Monday, July 16, 2007

There's no PRIDE in Divers/Cité

Divers/Cité used to mean PRIDE to Montréal's Gay Lesbian, Bisexual, Transsexual and Transgender Communities. But in the past few years that pride has been diminished, tarnished. At this point the tarnish is more like a corrosive rust.

- - - - - - -

Divers/Cité was born 15 years ago to replace a very dysfunctional Montréal Gay Pride Festival and it's fractional and seemingly own homophobic committee. It was when the then Pride Committee indicated that Drag Queens, Leather Men and as they put it other extreme and fringe groups were not welcome in the Pride Parade because they sad that the media only focused on them, enforcing a bad reputation; fostering a poor appearance for the 'regular' gays and lesbians...

Sad really, when you consider that the Modern Gay/Lesbian Rights Movement was born out of the Stonewall Riots on June 28th 1969 between the New York City Police and Gays, Lesbians and Transgendered people. The riots lasted a few days and countless Gays, Lesbians and Transgendered people were beaten and arrested. It was, and still is that resilience and the conviction of those that countered the Police Force's brutality that for me and many thousands, nay, millions of others around the globe foster and remember, ESPECIALLY at PRIDE. It was a calling to arms if you will, that individually we are weak and easily intimidated and forced into submission, but together we are strong and powerful and can no longer be held down. And that strength fosters not only Pride in the individual but Pride as a group that crosses all lines: Male/Female, All Races, Religions, Ethnic Backgrounds. We are on every continent, in every country, (although some still must hide who and what they are as they could be punished, even put to death.)

Divers/Cité was all encompassing. It's name a play on words for Diversity, a Diverse City. And so it would seem for the first 8-10 years...
---

I cannot recall the exact year, but about five-six years ago there was a shift in the Divers/Cité events. The majority of the events moved outside and to the edge of the Village. At about the same time, as you can suspect, the Parade no longer included the mainstay of floats from the Bars and Restos and other Businesses in the Village. Bad blood was born between Gay Commerce and the Divers/Cité Committee. And this infection would continue to fester and grow...

A few years ago the Committee didn't even plan to close Ste-Catherine St in the Village on the main weekend, where people naturally congregate after the Sunday Afternoon Parade.This was Divers/Cité's attempt to 'stick it' even further to the Gay and Lesbian owned and run businesses, but the Police eventually had to shut down the street because with or without stages and performances, and kiosks selling over priced beer and hot dogs or not, people wanted to congregate where they felt the most pride, and inclusion... within the confines of the village. It's theirs after all and on such a day of Pride and festivity, you not only want to be there, you cannot imagine being any place else.

... and THEN...

2 years ago in the ever shocking, mal-explained and unbelievably planning the Divers/Cité Committee re-scheduled the Pride Parade from it's regular Sunday afternoon time slot to a Monday Night event. And this is where public support for Divers/Cité plummets...

The Parade is the Apex of any Pride Festivities, be they a Day, a Weekend, or a Week in length. It's where those involved pull all the stops, invite not only their LGBTT Brothers and Sisters, but too, the remainder of society. All are welcome, the young and old, families, you name it. This is not only true for Montréal, but any Pride event in ANY city the world round. And in it's time Montréal was one of the biggest... with up to 300,000+ spectators. Now they'd be lucky to get a half to a third of that. Taking a event that used to be the End, the BIG BANG as it were, when more people were free from work and other responsibilities (and in this context I'm not only talking about the spectators, but those IN the parade, on the floats, walking, dancing, etc) and then move that from the final day, to the first day, and a week-day at that, a MONDAY. And while we're at it, lets move it from 1 pm in the afternoon to 8:30 at night. Oh, and for good measure lets change the route as well... Yea well you can imagine how pissed off a lot of people were about that. It was the first year in my 16 years in the city that I didn't go. - Sorry I, like many others, was working and would also have to get up early the next morning. I had friends coming up from New York and LA and Boston and Palm Springs for Pride in Montréal that year, they only got into the city on Thursday evening... just in time for the Weekend and all the big events (including the Parade) only to find out the parade was 4 days prior. They have not been back since.

