Montreal

As SQ fly pride flag outside headquarters for first time, advocate calls for 'concrete actions'

With pride festivities underway in downtown Montreal, the Sûreté du Québec has put up a pride flag outside their Parthenais Street headquarters for the first time. 

'I think it obviously has to go further than the simple display of an LGBT flag,' support worker says

Provincial police says it will be displaying the flag every year from now on. (Dave St-Amant/CBC)

With pride festivities underway in Montreal, the Sûreté du Québec has put up a pride flag outside their Parthenais Street headquarters for the first time.

"The provincial police want to support the LGBTQ+ community and promote an inclusive and open working environment," said SQ spokesperson Marie-Michèle Moore.

Moore said the flag will stay up until Aug. 18, when the Montreal Pride Festival ends.

The flag was requested by the SQ's LGBTQ+ committee, which was set up last June. The committee is made up of three civilians and three officers.

'It has to go further'

Pascal Vaillancourt, the director general of Interligne, a support line for the LGBTQ+ community, said the flag is a step in the right direction, but stressed symbolism isn't enough.

"It clearly demonstrates that the employer is open to the fact that there are LGBT people in the workplace," he said.

Vaillancourt believes that having the flag outside the station can also help members of the LGBTQ+ community to trust police officers more and he would like to see other local police forces follow their lead.

"I think it obviously has to go further than the simple display of an LGBT flag. This has to go with concrete actions," he said.

SQ officers will not be marching in Montreal's pride parade this year, but they are setting up a recruitment booth at the Quebec City Pride Festival.

Vaillancourt said that if the police force would like to recruit people, in the context of a pride festival, they should make sure they have clearer company policies and support systems for their LGBTQ+ employees.

He suggested the SQ should consult with LGBTQ+ organizations so that officers better know how to address members of the community.

"People are still not always well received, quite simply because of a lack of awareness," he said.

Because of that, community members often don't feel comfortable reporting acts of violence against them, he said.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Franca G. Mignacca is a journalist at CBC Quebec.

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