While Pride Month might appear to be all colourful parades and parties, celebrating for the LGBTQIA+ community is a huge part of the fight for equality. The pleasure is part of the resistance to the hate and homophobia/transphobia, and although Pride commemorates how far we have come in the fight for equality, it is a reminder that it has not been an easy fight - nor is it over. As early as 2018, sexual minority Canadians were more likely than heterosexual Canadians to report that they considered their mental health to be dangerously low (32% versus 11%).
This is why we were so thankful to be able to conclude our Education Month Campaign by speaking with Kiki and Geneviève Laforce, two exceptional talents here at Dulcedo who continue to bring positivity and joy to their following, all while keeping them educated on the LGBTQIA+ community.
Kiara, also known as Dimitri Nana-Côté, is a drag queen from Quebec City, now located in Montreal. At 22 years old, she is the youngest drag queen on the first season of Canada’s Drag Race (2020), in addition to being one of the only two artists representing the province of Quebec on the show. Genevieve Laforce is a young Quebec filmmaker and co-host of the Rainbows & Orgasms podcast. She campaigns for several causes such as veganism as well as for the LGBTQIA+ community. By sharing their words and stories with you all, we hope to keep the conversation of the importance of Pride Month alive and thriving.
What is a piece of pride history month that is important to you or is lesser known? (Kiki) I think it’s important to remember that trans people of colour and POC sex workers were at the root of the pride movement that started at the Stonewall riots against police brutality in 1969. It’s a very important point because today, these groups are often put aside and unrepresented while they started the whole movement, and it’s a reminder to fight for their rights.
What do you see as some strengths and weaknesses of social media as a demonstration of allyship? (Kiki) Social media helps to the demonstration of allyship since it’s a way to reach people all over the world and have bigger numbers, so more impact (and it’s an easier way to share fresh information quickly, and for it to be verified by more people. The disadvantage of this online era is that it makes it look easy to make these changes and contribute. A like and a share won’t change the world as much as physically being in a protest, donating, or making concrete actions. What makes drag political? (Kiki) Drag is political in many ways. Just the fact that drag bends the norms of society and pushes boundaries makes the art form political. Also, drag queens are known to be spokespersons for the queer community since we usually are the ones in the spotlight and a bigger platform since we unite the community hosting shows, parties and other celebrations. In what ways do you feel the tradition of pride celebrations has been inclusive of intersectionality? (Kiki) Intersectionality is “the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage”... and that’s basically where lies the power of pride. If all queer people would celebrate the tradition of pride, there’s an impact, but the goal is not just to fight for our rights as a community: it’s to unite as many people as possible, from different classes, different communities, different sexual identities and orientations so that more people can fight with us. Changes started to occur when straight people started supporting the queer community, and that’s because it made the fight important for everyone and not just us.
Geneviève - as a creator yourself, what’s your favourite LGBTQ+ either film, TV show, book, music, artwork, etc. that has had an impact on you or resonated with you?
(Gen) In the last year, I’ve come to discover so many queer artists and content creators through social media. However, the TV show that had the biggest impact on me was definitely ‘Orange is The New Black’. I remember binge watching the first 4 seasons before coming out and being so confused as to why I was so into the lesbian romance and sexual tension. That show essentially made me realize I was gay and after succumbing to compulsory heterosexuality, I came out 3 years later.
Could you talk about one of your own films that is most meaningful to you and that you feel could be beneficial to someone wanting to learn more about the LGBTQ+ community?
(Gen) I’ve directed a couple films in direct relation to the LGBTQ+ community, and always include some sort of metaphor in relation to it in most of my films. I think the film that got me the most recognition in the cinema world would definitely be the one I wrote and directed on same-sex rape. It’s a touchy subject, but one that deserved to be exposed considering the constant fetishizing between women loving women. People tend to overlook accusations of rape in the queer community as it does not co-align with what we know it to be. I think it’s important to understand the struggles that a lot of queer people face that do not tend to be validated due to their identity.
How do you think social media platforms have evolved to be more inclusive and transformative for the LGBTQ+ community?
(Gen) I think in recent years, whether it be on social media, or everyday life, there has been a lot of advancement in relation to the LGBTQ+ community. I do think there still is a long way to go, in terms of visibility, activism and tactics of inclusion. However, pride and inclusivity shouldn’t be restricted to only the month of June, it should just be the norm. I’m happy that more and more platforms thrive to make the queer community more and more visible as it habituates the eye to diversity and assures a more open-minded future.
How can brands and companies deviate from “rainbow washing” during Pride month (plastering colourful advertisements and campaigns in order to profit off of identities rather than actually taking action to support the community)?
(Gen) Although I think it’s important to give the queer community more visibility and pride month definitely allows this to happen, I think rainbow capitalism does have its downfall. Firstly, it deviates from what pride actually is and makes it seem as though they are ingenuine in their message. Brands and corporations shouldn’t restrict their inclusivity to only pride month, it should be widespread throughout the year as it would allow it to de-marginalize the community and for visibility to become the norm. Queer people shouldn’t be considered a ‘diversity hire’ they should be a part of the norm. In the current social climate we are living in, how does this year’s Pride Month differ from previous years to you?
(Gen) Pride for the past 2 years has been vastly different than every other year. Firstly, pride has a strong aspect of community associated with it. Whether it be pride parades, parties, etc. Everything having been online has made this aspect a bit less attainable. However, it has also allowed many individuals to reflect on themselves and come to terms with their identity during this long period of social isolation. Being a queer content creator, I have been seeing a rise in acceptance and activism in this regard. Many people still question the legitimacy/pertinence of pride in our current time considering the recent advancement in society, but pride is important because, someone tonight still believed they’re better off dead than being themselves. And until everyone is capable of being themselves, pride is necessary.
(Kiki) This year is better than last year since everything was closed during the pandemic. Life’s not back to normal, but it’s nice to see how people used their creativity to still celebrate pride and defending lgtbtqia2+ rights, and learn from the challenges 2020 had to offer so that in 2021 we can make a better job without as many restrictions. HAPPY PRIDE!