Montreal's Trans March For Liberation Drew A Crowd Of Hundreds & Some Pretty Awesome Signs

Here's what trans liberation means to some attendees.

Staff Writer
The front of the Trans march crowd. Right: An attendee wears a handmade "I <3 surgery" top.

The front of the Trans march crowd. Right: An attendee wears a handmade "I <3 surgery" top.

Willa Holt | MTL Blog

On the hot, humid Saturday of Pride week, hundreds of trans Montrealers and their allies gathered at Parc de L’espoir in preparation for the annual Trans March for Liberation.

The march’s organizer, queer activist Celeste Trianon, explained that the point is for trans people to gather, fight for their rights, and “continue fighting against all forms of institutionalized transphobia that affect us every day.”

Celeste Trianon, the march's organizer, before the march.Celeste Trianon, the march's organizer, before the march.Willa Holt | MTL Blog

To her, trans liberation is about trans people being able to thrive – an intentionally broad definition. “It’s about us being able to live our fullest lives.” Access to medical transition was an incredibly pivotal point in their life, they said, and it is a key right – “an absolute requirement” – for the trans community.

“We need to be bold about what we need as a community,” said Gen Ste-Marie, the general coordinator for TransEstrie, a regional trans advocacy and support network. To Gen, trans liberation means trans and cis Quebecers having the same rights. Gen hopes that one day “we won’t need to march anymore.”

An anonymous attendee holds a sign reading "trans lives are more important than cis feelings."An anonymous attendee holds a sign reading "trans lives are more important than cis feelings."Willa Holt | MTL Blog

One of Gen’s children is also trans and arrived at the march with a nonbinary flag fastened around their shoulders. To them, trans liberation means access to things like hormone therapy, name changes and the freedom to be yourself without barriers.

Sacha, left, and their brother pose for a picture before the march.Sacha, left, and their brother pose for a picture before the march.Willa Holt | MTL Blog

“The trans march is not a parade, it’s an act of rebellion against the government,” one attendee, named Erin, said to MTL Blog. “We’re talking about liberation in all facets of the government, so there’s no systemic discrimination.” Trans liberation, they said, “is the right to live freely without judgment, without discrimination, without violence, and without feeling like we’re begging to actually be ourselves.”

To Erin, the most joyous part of being trans is the journey of self-discovery, something they argue is important for everyone, including cis people.

Erin holds a sign reading, "F*ck your gender norms."Erin holds a sign reading, "F*ck your gender norms."Willa Holt | MTL Blog

Just before the march, Celeste spoke to the crowd and invited attendees to come forward to share their thoughts. One after the other, trans Montrealers shared what they felt was most important ahead of the march. Many chose to remain anonymous for their own safety. “I don’t know who can choose to be trans,” one attendee said. “But we can choose to stand together.”

An attendee named Rhys holds his handmade "begone TERF" sign.An attendee named Rhys holds his handmade "begone TERF" sign.Willa Holt | MTL Blog

Others emphasized health care, disabled rights and offered words of support for those in the crowd who haven’t come out yet. “It’s possible to be who you are,” said a speaker who had recently come out over Facebook. “We need marches like today to prove we are visible.”

As the march began, chants of “everyone hates transphobes,” calls to take back the streets, and other cheers of solidarity filled the air while the crowd – estimated at more than 1,000 people – made its way through the Village.

For Celeste, and for others in the crowd, it all comes back to one thing – and it’s the part about being trans that Celeste told me she loves the most. “Just being able to be happy,” she smiles. “It’s as simple as that.”

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