50 Years After Stonewall and Still Claiming our Rights!
MONTRÉAL, July 11, 2019 – The Montréal Pride Festival, presented by TD in collaboration with Casino de Montréal, wishes to remind the public that the first Pride event was an uprising and that political advocacy remains the cornerstone of the organisation. During the night of June 28 to 29, 1969, an uprising broke out in response to a police raid at the Stonewall Inn, a New York City bar frequented by LGBTQ+ people and fifty years later, it is still the founding event of the struggle for the full recognition of the rights and freedoms of the people of sexual and gender diversity.
The refusal by our peers over the next three days of this form of discrimination, supported by the courage, the outrage and indignation of, among others, trans persons, people of color, lesbians, members of the leather/fetish community and sex workers, marked the beginning of a worldwide movement of social and political demands that are still and always being put forward during Pride. In 2019, Montréal Pride is focusing on the following community concerns:
U = U: Undetectable = Untransmittable
It’s now confirmed: A person living with HIV who takes effective treatment and maintains undetectable viral load removes the risk of HIV transmission during sex. Understanding and integrating U = U in everyday life is key to ending stigmatization against people in our communities living with HIV.
Montréal Pride joins those who fight against the stigma of people living with HIV, and calls upon:
- Health professionals to integrate U = U into their sexual health practices and consultations
- Governments, community organizations and all allies to celebrate U = U as a turning point in the epidemic towards a world without HIV and AIDS, and solidarity
- People living with HIV to make their voices heard for universal access to antiretrovirals, STIs and BBIs prevention tools, and a guarantee of their fundamental rights.
Montréal Pride also supports actions led by Quebecers and Montréalers to end the epidemic, such as Montréal sans sida, which aims to:
- Intensify the use of screening, ensure sustainable access to effective treatments and patient care that improves their quality of life
- Increase efforts to ensure access to affordable services free of discrimination and stigmatization.
- Fight criminalization that violates the human rights of people living with HIV or at risk of HIV, that is contrary to any scientific data.
Towards Full Recognition of Trans Peoples’ Identities
Aside from day-to-day errands forcing trans people to confront their old identities, there is the more serious issue of parental rights. There is currently only partial parental legal recognition for trans people. If a Canadian citizen who is trans changes their name on their child’s birth certificate, the statement of parental recognition remains the same. Trans parents can therefore not have their gender identity reflected on their children’s birth certificates. Therefore:
Montréal Pride calls on corporations, governments and all other organizations to be aware of the trauma trans people suffer when confronted with their past identities. We also encourage corporations and governments to create internal working groups tasked with reviewing policies to ensure they are inclusive to trans people. We call on the Québec government to allow trans parents, especially for non-binary parents or those who are not identifying with father or mother, the right to have their true identities reflected on the birth certificates of their children and support the ongoing lawsuit against Québec’s Attorney General brought forth by Montréal’s Centre for Gender Advocacy. The lawsuit seeks to remove provisions of the Civil Code that are responsible for the exclusion, prejudice and discrimination of trans and intersex people and their children under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Furthermore, Montréal Pride wishes for young trans people to have access to the same legal care and procedures as adults.
Towards Recognizing the Identities of Trans Migrants
Section 71 of Quebec’s Civil Code allows people to modify their acts of birth – but only if they are Canadian citizens and have been residing in Québec for one year. For citizens in the province the law as it stands doesn’t pose a problem, but it is highly problematic for newly arrived trans people. Many trans migrants flee their countries of origin to settle in Québec. But once they get here, they realize they must live with official documents that don’t reflect their identities. They have to wait to become Canadian citizens – a process that could take several years. Many trans migrants are already vulnerable as refugees fleeing persecution. Having official documents reflect their former identities is disrespectful, marginalizing and socially isolating.
Montréal Pride calls on the provincial government to amend the civil code and allow trans migrants living in Québec the ability to change their name on official documents. As mentioned in the previous section, we also support the ongoing lawsuit against Québec’s Attorney General brought forth by Montréal’s Centre for Gender Advocacy.
Let’s March for all Those who Cannot!
Montréal Pride calls for an end to state-sponsored LGBTQ+ phobias around the world. No one should have to face jail, violence or death for who they are or whom they love. We call on the Canadian government to ensure its foreign policy includes standing up for the rights of LGBTQ+ people, especially in countries with state-sponsored homophobia and transphobia.
Read the Report on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
Montréal Pride supports the conclusions of the report issued by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. What has happened, since colonial times, to the Indigenous people in Canada – and continues to this day – is genocide.
