Montrealers take part in Pride march to highlight demands of 2SLGBTQ community and beyond
Toned-down flagship event included calls for reconciliation with Indigenous, BIPOC communities
A stream of rainbow-clad people marched through the streets of downtown Montreal Sunday in this year's edition of Montréal Pride's flagship event, which took the form of a politically-charged march.
Revelries were toned down this year in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with no convoy of grand floats or vehicles.
Instead of the traditional parade, which was cancelled last year, Montrealers took to the streets to advocate for the rights of 2SLGBTQ people and other marginalized communities.
Moe Hamandi, vice president of Montréal Pride, spoke with CBC News before the march kicked off at 1 p.m. from Jeanne-Mance park.
"We're very, very, very excited to march with people, with the community and to say it loudly, 'we have rights and we have vindication,'" they said.
Hamandi said the march is about coming together and "stopping discrimination and violence."
Political and social demands took centre stage at the event, with attendees marching to fight against violence toward sexually- and gender-diverse communities, to end injustices and discrimination toward BIPOC communities and to raise awareness about Indigenous issues and reconciliation efforts.
"Just doing a march and being with communities will help us and help our partners to know more about them and to listen to them," Hamandi said.
The march took off from Jeanne-Mance Park on the mountain, with people waving flags as they walked three and a half kilometres through the city to end in the Village on Sainte-Catherine Street. The march closes off the week-long festivities in the 38th edition of Montréal Pride.
Inclusivity above all else
Carben Hamilton, who attended the march, said although pride is often seen as a party, there is still tons of work left to be done in society regarding 2SLGBTQ people.
"For me, particularly as a non-binary person, one of the struggles is feeling as if we don't have space to occupy in society and that we're somehow freaks or different."
To be in what Hamilton called a queer-dominated community space after months of COVID-19 lockdowns brings a new atmosphere to pride this year, they said.
"I feel like this year there's a lot more build-up that's being let out," they said, adding that getting to contribute to the dialogue in creating more space for 2SLGBTQ people and having their voice heard again is significant.
Jacklyn Victor, another participant of the march, said the event is an essential act of solidarity.
"Seeing how polarized the world is still ... it's important to keep doing this to show that we're here, we're important, we have things to say and that we deserve a seat at the table just as much as everyone else."
Cedric Joseph, a senior program coordinator with non-profit organization for youths LOVE Quebec (Leave Out ViolencE), says it's important that every group and culture, big and small, knows that people are rallying behind them.
"The more that we can come out and support the different communities ... just to create a safe space and help people feel included into the communities, into our cultures and into our society, I think that's very important going into the future."
With files from Kwabena Oduro