LGBTQ2+ community calls for representation at City Hall
Ensemble Montréal councillors forward motion to create consultative committee
The LGBTQ2+ community doesn't have enough of a voice at City Hall, one of its leaders said Thursday.
Thierry Arnaud, the president of La Chambre de commerce LGBT du Québec, said there is no formal representation of the city's diverse communities among the city's top decision-makers. That's why he supports a motion by the city's opposition to create a consultative committee for the LGBTQ2+ community. The motion will be presented at the June council meeting.
“Of course, there are people from the different communities who are elected representatives, but there is no official representation among the elected officials in Montreal,” Arnaud said. “The communities have to identify and feel recognized by the city. There is consultation, but it has to be better organized. That's why I think a formal committee should be put together.”
Ensemble Montréal councillors Julien Hénault-ratelle and Stephanie Valenzuela said many decisions are being made at City Hall that concern the communities, but their voices are often left out. Among them are the revitalization of the Gay Village in the eastern downtown area.
“The city doesn't do a systematic consultation of the LGBTQ2+ community members even among subjects that directly affect them,” Hénault-ratelle said.
He added that such a committee should have been in place by now, since it was one of the recommendations from a consultation done with the community back in 2019. That consultation also called for the city to put in place an action plan against gender and sexual-based hate. The development of any such action plan would involve consulting the LGBTQ2+ community, Valenzuela said.
“For Ensemble Montréal, it's clear an action plan is needed, so this advisory committee will make that action plan more viable and sustainable for the city,” Valenzuela said. “With this administration, there's a lot of words, there's a lot of symbolism and photo taking, but there's not necessarily action. There has been about five years that something could have been done, so that's why we're calling for it now.”
The motion will pass only if it gets enough votes at the city council meeting, so it needs support from the governing Plante administration.
Catherine Cadotte, a spokesperson for the Plante administration, said the city is working hard to make the Montreal a more inclusive place for the LGBTQ2+ community and to fight against homophobia, transphobia, and other formers of gender and sexual discrimination.
She said after the consultation done in 2019, the administration came up with a series of measures to take, many of which have already been set in motion. She said the administration intends to debate the opposition's motion at the upcoming council meeting.