Last year they attempted to re-adjust and moved it to a Saturday night... And because it was during the same time as the Out Games the attendance was better, and yes I went but let me tell you the parade was L-A-M-E. A parade at night works, if you're at Disney World and the floats are smothered in lights... when you're on Rene-Levesque with a few flatbed trucks you don't see squat... but then maybe that was for the best... it was not such a great idea to begin with.

---

And now, welcome to the year, 2007. The Divers/Cité Committee decided to no longer hold a Parade at all. They felt that Divers/Cité was now not a Pride event, but a 'Cultural event'. In the shadows of all the Big Circuit parties of the BBCM, what was once all about community is now about inflating their own egos and who can throw the biggest parties, spending the most money on things like hiring DJs and performers and lighting crew and on and on from OUTSIDE of the local community. This has never made sense to me and regardless of their explanations never will.

---

A new committee was created and was developed and Divers/Cité offered their support and services to help with the PRIDE parade, but apart and separate from the Divers/Cité event itself. The original date selected was in June when both New York and Toronto hold their Pride festivals. This time would prove a large conflict with Montréal as may people like to city hop and join in other Pride events. When you have 3 events in three large cites, relatively close at hand, such as these, having them all on the same date is counterproductive to all having successful event. It is no surprise then that that original replacement for Pride in Montréal crashed and burned, faster than you can say Disco Inferno!

It appeared that there was to be no parade, no Pride. I can tell you that I know a lot of people (including myself) that were very upset and disappointed by this. So many people already disenfranchised by the events and actions of Divers/Cité were now at an all time high..

And then *POOF* it seemed that a new organizations has arisen. Célébrations LGBTA Montréal In close association with the Gay Chamber of Commerce, they have done it. And like the Phoenix, Pride has risen from the ashes and will be held the Weekend BEFORE Divers/Cité (July 27 - 29th) and there WILL be a DAYTIME parade on Sunday! Ste-Catherine's will be closed in the Village and all is.

- - -

In the past few years, the Montréal Gay Chamber of Commerce SDC Village (Société de Développement Commercial du Village) has strengthened and after last years success of the street closure along Ste-Catherine St in the Village during the week of Divers/Cité and the Out Games, and the enthusiastic support of the restaurants and bars and other businesses, this year the Chamber of Commerce was able to get co-operation with the city to have a total of 6 weekends of street closures allowing all gay, straight or otherwise to enjoy leisurely strolls along Ste Catherine's and have a bite to eat al fresco or a chat over a couple drinks with friends. This past weekend was the 2nd of these weekends and it was wonderful! Didier and I along with countless thousands of others take full advantage of it every weekend.

Well, guess who's got their knickers all in a wad? YUP! the Divers/Cité Committee! Surprised?... no not really. They are upset and are trying to petition the city to rescind the permit the Chamber of Commerce has for the Street closure in the Village during the weekend of Aug 3-5th because they claim the Chamber of Commerce is trying to take advantage of Divers/Cité and all THEIR spectators and take business away from them. ... ok here are my problems with this...
1) If the Chamber of Commerce only asked and got one weekend of street closure I could see this as a potentially valid complaint, but they have SIX weeks...
2) Never before have the Divers/Cité events had sufficient enough bars and food vendors (with more than hot dogs and hamburgers) to properly manage the crowds, let alone the tables and washrooms, staff etc.
3) Like it or not, Street closure or not, many people will not only go INTO the village but STAY there not only for a drink or a meal, but because as I've said THAT is where they want to be!
4) Remember your name is DIVERS/CITE... you are supposed to be INCLUSIVE, not EXCLUSIVE.

They still wants all the Gay, Lesbian et'al's money of course, giving a very clear and present appearance of greed . It seems they are unable to share in the prosperity these events bring to the city. It's an all time low and it makes you wonder what they are really all about.

- - -

We'll be going to one event at Divers/Cité, MASCARA the night of Drag Queens. If it were not for this one event that I have not missed in the passed 5 years, I'd not be going to anything at all.

