On Sunday, August 16, Montreal’s gay community hosted their annual Pride event. Called Fierte, it took place during a raunchy heatwave, leaving most participants coated in a fine film of sweat. The parade moved down Rene Levesque Blvd at a leisurely pace until a marching band came along and in mid-song broke into a moment of silence, presumably for the 25th anniversary of the Sex Garage police busts. Fists were held high as everyone, except the yappy four-year-old girl standing in front of me, maintained strict silence, which you realize is something you seldom hear in a big city. The rest of the parade featured some elevated drag queens, Foreskin Pride, Justin enjoying photo-ops, and my own favourite float, the gigantic inflatable blue pill with “Pfizer” written on it.
I recall my first Montreal Pride march, around 1993. The convertible containing Scott Thompson and Lea DeLaria actually ran out of gas en route, forcing them to walk. We landed up in Parc la Fontaine, where some guy lay on the grass, his gaping asshole winking at all who walked by. It’s so different from the Toronto Pride events, with a charm all its own. There is a curious lack of corporate sponsors, other than those ubiquitous banks, all falling all over themselves in an attempt to win over gay customers. And where on earth were the Port-O-Pottys? But it’s hard to complain when everyone looks so damn good, and the weather was so encouraging of partial nudity, and the beer flowed freely and I never once thought about Toronto problems. Thank you, Montreal, for always being a great party city for uptight Anglos like myself, and Happy Fierte.