Merchants' group wants to remove the word 'gay' from Montreal's Gay Village
CTV News Montreal Digital Reporter By Iman Kassam
CTV News Montreal Videojournalist
MONTREAL -- The merchant’s group in Montreal’s Gay Village wants to remove the word “gay” from the neighbourhood’s title.
The Village’s Société de développement commercial (SDC) says calling the village “gay” could make people who aren’t gay, or heterosexual, feel excluded.
“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,” said Yannick Brouillette, managing director of the SDC.
“But more than that, they don’t always feel safe in the Village.”
He says the intention behind the proposed name change is to be more inclusive to other groups in the Village, including Two-Spirit, lesbian, bisexual, trans, queer, asexual communities and others, who wouldn’t necessarily call themselves gay.
But response from community members has been mixed.
“It’s always been the Gay Village, so I don’t know why they want to change it now,” one person told CTV News.
“If it comes from a place where they want to make it more inclusive than sure, let’s have a conversation about it.”
The SDC released a public statement on social media announcing the proposed change on Wednesday.
“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!”
Several people praised the idea online, while others have criticized the group for not having more diversity amongst their own members.
“They want to be inclusive but they’re not inclusive themselves,” one person told CTV News.
Brouillete told CTV half of the board’s members are not in the LGBTQ+ community. None of them are trans or Two-Spirit, and all but one are white.
“To not have trans people or Two Spirit people on your team is just not inclusive,” said the community member. “So, remove the word gay if you need to but at least keep something queer-friendly along with it.”