Claude Cormier et Associés 18 Shades of Gay, St. Catherine Street East, Montreal, 2017.
Photo: Claude Cormier et Associés, permission de | courtesy of SDC du Village, Éclairage Public, Rig-Rite Productions, Les productions du Grand Bambou, les Services EXP

In Homonational Times: Nationalist Mythology and LGBT Inclusivity

Clinton Glenn
Through this homonational rhetoric, Canadian exceptionalism provides the basics for recuperating racialized (white and non-white) queer sexuality as a colour-blind modality of neoliberal governance by providing exceptional queer subject-citizens and asserting Canada’s exceptional status in the world.1 1 - Julian Awwad, “Queer Regulation and the Homonational Rhetoric of Canadian Exceptionalism,” in Disrupting Queer Inclusion: Canadian Homonationalisms and the Politics of Belonging, eds. OmiSoore H. Dryden and Suzanne Lenon (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2015), 20 — 21.

There has been a particularly auspicious confluence of anniversaries in Montréal in 2017: the 375th anniversary of the city is being celebrated alongside the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation and the fiftieth anniversary of Expo ’67, the event that introduced Montréal to the world and welcomed people from all corners of the globe. As a part of the year-long celebrations, Montréal played host to the first edition of Fierté Canada Pride, a pan-Canadian pride festival. The event was promoted as “a nation-wide celebration of Canada’s LGBT movement, reaffirming the position of Montréal and of Canada as leaders in LGBT rights.”2 2 -  “Fierté Canada | Canada Pride,” Fierté Montréal, <>. What is notable about this description is the problematic nature of the linkage among city, nation, and LGBT identity, which elides the contested linguistic and national space of Québec and fails to acknowledge the continual operations of colonialism and homonationalism that such an event inevitably supports. Although this critical reading of Canada Pride should be accompanied by a word of caution — a number of events being held in conjunction with Pride addressed issues3 3 - The program was not finalized at the time of writing. such as LGBTI4 4 - The inclusion of the initial “I” here refers to “intersex,”, which is often omitted from the abbreviation LGBT. The event to which I refer in this instance, a panel discussion held on May 17, 2017 and co-hosted by Pride Montreal, used the abbreviation LGBTI. Elsewhere in its promotional material, Pride Montreal uses LGBT. refugees and the state of sexual diversity in the Francophonie, and further programming was yet to be released at time of writing — the question of how LGBT identity has become entangled with the idea of Canadian identity bears further exploration.

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This article also appears in the issue 91 - LGBT+

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