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In anticipation of the upcoming annual Montreal LGBTQ Parade on August 20, 2017, the Quebec division of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) has officially enlisted in the city’s Pride festivities. This event will mark the first time that members of the CAF will be official participants in the parade, and they are being encouraged to become involved as an organization.
A directive issued by the CAF’s chief of defense staff, General Jonathan Vance, states that officers are no longer obligated to ask for permission from their superiors to participate in Pride while wearing their uniforms. “In an effort to promote diversity and inclusion, the CDS encourages all members of the CAF to attend and participate in pride events in uniform,” the directive states.
For years, Pride Montreal and other LGBTQ organizations have been lobbying the military to change the permission requirement, and this year their efforts have yielded results. Participating CAF members will wear a dress uniform that cannot be altered in any way, including the use of Pride ribbons or pins. However, they will be allowed to bring along flags and banners to the celebrations. So far, more than a dozen members have confirmed their participation, and CAF representation is hoping to recruit at least 50 in total.
At other Pride events across Canada this year, the presence of uniformed police officers created some controversy, to the extent that parade organizers in Toronto and Ottawa requested police to not attend in uniform.
Featuring floats from local sports teams, cultural and community groups, as well as other gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender organizations, the Parade will start at the corner of Drummond Street before heading east on René-Lévesque Boulevard, culminating on Alexandre-DeSève Street and the Village.
Pride events mark an important tradition that began in Montreal in 1979.