Montréal LGBTs are proud to live where queer history has been made. At the provincial level, Québec in 2002 was the first jurisdiction in the world to recognize same-sex civil unions, and the second, in 1977, to legislate against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. In 2005 Canada became the fourth country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. And in 2006 Montréal held the 1st World Outgames, a celebration of sports, culture and human rights.
But that’s just law and ordered data. The heart and soul of it all is that Montrealers, Quebecers and Canadians are a pretty reasonable people. In our own attitudes and behaviours, we were way ahead of the law.
But, as is the case everywhere where advances have been made, it was Montréal LGBTs and friends who nurtured diversity, from gay men carving out surreptitious rendezvous in downtown bars, to our very own Stonewall in 1977, to the pride parades of the 1980s, up to the huge celebrations we have today. Divers/Cité, a week-long festival of dance, film, live music and other arts that attracts people from all over the world, celebrates 17 years in 2009. The year before, the image+nation international LGBT film festival turned 20. Black & Blue, one of the largest circuit parties in the world with 65,000 people attending, was started in 1991 by Bad Boy Club Montreal. It was then and still is a fundraiser for HIV/AIDS groups.
Queer Montrealers turned the adversity of yesterday into the diversity of today. And the whole city is out and proud.