversity communities and we need to recognize it in order to properly put an end to it.
Montréal Pride will continue initiatives it has undertaken in this regard:
- Internal anti-oppression training and awareness in order to decolonize spaces.
- Implementation of platforms and resources promoting voices of the community.
- Creation of benevolent and exclusive spaces for communities.
- Creation of a new inclusion policy.
While reflection and introspection are beneficial for situations such as these, Montréal Pride wishes to encourage and nurture reflection on police funding in Québec. Indeed, we believe that an effort must be made on exploring alternatives for redirecting this funding in order to better support vulnerable communities, including people of the sexual and gender diversity.
Let’s Be Visible to Those Who Can’t!
Montréal Pride calls for an end to state-sponsored LGBTQ+ phobias around the world. No one should have to face jail, violence or death for who they are or whom they love. We call on the Canadian government to ensure its foreign policy includes standing up for the rights of LGBTQ+ people, especially in countries with state-sponsored homophobia and transphobia.
Let’s Recognize, Act and Become Better Allies in Supporting the Cause of Missing and Murdered Women, Girls and Two-Spirit Indigenous People.
Since colonial times to the atrocities of residential schools, what has happened and is still happening to indigenous people in Canada amounts to genocide. We support and want to reiterate all the calls for justice contained in the final report of the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, including:
- Table and implement a National Action Plan to address problems outlined in the report.
- Pursue prioritization and resourcing of the measures required to eliminate the social, economic, cultural, and political marginalization of Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people when developing budgets and determining government activities and priorities.
- Take all necessary measures to prevent, investigate, bring to justice and compensate for violence against First Nations and indigenous women, girls, and any and all people of the sexual and gender diversity.
- Establish a National Indigenous and Human Rights Ombudsperson, with authority in all jurisdictions, and to establish a National Indigenous and Human Rights Tribunal.
Pandemic, Isolation and Discrimination
Montréal Pride wishes to draw attention to the consequences of the pandemic on the health of the people of the sexual and gender diversity. The pandemic has had a negative impact on many individuals, particularly with regards to isolation and increased discrimination. For many of us, withdrawal from the supportive environment, often referred to as the “chosen family”, has greatly contributed to social isolation and loneliness. The influx of discrimination propagated on social media, which we use more frequently during these times feeds hatred towards our communities on a daily basis. Also, the recent whistleblower movement sheds light on situations where victims in our communities are heavily represented.
“For the Montréal Pride Festival 360 Edition, we invite the population to learn more about the political demands put forward this year and to see how they can contribute to them. However, in these difficult and extraordinary times we also wish for everyone in our communities to take care of themselves, to listen to their needs and, above all, not hesitate to refer helping resources when needed. Our festival will be a great message of love and compassion for our peers. Despite adversity, we stand together with Pride!” said Éric Pineault, founding president of the festival.
About the Montréal Pride Festival
Since 2007, at the initiative of Montréal’s LGBTQ+ communities, the Montréal Pride Festival has been promoting their rights and celebrating their cultural richness and social advances. The largest gathering of the communities of sexual and gender diversity (SGD) in the Francophone world works locally on a daily basis while serving as a beacon of hope for people living in LGBTQ+ hostile regions of the globe. In 2019, the festival generated a total attendance of 3.4 million admissions. In 2020, the festivities will be held from August 10 to 16. More information is available on the web page, the Facebook page, as well as Twitter and Instagram accounts.
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