It seems that those that do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it. hint hint ... Divers/Cité.

Here's hoping that the new Célébrations LGBTA Montréal organization sees the light. I wish them every success.

PRIDE means a lot to Montréal's Gay Lesbian, Bisexual, Transsexual and Transgender Communities. Thanks to Célébrations LGBTA Montréal for understanding.

49 comments:

TICKLEBEAR said...

nice to hear i'm not alone in my complaints against DiversCitee....
never much liked the way they managed things...
glad to see the chamber of commerce finally becoming a force to be reckoned with. it's way overdue that someone challenges diverscitee's monopole over the gay market....
i hope they win!!! :)~
over the years, i ran into a certain someone, & always had the compulsion to trip her, & see her land flat on her face, but refrain from doing so...unfortunately...
i will dismiss divers citee, but will do my best to attend the parade!!!
pity we've become so mainstream...
everything has turned into a party.
where are the revendications, even the provocations.
we shouldn't be complacent...
a small shift to the right in our society might change our situation.
already, we see a shift in our politics.
let's just hope it will be only of short duration.
people forget, & that's a shame...
i remember, as a youth, getting beaten up, & would never have considered making a complaint, as the police then would have been unsupportive, or even worse, turned this into derision...
i remember...

HUGZ

Misster Kitty said...

You're oh so not alone on this!

It is a shame what Divers/Cité has become...


... but I'm hopeful(am I naive?) that this new celebration will hold true and go back to the roots of what is all about. ... rReaching out to ALL, including ALL, and being PROUD of who we all are.

TICKLEBEAR said...

from your mouth to god's ears...
this, coming from an atheist....
:D~

Misster Kitty said...

seeing as we're all spawn anyway, maybe we should be talking to Lucifur for a good pride. ;-)

TICKLEBEAR said...

i think he's already on the list,
ain't he???
:D~
Vip, of course...

Misster Kitty said...

Parade Marshal, VIP, Guest of Honour, at all events.

...still it can't hurt to suck up to old cloven foot.

TICKLEBEAR said...

gotta have friends in LOW places...
:D~

Misster Kitty said...

My favourite places!

TICKLEBEAR said...

are there any other???
worth going to, that is??
:D~

Maria said...

Ever thought about running for Prime Minister? You got MY vote!!

Misster Kitty said...

Who?
Me?
Bruno?
or Luci?

Maria said...

My favorite CAT!! YOU!

Did I ever mention I was allergic to real cats... but you MY dear will do just fine! Especially when it comes to talking someone to death. Best of ALL YOU MAKE SENSE!!

Thats why you got MY vote!!

Misster Kitty said...

That's one vote... who's next?

TICKLEBEAR said...

i'd have to read your political platform, before comitting myself
to any decision....
:)~

Maria said...

I on the other hand don't care what your political platform is you still have my vote... I mean really how much worse can you do than what we have already?

Misster Kitty said...

That sounds like a pretty steep dare! you're on! I accept!

You may call me Prime Minister from now on... :-)

Maria said...

Prime Minister Kitty has a good ring to it.

I can get used to it.

Misster Kitty said...

Moi-si!
Moi-si!

TICKLEBEAR said...

may i be your minister of justice?
i'd somehow be compelled to revive public punishment....

:D~

HUGZ

Misster Kitty said...

If you have a whip, the job is yours!

TICKLEBEAR said...

handcuffs: $60
whip: $130
discipline: priceless!!
:D~

Misster Kitty said...

You're Hired!

...and might I suggest Mistress Maria and you're "#1"

TICKLEBEAR said...

U R prime minister...
it's up to you!!
:D~

Misster Kitty said...

I'm no Stephen Harper, I let my Ministers choose their own staff! ;-)

I'll even let you talk to the press!

TICKLEBEAR said...

not a wise move.
i'm really not politically correct,
(read loud mouth here...)
:)~

Misster Kitty said...

Um, HELLO?!?!!?

I'm Misster-Kitty... nice to fucking meet you!

