“GENDER B(L)ENDER came out of the desire to create a safer(r) space for queer and trans performers, artists, art-lovers and amateurs, of any generation, of any age, of any body type, where we could live our true selves and express our true selves in a space that is supportive, kind and loving. It came out of the desire to create a welcoming stage that I was never given myself when I first moved to this city…”
— Kama La Mackerel, founder, coordinator & host of GENDER B(L)ENDER
An initiative that began in May 2013, with the support of Café L’Artère, Coopérative de Solidarité, GENDER B(L)ENDER is Montréal’s only queer open stage. The event was held every last Friday of the month, with the aim of creating a safe, welcoming, supportive & loving stage for queer and trans community members to explore their artistic inclinations, try their voices at a mic, and express their self and freedom. The event used to be held at Café l’Artère, in the format of cabaret nights, but after l’Artère closed, the event moved to l’Euguélionne, librairie féministe, and was held in a rather intimate, acoustic setting. GENDER B(L)ENDER has run for 5 years between May 2013 and May 2018, and is now on a hiatus.
Any form of art is welcomed at GENDER B(L)ENDER: song, poetry, spoken-word, story-telling, stand-up, puppetry, drag… Since it’s first edition, there has been more than 40 editions of GENDER B(L)ENDER, meaning that a total of 600+ performances that have been presented by members of the LGBTQ+ communities on this stage. The majority of the performers are Queer and Trans, People of Colour (QTPOC), and non-binary and trans people.
The stage is open for established artists to experiment, try new pieces or simply find a warm and loving audience to witness their performance; as it is open for amateurs who may have little or no performance experience. Drag, gender-bending, gender-fucking are appreciated, as is anything that pushes boundaries. Performances are encouraged in any language. The audience is encouraged to show love, warmth and care, and to mingle!
While no-one is booed or kicked off stage no matter ones talent, GENDER B(L)ENDER also aims to be a safe(r) space for audience and performers alike. Therefore, no oppressive language or behavior is tolerated, and transphobic, homophobic, racist, sexist and other types of oppressive behavior/language is not accepted. Performers are encouraged to issue trigger warnings should their performances have the potential to be triggering to the audience. Performers are also asked to ask the audience for their consent beforehand, should they require audience participation as part of their performance.