North

Yellowknife LGBTQ champion to be a grand marshal at Montreal Pride

Jacq Brasseur, known for working with LGBTQ youth in Yellowknife, will be a grand marshal at this year's Pride parade in Montreal, in August.

Jacq Brasseur says it's an honour to bring attention to the North at Canada's largest LGBTQ festival

Jacq Brasseur, who co-founded the Rainbow Coalition of Yellowknife, will be a grand marshal at this year's Fierté Montreal — the largest LGBTQ festival in Canada and the biggest LGBTQ festival in the Francophone world. (Alyssa Mosher/CBC)

Jacq Brasseur, known for working with LGBTQ youth in Yellowknife, will be a grand marshal at this year's Montreal Pride event.

Brasseur — who uses the gender neutral pronoun 'they' — is a bigender, bisexual and queer activist, who co-founded the Rainbow Coalition of Yellowknife, an organization dedicated to LGBTQ youth in the North in 2011.

Brasseur now works as the northern regional director of Fierté Canada Pride, the national association of Canadian Pride organizations, and is also executive director of the UR Pride Centre for Sexuality and Gender Diversity in Regina.  

Brasseur said they were excited after learning they would be a grand marshal at Fierté Montreal. 

'It was an honour to be asked by them. Montreal Pride does a lot of work to support pride all across Canada and it's really awesome to be a part of that,' said Brasseur. (Submitted by Jacq Brasseur)

"When they approached me about possibly being a co-grand marshal at the festival I was really just like, 'Oh! Like why?'" said Brasseur.

"It was an honour to be asked by them. Montreal Pride does a lot of work to support pride all across Canada and it's really awesome to be a part of that."

Fierté Montreal is the largest LGBTQ festival in Canada and the biggest LGBTQ festival in the Francophone world. It aims to support and promote diverse communities including trans, lesbian, non-binary, people of colour and Indigenous people. 

Me Jean-Sebastien Boudreault, vice president of Fierté Montreal, said they chose Brasseur as one of this year's grand marshals after meeting Brasseur at Fierté Canada Pride a few years ago.

There's  LGBTQ  in every part of this world, we are present everywhere and we have to recognize this.-  Me-Jean-Sebastien   Boudreault , Fierte  Montreal

"[Brasseur was] basically supporting and organizing a Pride in an environment in the Northwest Territories that is not necessarily easy. They really took upon themselves to make sure that both languages were represented and minorities were represented," said  Boudreault. 

"We [are] always looking to encourage and reward and thank people who are from minorities that are from the LGBTQ communities. Jacq being a non-binary person, it's still difficult, probably even more difficult in a rural environment and we thought that they deserve to be recognised for everything they have done."

Opportunity for the North

Boudreault said that having Brasseur be one of the grand marshals is also an opportunity for greater representation of LGBTQ communities in the North, alongside larger cities and urban communities.

"There's LGBTQ in every part of this world, we are present everywhere and we have to recognize this," Boudreault said.

"We hope that giving a microphone and a space for the people from the North, to be able to express themselves, will help other people that think that, 'I might be alone, I might be the only non-binary, I might be the only lesbian, I might be the only gay in my small rural village.'"

Brasseur said they hope to use their visibility as one of the grand marshals to raise $20,000 for the Rainbow Coalition of Yellowknife.

Fierté Montreal takes place from Aug. 9 –19.

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