We support all the calls to justice outlined in the report. They include:
- Table and implement a National Action Plan to address problems outlined in the report.
- Pursue prioritization and resourcing of the measures required to eliminate the social, economic, cultural, and political marginalization of Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people when developing budgets and determining government activities and priorities.
- Take all necessary measures to prevent, investigate, punish, and compensate for violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people.
- Establish a National Indigenous and Human Rights Ombudsperson, with authority in all jurisdictions, and to establish a National Indigenous and Human Rights Tribunal.
Towards Decriminalizing Sex Work
The 2014 amendments to the law have had serious consequences for sex workers. The government has chosen to criminalize the purchase of sexual services, and not just solicitation. However, mere discussion of sex services in public spaces remains prohibited, thus still criminalizing sex workers.
According to research findings presented at the 2018 International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam, female sex workers in countries with laws prohibiting the purchase of sexual services are seeing them working in concealment and going further underground, increasing their risk of violence, coercion to bargaining power, stigmatization and denial of health services. The research presented in two studies coming from Canada and France revealed, respectively, that sex workers use less methods and health care services treatments that prevent HIV as a result of the adoption of prostitution laws that criminalize clients who purchase sexual services. This, in turn, limits the prevention efforts among sex workers.
Montréal Pride recognizes that Canada’s current prostitution laws undermine the rights of sex workers under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. We support the recommendations brought by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and ask that the federal government to:
- Repeal all criminal laws specific to sex work;
- Create new legislative frameworks for sex work that provide meaningful protection against violence and exploitation and ensure safe working conditions for sex workers by consulting and collaborating with these workers, as well as the provincial and territorial governments;
- Give priority to policies based on the well-being of sex workers rather than use criminal intervention.
Several lawsuits undergoing in Canadian courts involve sex workers. We call upon the government and the its justice system, through its prosecutors and judges, to take a stand and declare Canada’s prostitution laws unconditional.
Intersex Genital Mutilation Must Stop
Montréal Pride reiterates, as do the United Nations (UN), that intersex children are perfect as they are and urges the international medical community to put an end to the subjecting of intersex people to unnecessary practices.
As intersexuality is considered by healthcare providers as a disorder of sex development, intersex people are subjected to excessive medicalization without consent at an early age: early permanent sexual reassignment surgery, genital surgery, hormone treatment, and sterilization. Such practices upset the development of the individual’s gender identity and too often forces parents to decide their child’s sex. Montréal Pride points out that the measures to be taken are clear:
- End to non-consensual mutilation, sterilization and hormone treatment on intersex people whatever their age, that is the respect of their physical integrity;
- Comprehensive information for intersex persons and their immediate circle, including access to their medical file;
- Training of all personnel (healthcare, social, legal, etc.) in contact with intersex people of any age and their immediate circle;
- Deletion of sex or gender reference in civil status certificates, i.e. respect of the right for self-determination of persons and adoption of legislation to enable changes to birth certificates and other official documents.
We aim to achieve the end of sexual segregation in society and seek to provide an objective and balanced view of intersex people and of their concerns in terms of human rights.
LGBTQ+ and ageism: supporting the Aging gayfully program
As LGBTQ communities around the world celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising of 1969, people who lived through that era are now senior citizens. After years of living in secret, during a time when it was socially isolating, shameful and often dangerous to come out of the closet, LGBTQ+ seniors are in a state of vulnerability and have specific needs. Montréal Pride recognizes that LGBTQ+ seniors are especially vulnerable after living with stigma and in silence for decades. That experience has taken its toll. We support Fondation Emergence’s program, “Ageing Gayfully” which aims to provide services to this special community.
Ending conversion therapies
While the literature shows that conversion therapies aimed at changing a person’s sexual orientation to conform to heterosexuality or at a transgender person to remain cisgender are not only ineffective but as much, if not more, harmful for the physical and psychological health of the people who follow them, Montréal Pride asks the provincial and federal governments to rule on the responsibility of everyone to criminalize this practice.
About the Montréal Pride Festival
Since 2007, at the initiative of Montréal’s LGBTQ+ communities, the Montréal Pride Festival has promoted their rights and celebrated their cultural wealth and social advances. The largest gathering of the communities of sexual and gender diversity (SGD) in the Francophone world works locally on a daily basis while serving as a beacon of hope for people living in LGBTQ+ hostile regions of the globe. In 2018, the festival generated a total attendance of 2.1 million visitors. In 2019, the festivities will be held from August 8th to 18th. More information is available on the web page, the Facebook page, as well as Twitter and Instagram accounts.
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