The glitz, the glamour, the rainbow colours and hordes of people descending on the Gay Village in Montreal in the middle of August, means its Pride. Just one day before the Pride Parade is earmarked for Community Day, when the entire spectrum of organizations, groups, allies, the who’s who of LGBTQ set up shop (in this case kiosks), from the stretch between Amherst and Ave Papineau on St. Catherine Street. Its time for the unsung, often unseen people that form the bulwark of Montreal (and Quebec’s) LGBTQ community and who devote hundreds of oftentimes volunteer hours to offer services and support to their communities to come out in full force.
From groups that work with Trans people, to Gender Creative Kids, Single Parent Families, Gay Seniors and even inclusive religious places (churches) to corporate sponsors (the likes of TD, RBC even Via Rail), the list is endless and you can find everyone.
And obviously with such strength of the locals, the politicians can’t be far behind. I spotted Gilles Duceppe (for the un-politically minded, he is the new leader of the Bloc Quebecois) making his rounds, hoping to better his dismal tally from 2011. With the weather leaving no reason to complain and barring the tolerable humidity, Community Day brought out throngs of people to celebrate what has become one of the feature events of Montreal Pride.
Community Day is when you come out and meet, mingle with people who work tirelessly all year round, to help others in need. The organizations in particular are able to put faces to names and reach out to those who are hesitant or unable to find help. Having volunteered with PFLAG Montreal for over eight years, I find Community Day to be the perfect excuse to be out among Montreal’s large community and revel in the strength that numbers bring. My favorite this year was the Choir that brought both cheer and entertainment. A Community cocktail capped the evening and the fun continued into the night.
While we wind down Pride 2015, hope you came out and marched in the Parade.