Explore the Underside of Pride With Pervers/ Cité

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 If Pride is the well-mannered, well-dressed and well-manicured stereotypical gay, then Pervers/ Cite is its bratty, punk-ass younger sibling: apologetically political, not afraid to stand up for what they believe in and looking for a sweaty good time with like-minded individuals.

Now in its sixth year, Pervers/ Cité remains firmly rooted in the activist community from which it sprang. What started off as a series of workshops by queer activists on a variety of topics such as labour unions and immigration support has blossomed into a diverse 10-day festival with a goal of “making links across social justice groups, queer communities and radical visions of pride.”

“We try to recognize that our history and our place is alongside other social movements, and as gay rights move ahead, sometimes with government support, we have a responsibility to not just be the progressive gloss on a government who’s implementing a really regressive social agenda,” said Joshua Valentine Pavan, one of the volunteer organizers of Pervers/ Cité.

He pointed out that Montreal Pride recently gave a community builder award to Justice Minister Jean-Marc Fournier, one of the architects of Bill 78.

All Pervers/ Cité events are organized by volunteers with a focus on accessibility, and money is raised by a series of fundraising parties throughout the year. Keeping down overhead costs allows them to plan and throw events without a looming corporate sponsor.

“I think one of Pervers/Cité’s important roles is in reminding people that there are alternatives, there are other ways of doing things outside of the logic they seemed trapped in that actually are much more reflective of the way the initial Prides were organized, ” noted Pavan.

This year for the first time, Perverse/ Cité is being run in parallel with the 2-qtpoc festival that is dedicated to 2-spirted, queer and trans people of colour. Together, they will present “Self/Lust: queer performance and art show” on Saturday August 12th at 8pm at Studio XX (4001 Berri, #201). The show will focus on empowered self-definition, self-narration and self-expression associated with being marginalized both within a community and society as a larger whole.

If you’re looking to dance for a good cause, on Saturday you could also check out No Homos Are Illegal, a benefit for Manuel Sanchez, a Mexican refugee whose claim to remain in Canada was rejected last month after nearly four years of living here. Music stars at 7:30pm, DJs around 11pm at L’Envers (185 Van Horne).

Whether you choose Birkenstocks or high heeled pumps, you’ll fit right in at the Radical Dyke March. The first of its kind in Quebec history, it was inspired by the spirit of the Lesbian Avengers, the team of the first Dyke March in Washington almost two decades ago. The organizers hope to fight “lesbophobia” by recognizing the different types of oppression that are specific to the lesbian community that have existed throughout history and persist into present day. The group meets at Parc Emilie-Gamelin at 6pm with the march to follow.

If you’d like to learn more about the local history of the city’s queer community, try the walking tour on Friday August 18th. Highlights include the site of the infamous Sex Garage and Montreal’s earliest cruising grounds. It departs from the Ritz Carlton (1228 Sherbrooke W) at 3pm.

Queer bookworms will be in heaven at the 5th annual incarnation of Queer Between the Covers, a collectively organized book fair that offers materials otherwise unavailable in the city since the closing of long-standing queer bookstore L’Androgyne. Its tables will be populated by local and international bookstores, publishers, and zine authors at the Centre St-Pierre (1212 Panet) from 11am to 6pm.

Unleash your inner lunar libertine and join the nocturnal dance floor apocalypse known as POMPe, the monthly queer electro dance extravaganza by The Heart Is A Pump Events Collective. Profits from this month’s event will go to benefit the Legal Defense Fund 2012, a group that supports the arrestees and student unions that have been hit hard with Bill 78. This all-night, booty shaking dance party features The Salivation Army, When Hairy Met Salope, Like The Wolf and birthday boy Jnnbnnrck at Katacombes (1635 St. Laurent).

For a full calendar and more information about any of the events, visit  here.

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