Since the demonstrations against marriage for all in 2013, the French LGBTQ + are more and more numerous in Montreal. They discover a tolerant and open society, especially in terms of parenthood. Interview with Mona Greenbaum, Executive Director of the LGBTQ+ Family Coalition of Quebec, an association for the defense of family rights.
Is there a significant proportion of French homoparental families established in Montreal?
The French have been, regardless of gender or sex identity, very numerous in Montreal for years. Concerning the LGBTQ+, I don’t have precise statistics, but, within the board of directors of our association, they alone represent a quarter of the members. The great mobilizations against marriage for all in France in 2013 marked a turning point: many French homosexuals wanted to escape this environment considered insecure and to come and settle with us. Today, this “wave” born of La Manif pour tous does not seem to be drying up. Even if the economic factor should not be neglected in this craze: many are also attracted by the prospect of easily finding a job here.
What are the more specific reasons that drive this LGBTQ+ community to come and settle in Quebec?
It is obviously a combination of personal reasons that push to emigrate. Nevertheless, the promise of finding easier access to parenthood in Quebec for lesbian and gay couples is a factor of attraction: in the context of medically assisted procreation, the two mothers are immediately recognized as parents, without the need for go through adoption. As for surrogacy, it is not yet legally framed in Quebec – I hope it is thanks to a bill that should be adopted in 2023, but it is not illegal either. . Couples can therefore go to the United States or to the neighboring Canadian province, Ontario, to have recourse to it, and to regularize their parental situation once they return to Quebec. Young French LGBTQ+ people wanting to start a family are eager for all this information.
Does this mean that Quebec, and Montreal in particular, is an El Dorado for homoparental families?
Everything is far from rosy with us! Physical violence or homophobic insults are probably less frequent than in France, but Quebec society is not immune to prejudice. In a recent study of the challenges faced by LGBTQ+ parents, a quarter of them said that their own parents did not welcome the announcement of the arrival of their grandson or granddaughter. They also complain, in the context of their child’s schooling, of continuing to experience the pressure of “heterocisnormality” – the presumption of “normality” still resting on the heterosexual model.
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“The promise of finding easier access to parenthood in Quebec for lesbian and gay couples is a pull factor”
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