Press Release

Montréal Pride Unveils its Grand Marshals for the Twelfth Edition of its Festival

Montréal, May 30, 2018 – Montréal Pride, presented by TD in collaboration with Casino de Montréal, is proud to announce its Grand Marshals for the twelfth edition of its festival, taking place at the Parc des Faubourgs next August 9 to 19, 2018. We recognize the significant contribution these activists have made toward the recognition of the rights of the sexual and gender-diverse (SGD) communities.

Montréal Pride 2018 Grand Marshals

  • Jacq Brasseur, Cofounder of the Rainbow Coalition of Yellowknife, activist (Canada);
  • Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, Activist and Community leader for transgender civil rights (United States);
  • Gus Kenworthy, Freestyle skier, Olympic medalist (United States);
  • Dominique Lavergne, Ms. Leather Montréal 2017, activist (Canada);
  • Julie Lemieux, Très-Saint-Rédempteur mayor (Canada);
  • Kennedy Olango, Leader and mobilizer within the Kenyan LGBTQ community (Kenya);
  • Dany Turcotte, TV host and comedian (Canada).

Jacq Brasseur, Cofounder of the Rainbow Coalition of Yellowknife, activist (Canada)

Jacq Brasseur is a white, francophone, Catholic settler, who is also bigender, bisexual, and a queer activist. They were born and raised in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. In 2011, they co-founded the Rainbow Coalition of Yellowknife with Nicole Garbutt, the only queer and trans youth outreach organization in the Northwest Territories. They were part of the team that opened the first ever queer youth centre in the territory. Jacq is also actively involved with Pride Festival organizing across the country, having co-founded NWT Pride (2012) with Iman Kassam and Nancy MacNeill, and is currently acting as the Northern Regional Director for Fierté Canada Pride. They also dedicated a lot of their time to volunteering and working with Catholic school boards to promote safer spaces for queer and trans youth in faith-based education systems.

Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, Activist and community leader for racial transgender civil rights (United States) 

Miss Major’s personal story and activism for transgender civil rights, from mobile outreach and AIDS prevention to fighting the prison industrial complex, intersects LGBTQ+ struggles for justice and equality from the 1960s to today. She is a veteran of the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion and was incarcerated at Attica months after the 1971 Uprising. Most recently, Miss Major has served as the Executive Director of the San Francisco-based Transgender Gender Variant Intersex Justice Project (TGIJP), a grassroots organization advocating for trans women of color in and outside of prison that is led by trans women of color.

Gus Kenworthy, Freestyle skier, Olympic medalist (United States)

Gus Kenworthy is a freestyle skier all the way from Telluride, Colorado, who competes in slopestyle and halfpipe competitions. Back in 2014, at the Olympics in Sochi, Russia, he won the silver medal in Men’s Free-Form Skiing. Kenworthy came out as gay in one of his interviews with ESPN back in October 2015. In 2018, he made the headlines at PyeongChang, not for a medal or a nasty fall, but for a peck on the lips with his boyfriend – and he couldn’t be happier. The U.S. skier says the overwhelming positive reaction he’s received has compensated for a disappointing performance in the slopestyle final.

Dominique Lavergne, Ms. Leather Montréal 2017, activist (Canada)

Employed for over 15 years by several businesses in Montréal’s Gay Village (Priape, Le Man’s Barber Shop, Armada Men’s Room, etc.), Dominique never hesitates to wear leather at work and when she goes out, seeking to confront stereotypes and generate awareness about the place of leather in the community. As the first ever Ms. Leather Montréal 2017 in the history of both the City and Québec, she is paving the way for women’s visibility within the leather community. Dominique constantly bears a message of love for all within the community, being the investigator of the #aplaceatmytable initiative: Whatever body they may have, she welcomes everyone to her table.

Julie Lemieux, Très-Saint-Rédempteur Mayor (Canada)

Julie Lemieux was born in Drummondville, Québec, on September 4, 1972 where she spent the first 29 years of her life. At age 33, she decided to become a self-employed, which provided her with the opportunity to enhance the quality of people’s lives. A few years later, she acquired an historical property at Très-Saint-Rédempteur, a move that satisfied her unconditional appreciation of both history and heritage. She immediately took an interest in village affairs by regularly attending municipal council assemblies. In October 2010, with the help of three other residents, she established La Fondation des amis du patrimoine de Très‑Saint-Rédempteur. In 2013, she was elected as a municipal councillor and in 2017, with the support of several fellow citizens, she ran for mayor, and the rest is history.

Kennedy Olango, Leader and Mobilizer within the Kenyan LGBTQ community (Kenya)

A Public Health Officer by training, Kennedy is a Program Manager with the Men Against AIDS Youth Group advocacy organization (MAAYGO), in Kenya. A leader and mobilizer within the LGBTQ+ community since 2008, he mentors and coaches local GMT individual leaders, organizations and networks notably working with persons living with HIV/AIDS and the economically disenfranchised from the informal settlement zone of the Kisumu County District of Kenya. Finally, Kennedy Olango is the contact person for the recently formed Western Kenya Pride organizing committee that plans to hold its first ever edition in 2018. Recall that Kenya is a country considered “hostile” to people of sexual and gender diversity, “unnatural reports” being punishable by imprisonment for more than 10 years.

Dany Turcotte, TV host and Comedian (Canada)

Following studies in Media Arts and Technology at the Jonquière CEGEP, Danny Turcotte was first a member of the comedy troupe Groupe Sanguin from 1986 to 1990. He later formed the hugely successful Lévesque et Turcotte duo with his trusted accomplice Dominique Lévesque. Throughout his career, Mr Turcotte has received numerous nominations and awards, notably at the ADISQ Gala and at the Les Oliviers Gala. Since 2004, he has acted as the jester-in-residence of the Tout le monde en parle, a CBC French television show on which he made his coming out in 2005, the year he also became the spokesperson for the Emergence Foundation.

About Montréal Pride Festival

Since 2007, at the initiative of Montréal’s LGBTQ+ communities, the Montréal Pride Festival has promoted their rights and celebrated their cultural wealth and social advances. The largest gathering of the communities of sexual and gender diversity (SGD) in the Francophone world works locally on a daily basis while serving as a beacon of hope for people living in LGBTQ+ hostile regions of the globe. In 2017, the festival generated a total attendance of 2.7 million visitors. In 2018, the festivities will be held from August 9th to 19th. More information is available on the web page, the Facebook page, as well as Twitter and Instagram accounts.

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François Laberge
Communications Director
[email protected]
Telephone: 514 903-6193, ext. 3523

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