Fierté/Pride may not mean the same thing to everyone. It may not even have a sense of urgency as it did a few decades ago (especially for the progressives of the world). There is surely an element of comfort among the general populace of how far we have come in the LGBTQ rights movement, more so the recent US Supreme Court decision that legalized gay marriage in the United States. I guess all is gay and lovely with the world. But then we still have millions of people who are still looking for allies, support and basic rights like being able to use the washroom of their choice, not lose a job just because they are transitioning, be referred by the correct name or gender pronoun, not be assumed to be in a heterosexual relationship because they used the word ‘marriage’ and … the list goes on.
Montreal set its pride clock rolling this past weekend by the first of many events to mark Fierté 2015. The Trans March continued to attempt at creating visibility about issues that remain extremely pressing and are at the heart of LGBTQ (civil) rights movement. Trans Rights are not where they should be. We still have an unimplemented Bill pending before the National Assembly of Quebec, which would give the fundamental, basic rights to people to not be bound by the shackles of surgery, before they are able to legally change a name and gender identification applied to them at birth.
As part of Fierté’s/Pride’s activities, yesterday I was at a lecture by Université de Montréal researcher and doctoral student Jean-Sébastien Sauvé where he spoke about: “The prohibition of discrimination against intersex, queer and trans people.” The lecture provided an extremely informative run down of the legal framework as it relates of discrimination of Intersex, Trans and Queer people. While we live in a society that boast of ideas in both the Canadian and the Quebec Charter of Rights that prohibit discrimination, we still live in a world where LGBTQ rights and advocacy remains at the fringe of mainstream society. Sauvé spoke about direct, indirect and systemic discrimination, eluding to everyday examples like a gay person being refused service at a restaurant, a trans person not being called by their preferred name at work or someone not being able to access basic health services, because your physical appearance doesn’t match the picture on your health card. The challenges are never-ending and all of us need to do more. Jean-Sébastien Sauvé writes frequently on his blog: HERE .
Fierté Montréal is organizing talks, literary events, the Dyke March (Aug 13/Thurs) and Community Day (Aug 15/Sat) among many others. Come out and become an Ally!