Well, it looks like Pride hasn’t died after all. It remains to be seen how it’ll look this year, given how quickly it’s being pulled together and how the players involved will doubtless influence the outcome. Among other things, I will admit I’m a little concerned at how involved the business community seems to be – I trust the community groups, but I’m so not interested in seeing Pride turn into the commercial extravaganza it looks like in Toronto. So I hope that, for example, the fine souls behind the Lesbian Mothers’ Association serve to balance out the economic interests of the Gay Chamber of Commerce. Not that economic interests are necessarily bad; I don’t begrudge a gay business wanting to make some sales. But after all, this is supposed to be a day of community visibility and celebration, not an excuse to charge outrageous amounts of money for beer and t-shirts.
That being said, the timing is excellent: the new coalition is holding the community day and parade respectively on July 28 and 29, which is the weekend preceding the August 1-5 Divers/Cité gay cultural festival. Effectively what this means is that we’ll kick off the week with the community and parade stuff, have Monday and Tuesday to recover, and then plunge into five days of performances and craziness followed by another weekend of partying. Really, it’s more logical than pretty much any other Pride setup I’ve seen, even if it took a whole lot of political wrangling and an organizational split to make it happen. This way, the dates are still set up such that non-Montrealers can visit for a week and catch all the cool stuff, rather than having the community stuff in June two months before the performance stuff. It also means that we aren’t cramming all the hefty events and parties into a single weekend; this gives us two weekends with a little breathing time in the middle. Not to mention that, given the extra tourist traffic, wise community groups might make the most of the empty Monday and Tuesday to hold their own events – film screenings, lectures, whatever. (Anyone out there taking a hint? Let me know!) I’m pretty pleased, personally.
Anyway, the press release that I got was only in French, so for your reading pleasure, I have translated it into English below. (That there translation degree does come in handy sometimes.) A kind reader also sent me the link to an article that explains a bit more, if you’re curious.
ATTENTION LGBT COMMUNITY GROUPS
Montreal, Wednesday, May 16, 2007 – Équipe Montréal and the Conseil québécois des gais et lesbiennes would like to inform you that following the decision by Fierté Montréal to cease its activities, a group of people from the LGBT community and the business world have decided to take up the torch in organizing a parade and community day in Montreal. This year, the two events will take place respectively on July 28 and 29, 2007. The efforts undertaken are going well and seem very promising. A number of agreements both logistical and financial have already been reached (or are about to be signed). What we already know is that the community day will take place on July 28, since the SDC has obtained a street closure permit for that date, and that the parade will take place on July 29 starting at 1:00 p.m.
This project has received the support of, among others, the Ville-Marie Borough, the SDC du Village, the Quebec Gay Chamber of Commerce, BBCM, the Groupe d’intervention en violence conjugale chez les lesbiennes (GIVCL), the Centre communautaire des gais et lesbiennes de Montréal, the Coalition des transsexuelles et transsexuées du Québec, the Coalition jeunesse montréalaise de lutte à l’homophobie, Alter-Héros, the Lesbian Mothers’ Association, Gai-Écoute, the Fondation Émergence, the Association des lesbiennes et des gais sur internet, GRIS-Montréal, Séro-Zéro, the Association des motocyclistes gais du Québec, Équipe Montréal and the Conseil québécois des gais et lesbiennes.
Together, we firmly believe that the community day and parade must be saved. These festivities are essential both for the LGBT community and for the local tourist industry. It is important to remember that in addition to being major economic boons, these two events are an exceptional showcase for our community and our groups.
This is why we invite you to one of the following two information meetings:
– Wednesday, June 6, 2007 at 6:30 p.m.
– Thursday, June 7, 2007 at 6:30 p.m. (election of 2 community representatives)
Location: Centre communautaire Centre-Sud, 2093 de la Visitation, Montreal, near Beaudry metro