Sunday, May 24, 2009

Save Montreal's Red Light District!

Ok, folks. Shit is going down right now in Montreal's red light district. As Angus developers move closer to the date of fruition on their proposed "development" of the Quartier des Spectacles, the livelihood of the area's sex workers and the existence of historic businesses on le coin are being seriously threatened.

As articulated by scholars and activitsts concerned with sex workers rights, "revitalizing" areas known for prostitution only serves to further isolate sex workers-- making them less accessible to their regular clientele and leaving them more vulnerable to violence. Furthermore, the threat to such sex positive, queer and trans friendly establishments like Cafe Cleopatre is an assault on Montreal's rich tradition of cabaret--one which, during the 1950s when sex reassignment surgery was illegal in Canada, provided a space for transsexual women to work and live as women.

Currently, there are two more public consultation meetings where you can have your say in regards to these proposed "developments."

"As indicated last night in their presentation and responses to various concerned citizens at the first public consultation meeting (organized through the Office of Public Consultation) Angus development does not care about retaining a relationship with the history of the red light district nor with merging their architecture with the surrounding remaining buildings. Angus dev. never intended for the term "cleaning up" to be attached to their efforts, as "this is a new epoch", they do not want to "re-vitalize" this sector but tear it down so that nothing remains of what it once was.

To keep this brief, I urge anyone who is concerned about cultural elitism, gentrification, sex workers rights, travesty theatre, historical architectural, expropriation etc etc. to GO to the next public consultation meetings held at The Hoilday Inn in Chinatown, 95 Viger Ouest and ask questions!" -Amy Rae Hudston

May 25, 7:00 p.m.
2-22 Sainte-Catherine - Architectural concept and urban insertion and heritage

May 26, 7:00 p.m.
Quadrilatère Saint-Laurent - Architectural concept and urban insertion and heritage

For more info on the history of cabaret in Montreal and its connection to the everyday lives of transsexual women during the 1950s and later, check out C'était du spectacle! by Viviane Namaste.

Want to learn more about sex worker's rights and the fight against gentrification and 'moral' revitalization efforts?

Deborah R. Brock- Making Work, Making Trouble: Prostitution as a Social Problem

Bound, Not Gagged

Image via Beavers Abroad on Flickr.

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