Montreal

Montreal Pride criticized for not bringing marginalized groups to the centre

Members of the LGBT community who consider themselves marginalized want to see a more inclusive Montreal Pride, while organizers say they are doing everything they can to welcome diversity.

Organizers actively working to include various groups, critics say structural change is needed

Montreal Pride organizers say there are doing all they can to make the festival inclusive but some members of the LGBTQ community say they still feel left out.

Members of the LGBTQ community who consider themselves marginalized want to see a more inclusive Montreal Pride, while organizers say they are doing everything they can to welcome diversity.

Kama La Mackerel told CBC Montreal's Daybreak that as a transgender black womanshe doesn't feel welcomed at Pride.

"I think the first time I went, I thought Pride would be the space for me, where as a migrant, as a trans person, as a person of colour, I would find my space. I would find my people," La Mackerel said.

"That wasn't my experience."

This year, the group Arc-en-ciel d'Afrique, which advocates for greater understanding and the inclusion of LGBTQ people of African and Caribbean origin into Quebec society, will be opening Pride 2016's main event, the parade.

La Mackerel thinks it's a good first step.

"But for me, to change the structure of pride, the challenge will be bringing marginalized groups to the centre. Not just, 'Oh, we have an opening float,'" she said.

Organizers take strides

Jean-Sébastien Boudreault, vice president of Pride Montreal, said the organization is doing everything it can to include and support marginalized members of the community.

He said this year they sent out a call from projects from different community groups and got 14 suggestions — all of which are in this year's Pride.

"They told us what they wanted to see and we made it happen. We didn't say 'no' to anything," Boudreault said.

He added that in November they will be holding a consultation on how to give more of a spotlight to minority groups.

"We can open our doors as wide as possible, if people won't come in, I'm not going to go out there and force them to be a part of Pride," Boudreault said.  

La Mackerel said these initiatives are a great first step but that "opening the door is not enough."

"If you open the door, and I walk through the door, and then I experience racism … there is a reason why if you're marginalized and the doors are open you don't show up."

The 2016 Pride Parade will take place Aug. 14 starting at 1 p.m.

With files from CBC Montreal's Daybreak

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