Merchants’ Lobby Wants ‘Gay’ Dropped From Montreal’s Gay Village

Merchants’ Lobby Wants ‘Gay’ Dropped From Montreal’s Gay Village
Image: Montreal's Gay Village

Montreal’s Gay Village is apparently striving for more inclusion, with the removal of the word ‘gay’ from it’s moniker, which at first makes you interested to hear what they’ll be swapping it with to be more inclusive.

And then you realise, nothing!

The Merchants’ Group in Montreal’s Gay Village is saying it wants to be more inclusive by removing any reference to the 2SLGBTQ community from it’s title what-so-ever – a move which has raised more than a few perfectly plucked eyebrows amongst the locals.

(For those who are wondering, the 2S in 2SLGBTQ stands for Two-Spirit, a modern umbrella term “used by some Indigenous North Americans to describe Native people in their communities who fulfill a traditional third-gender (or other gender-variant) ceremonial and social role in their cultures.”)  

It’s not only gays in the village

“It’s always been the Gay Village, so I don’t know why they want to change it now,” a member of the public told CTV News.

The surprise announcement was made on the Village Montreal’s Facebook page.

“You might be used to calling me ‘Gay Village,’” read the post. “But in 2021, I would like that to change. Because sexual and gender inclusion and diversity is very important to me.”

“So here I am, I am the Village of Montreal, the largest 2SLGBTQ + village in the WORLD!”

Yannick Brouillette, managing director of the Société de développement commercial (SDC) defended the change.

“People from other 2SLGBTQ communities don’t necessarily identify themselves as gay. So, when we call the Village gay, they don’t necessarily feel included” 

“But more than that, they don’t always feel safe in the Village.”

SDC lacking in diversity itself

It’s anyone’s guess how just calling the precinct “The Village” is going to make people feel safer and the plot thickens when you hear that the SDC, while touting a more inclusive mindset as a reason for the change, seems to lacking in inclusion itself.

Some in the public are ringing alarm bells, with folks pointing out the SDC has a poor record when it comes to diversity and inclusion, with only 50% of their members identifying as gay or lesbian, zero transgender members and zero Two-Spirit members.

“To not have trans people or Two-Spirit people on your team is just not inclusive,” said another community member. “So, remove the word gay if you need to but at least keep something queer-friendly along with it.”

Montreal’s Gay Village has been the centre of gay businesses and culture in Montreal since the early 80’s and is the location of Montreal’s annual Pride Festival, cancelled in 2020 thanks to covid. It is also one of the cities to submit an application to be the host city for World Pride in 2023, an honour that ended up being won by Sydney. 

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