Why Protesters In Montreal Were Marching Backwards

On May 17, a group of hundreds of people in Montreal  gathered for a protest and began to march -- backwards.

The LGTBQ+ rights nonprofit organization Fondation Émergence's was commemorating the International Day Against Homophobia. The reverse march echoed steps backwards in countries across the world, where far right politicians have introduced laws rolling back LGBTQ+ rights, and the rights of trans people in particular.

“Current times show us that nothing can be taken for granted and when the rights of a group of people are threatened ,then we open the door for a rollback of other fundamental rights,”  Fondation Émergence’s executive director Laurent Breaul said in a statement.

The group partnered with Havas Montréal on the campaign, which centered around a theme of “A rollback of LGBTQ+ rights is a setback for all society. It included online video documenting the march, as well as OOH posters and print components. Also included was publication of the “LGBTQphobic Agenda,” which documents and denounces 365 acts of violence or hatred against the LGBTQ+ community in 2023.



Campaign promotional materials cite the U.S. introducing over 600 anti-trans laws across state governments since 2023, as well as Uganda passing a law making “aggravated homosexuality” a crime punishable by death, and criminal laws targeting LGBTQ+ people in Iran and Russia..

The march follows an escalation of such attacks on anti-LGBTQ+ rights in Canada. In February, conservative Alberta Premier Danielle Smith announced sweeping policy changes targeting trans people, including requiring parental consent for students under age 15 to use pronouns other than those reflected on their birth certificates, forcefully outing such students and exposing them to heightened risk of abuse – changes which Health Minister Mark Holland characterized as “extremely dangerous” in a comment to Reuters.

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