Today was gay pride in Montreal. Everywhere else in the world it happens on or around June 26. However, since that’s also close to St. Jean Baptiste Day (June 24), the Montreal Gay community decided to hold their big Gay pride day, aka DiversCitÃ©, on August 1st so as not to compete with the Quebec national holiday.
St. Jean Baptiste Day is a big party in honor of the patron saint of Quebec, St. John the Baptist, who was, technically, a Jew. That notion is about all the Jewish content that St. Jean Baptiste Day has – the events and the parade are effectively Judenrein – with the notable exception of the occasional participation of beloved Quebecois songstress Nanette Workman, who, unbeknownst to most Quebeckers is both American (gasp!) and Jewish (gasp!!). For the last 2 years, the same cannot be said of DiversCitÃ©.
Last year’s DiversCitÃ© saw the premier of an organization called Feygelah: the organization of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and transexual Jews in Montreal (don’t try saying that without pausing between bisexual and transgendered). Their presentation was modest but funny as heck… They had the requisite banner and rainbow colored Magen David, but what really stood out was these boards they were carrying that read “Queen sized Matzoh Balls,” “I attend services at congregation Bette Midler,” “One in every minyan” and the crowd favorite “I HAD to come out of the closet! my mother needed the space.” You can see pics from last year here.
This year’s Feygelah participation, was a little more zaftig. Bolstered by a $2,000 grant from Federation CJA, this year’s Jewish representation at DiversCitÃ© included like, 2 rainbow Magen David flags (at $150 each), 4 banners, a pickup truck with sound system (rockin’ the hizouse with Hava Nagilah, Dana International‘s Eurovision winning Diva song and err… Madonna) and a fancy shmancy after party fundraiser for World Pride 2005, to be held in Jerusalem. Yes, Jerusalem.
I rode along in the truck to, you know, observe and stuff. The parade participants cheered and sang along to Hava Nagilah and the marchers seemed all energized by the attention. There was one guy, a total arse, who ran up to me and screamed “You are making a shame to ze Jewish people!” Dude. First, I’m not gay. Second, what the hell are you doing at a gay pride parade if you think that way? Third, the issue of homosexuality in Judaism is a complex one. There has been much discussion on the issue , especially after the release of the film Trembling Before G-d. Even the most hardcore Orthodox Rabbis now agree that there are homosexuals amongst the Jews. So I told the guy to f*ck off – in both English and Hebrew.
Oh and this other thing that kind of pissed me off was how one of the Jewish marchers was wearing a pro-PLO t-shirt. No offense, but that’s just retarded. Look, I know that it’s pretty old news that Arafat is gay (but closeted). However, the areas administered by the Palestine Authority are decidedly not gay friendly. Seriously, doesn’t anyone read? THE ONLY PLACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST THAT HAS ANY MEASURE OF GAY RIGHTS IS ISRAEL. Sheesh. Don’t take MY word for it. Do some research next time you wear a PLO t-shirt at a gay pride parade dumbass. Especially when you’re partying on Federation’s coin.
But still, it was a great parade and it was nice to see all the gay Yiddles out. Everyone so happy to be together, buying rings for gay couples and being in unity! Now I have to assure my parents that despite what their friends saw, I am not gay. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…