C’EST LA GUERRE ?! : Policing Gay Safety, Gentrification, and the Politics of Violence
Friday August 8th, 18h30, Rm 100, Centre St-Pierre, 1212 rue Panet
Part of Pervers/Cité 2014. For a full schedule of events, check out www.perverscite.org.
As the gay movement increasingly moves towards a politics of respectability, how do histories of battles with the police inform our activism today?
The predominant activist perspective on harm done to LGBTQ people has shifted from a focus on structural violence to one on individualized street violence, and now we see current expansions of surveillance and street clearing in Montréal being done in the name of keeping queers safe. But who bears the brunt of police violence today? How have appeals to “community” and “safety” been leveraged to further social-cleansing agendas today and in the past?
With the ruthless gentrification of gay-identified neighbourhoods and the massive expansion of incarceration in Canada, what is at stake in attempting to “prove” an anti-LGBTQ “crime wave” against statistics? How do we take feelings of victimization seriously without allowing an imagined sense of vulnerability to justify police repression of perceived outsiders?
Who has been left out of the recent reconciliation between gays and the police? What responsibility do those LGBT people no longer targeted by the police have to people marked “deviants” (the homeless, the poor, people of colour and indigenous people, people with mental health diagnoses, sex workers) who continue to face the violence of quality-of-life policing, both if they are queer and if they aren’t? What does all of this mean for how we organize for a just world?
Looking at these questions in the context of parallel developments in multiple North American cities, our panelists will discuss the organizing of the Montréal group Lesbians and Gays Against Violence following the police raid on the queer Sex Garage party in 1990, the diverse approaches of similar groups in New York and San Francisco, and the history of social cleansing in Centre-Sud and the Village, centred around the “community police” clearing Carré Berri (Parc Émilie-Gamelin) in 1996.
Presentations will be in English and French, with whisper translation available to both languages.
Wheelchair accessible. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for other accessibility questions.
Co-sponsored by the Prisoner Correspondence Project, QPIRG McGill and QPIRG Concordia.
CHRISTINA B. HANHARDT is an Associate Professor at the University of Maryland, whose recent book Safe Space: Gay Neighbourhood History and the Politics of Violence won this year’s Lambda Literary Award for LGBT Studies. Her book focuses on an American context to trace “how LGBT calls for “safe space” have been shaped by broader public safety initiatives … and the entwined histories of LGBT activism, urban development, and U.S. policy in relation to poverty and crime over the past fifty years.”
MICHAEL HENDRICKS was an early member of ACT UP Montreal and founding member of Lesbians and Gays Against Violence, who organized in response to the Sex Garage police raid in 1990. He is a cofounder of the Table de concertation gaie et lesbienne du Grand Montréal and of the Comité sur la violence. In 2004, he and his partner were the first same sex couple to be married in Quebec following an extended court battle. He presently works at Stella, l’amie de Mamie.
DAVID KAVANAGHT has worked at the Comité social Centre-sud, l’Atelier des lettres, and at QPIRG McGill. Most notably, he co-authored a report on police investigations into 20 incidents of citizens who died during police interventions. In 1996, for the one and only time in his life, he got arrested for being in a park outside opening hours. For 18 years, he held firm to this legal battle in order to better document social profiling.