Montreal, QC
rues Sainte-Catherine et Panet, coin sud-ouest Park of Hope since 1 December 1991
without names
Violence in Montreal’s Gay Village has locals up in arms over safety – and future of gay tourism
Gay Village boutique owner Ghislain Rousseau never made it to last week’s Ville-Marie borough public council meeting to challenge Mayor Gerald Tremblay about rising crime and violence in Montreal’s Gay Village because Rousseau’s store was attacked by a homophobic pedestrian the very same evening, just minutes before he was supposed to leave.
“I was wrapping up with a client [around 6:15 pm on December 12] and getting ready to go to the [7 p.m.] meeting when my store was the victim of a homophobic assault,” Rousseau explained to me afterwards. “I have a poster of two men [holding hands] in my window display and I heard this big bang on the window, and this girl is trying to smash it in with her foot. I said, ‘What are you doing!’ And she said, ‘This is a f—king faggot store! This is nudity! I don’t want my children to see this! Are you a homo?’ I replied to her, ‘We are in the Gay Village and I am proud to be a f—king homo!’”
Rousseau continues, “I stopped her before she could smash my window. Then two police cruisers arrived, took her aside and body-searched her. They were actually quite supportive [of me]. But she was still aggressive and homophobic. The police were very firm with her and told her to leave. But that’s all they can do with the mandate they have. There is no zero tolerance for this. This was a homophobic attack and the police can’t take her in.”
There have been more violent attacks in the Gay Village in recent weeks. In fact, Rousseau has collected 32 similar incidents in just the last two months on his Facebook page Alliance des résidants et commerçants de Ville-Marie. 19-12-2011 Photo © Vincenzo D'Alto Montréal Gazette

13 September 2011
Richard Burnett, Montréal