Sex Garage was an after-hours venue located in Montreal's Old Montreal
district that catered to
LGBT patrons in the late 1980s and early
1990s. The venue is most known for a 1990 police raid that has
since been referred to as "Montreal's Stonewall".
1 Police raid
5 External links
In the early morning of July 16, 1990 police officers raided the venue
under the premise that it was illegally selling alcohol, a tactic that
professors Jason B. Crawford and Karen Herland stated was frequently
used by officers to harass
Montreal gay and lesbian businesses during
this time period. The police would later assert that they had also
been responding to an anonymous noise complaint and that the
organizers had requested help, claims that photographer and Sex Club
patron Linda Dawn Hammond has stated were false. Officers were
initially unable to find any alcohol and left the premises but
returned about 15 minutes later, at which point they forced Sex
Garage's 400 patrons to evacuate. Sex Garage's patrons began
leaving the venue, only to find a large police presence facing the
venue's only exit door. Hammond stated that there were an estimated 32
to 40 officers and 16 police vehicles, some of which were from a
police station outside of the area. Some of the patrons fled upon
seeing the police while others watched the officers start to regroup
into a battalion formation. Patrons were not allowed to return to
Sex Garage to retrieve their possessions or look for friends.
Once in formation the police began to heckle the patrons by shouting
homophobic insults and making suggestive gestures, which the patrons
responded to by chanting slogans such as "We're here, we're queer,
we're proud of it!" At this point the officers began removing or
covering their name tags and badge IDs and started trying to steer
patrons towards Beaver Hall Hill, where more officers were waiting. It
is believed that one partygoer, Bruce Buck, was the first person to be
assaulted after he tried to go back into the venue to retrieve his
leather jacket. He was severely beaten and arrested for "assaulting
a police officer". After this point the officers began beating the
During this entire process Hammond shot photographs of everything, a
process that was somewhat hampered as she was only carrying a camera
with a 28 mm wide angle lens, which required her to be in close
proximity to take detailed photographs. She stated that the police
did not initially stop her from taking photographs, which she believed
was done because "the police may have speculated that I could be taken
at any time, and I may as well provide THEM with the
documentation." However eventually the police began pursuing
Hammond, at which point she managed to throw her camera to another
patron as they were fleeing the scene.
The following day Hammond's pictures were published in The Gazette and
La Presse. Video footage of the raid was also found and released,
which showed officers using homophobic and derogatory language while
physically assaulting members of the crowd, which has since been used
to deem the raid as a targeted assault against Montreal's LGBT
community. By the assault's end eight people were arrested.
Hours after the raid victims of the assault, along with other citizens
of Montreal, held a sit-in at
Saint Catherine Street
Saint Catherine Street to protest the
night's events. The group demanded several things, including a
public inquiry and the removal of any charges against the
patrons. The protesters disbanded after they were promised that
police chief Alain St-Germain would meet them the following day at
downtown Station 25. When St-Germain did not appear the following day
protesters held a demonstration, only for about 70 police officers to
attack the protesters. Forty-eight protesters were arrested and one
was hospitalized due to police brutality.
Due to the violence inflicted during the raid and during the resulting
protests, the civil rights group Lesbians and Gays Against Violence
was formed and several members became part of the
minority relations committee. The brutality of the assault against
Sex Garage patrons and protesters is also credited with bringing
LGBT community together and with alerting other citizens
of the unfair treatment of gays and lesbians.
The event led to the creation of
Divers/Cité in 1993. Divers/Cité
served as the city's primary
LGBT pride festival until repositioning
itself as a general arts and music festival in 2006.
The yearly Pervers/Cité, an alternative culture event organized as a
reaction to Divers/Cité, has named one of their stages the Sex Garage
stage after the venue.
^ Bowen, Arabella; Watson, John Shandy (2004). The Rough Guide to
Montréal. Rough Guides. p. 179. ISBN 9781843531951.
Retrieved 26 March 2015.
^ a b "Montreal's Pervers/Cité Festival raises finger to
Divers/Cité, Black & Blue and Gay Pride".
Retrieved 26 March 2015.
^ a b c d e Crawford, Jason B.; Herland, Karen (Winter 2014). "Sex
Garage: Unspooling Narratives, Rethinking Collectivities". Journal of
Canadian Studies. 48 (1): 106–131. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
^ a b c d e f Hammond, Linda Dawn. "The Police Attack". Linda Dawn
Hammond. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
^ a b c d e f g h Burnett, Richard. "Montreal's
Sex Garage raid: A
watershed moment". Daily Xtra. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
^ a b c d Warner, Tom (2002). Never Going Back: A History of Queer
Activism in Canada. University of Toronto Press. p. 292.
ISBN 9780802084606. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
^ "Raid united city's
Montreal Gazette, June 27,
Photographs of the protest at The Ottawa Citizen
Linda Dawn Hammond's account of the raid
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