:-)

TICKLEBEAR said...

if that's the worse you can pull,
you actually have a flourishing career in front of you!!!
:D~

TICKLEBEAR said...

guess what??!!
someone has reported me about my last blog on my space.....
i can't reply to your comments, it's blocked & there's a flag....
i LOVE window live spaces,
such narrow minded people.
i was flagged a few times...
once as i was talking about a romanian str8 love story, beautiful drama, not obscene at all. i don't get those people...

Misster Kitty said...

That's a friggin riot. Not in the good why tho... I guess that might explain why I was having a problem getting your page to load after my post...

Was it the words or the pics that they don't like? In my eyes both were TAME!


I tinks you gotta be moving on over to Blogspot all together. From what I've seen on some other blogs here compared to yours... you have NOTHING to worry about...

TICKLEBEAR said...

but i like the layout & the photogallery module, rather than spreading all the pics over the webpage...
:(~

Misster Kitty said...

but if it's the choice of layout vs censorship...

TICKLEBEAR said...

well,
visual quality is important to me.
that's why i'm still on windows live, & why i prefer BMB to bear411. it is visually more appealing...

:D~

Misster Kitty said...

and is the block removed?

TICKLEBEAR said...

it's still there,
but i couldn't add comments to it....
if they want it off, they'll notify me, with a 48 hours warning...
i guess it's under revue :)~
time will tell.
happens often that i can't get to my webpage...
either windows has a problem with its system,
or something triggered a reaction on their part.
i was not obscene in my topic, & i chose pics that didn't reveal too much. 2 male figures embrassing shouldn't be objectional in this day & age; but i suspect the management may be based in the bible-belt.....
wouldn't surprise me...
:(~

Misster Kitty said...

I agree nothing objectional. Would be nice to know who complained. and what exactly they found objectionable...

TICKLEBEAR said...

maybe when ouy mentionned "aroused"?...
or just the mention of "sexual" fantasies?
some keywords get picked up or something. & as of now, i still cannot respond either to you or lucrecia...
:(~
so, i'll answer you here, if you don't mind...
no, has nothing to do with whatever exhibit you are referring to, sorry.
just something i googled...
;)~

Misster Kitty said...

Ah OK so might not even be an actual complain, just a spider crawling through looking for specific words. Of course they dont likely offer a specific list either...

Misster Kitty said...

the photo exhibit I refered to is at Studio 2 at la maison de la culture Frontenac. Tere's an ad on page 107 of the latest Fugues... it's a photo exhibit of male action figures

TICKLEBEAR said...

thanx for pointing this out!!!
had a copy but hadn't checked it out at all...
hmmm, yummy!!!
right up my alley...
:D~

HUGZ

Misster Kitty said...

Now you can see why I thought your pics came from there. :-)

We went to go see it 2 weeks ago on a Sunday.. OOPS... closed on Sunday.

We WILL get to see the exibit before it's gone!

ENJOY!

TICKLEBEAR said...

i definitely got to see this!!!
i wonder if there's a catalog?
i just need to get better.
:)~

Misster Kitty said...

The good thing is it's not that far from you... once you start to improve you could walk over there...

TICKLEBEAR said...

once i feel better,
i'll hop in a cab, thank you....
:D~

Misster Kitty said...

a CAB?

Oh I'm just gonna have to show up on your door and drag you there by foot! (once the back is doing better of course!)

TICKLEBEAR said...

hope so!!!!!!
just got my leave from work extended for 2 more weeks...

Misster Kitty said...

Well that's good news!
Hope you're getting better!!!

TICKLEBEAR said...

not today...
could be the weather.
hoping for some warmth this weekend!!
:)~

Misster Kitty said...

Well it's supposed to be sunny and warm this weekend. That should help a bit

So I guess I shouldn't bother inviting you to La Ronde this weekend huh? ;-)

TICKLEBEAR said...

hon,
i'd be lucky to make it to the door...
though i wonder if a ride upside down wouldn't cure me???
:D~
except i don't do THAT!!!
:D~