Over the past few weeks, I’ve received dozens of phone calls, e-mails and in-person questions from people wanting to know what the heck is up with Pride this year. I find this particularly funny because in all my years of queer organizing in Montreal, I have never played any part in managing our Pride festivities. Even funnier, though, the fine folks from Célébrations LGBTA decided they should let me know what was up too, so it worked out that I have had information to give the people who were asking. It’s so odd how these things work out…
Anyway, so in addition to playing the role of unofficial point de chute, I’ve now had the pleasure and privilege of doing the official version. Last week I got to yak with the very cheery and energetic Éric Pineault, president of Célébrations LGBTA, and put together an article for the Mirror that sums up what they’re doing – specifically, this coming weekend’s community day and parade. Plus, I got to do another short piece about the kick-off of Divers/Cité on Wednesday, August 1, which will be followed up by a few more articles in next week’s paper covering some neat queer stuff both related and unrelated to the D/C festivities – I’ll post the links when those ones are published.
Y’know, I’m always happy about Pride as a general thing. I like the official glitzy events (well, some of them), I like the underground events, I like the house parties, I like the scores of hotties who show up to our proud city and make it even sexier than it already is, and I most definitely like having the opportunity to enjoy excessive amounts of sleep deprivation and dehydration and the occasional sunburn in service to the organizations I volunteer with all year. This is all kind of a given. But it’s even cooler when the people organizing the whole thing are so inspired and so interested in commemorating the rich history of queer activism while creating spaces for that activism to flourish today. Éric Pineault has a lot of good shit to say, and the activities the new group has organized really reflect a consciousness of and respect for our history. It makes me all wiggly. Add the Divers/Cité photo retrospective covering ten years of drag shows and I’m in historical heaven.
Anyway, I’m totally not interested in taking sides in the whole politicky thing that’s been going on between Divers/Cité and Célébrations LGBTA. As far as I’m concerned, the way things are working out this year, I get the chance to do all my activisty stuff this coming weekend at the Célébrations events (community day and the parade), and then I get to chill and enjoy the Divers/Cité festivities for a week after that. Plus, I’ll surely be checking out a few of the hip happenings put on by Pervers/Cité, the radical queer response to the commercialization of Pride.
Lest you get your political panties in a knot, allow me to point out that I am definitely not the only person in this town who’s planning to march in a parade run by one organization, catch a couple of huge stage shows put on by another, and attend grassroots events coordinated by a third… none of which particularly like or agree with one another’s approach. I suppose if you really wanted to, you could see that as a bad thing. But really, when a single city has three different groups putting on three entire ranges of activities to celebrate queerness, not to mention all the little things that individuals and community groups are setting up to complement the big events (myself included)… well, the last fucking thing I’m going to do is start complaining. There are times in life where it’s important to just sit back and count your blessings, and this is one of ’em.