Arts & Entertainment
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Montreal literary festival fights homophobia

Blue Metropolis launches anti-homophobia web page

Words have the power to transform lives, says William St-Hilaire, president of Blue Metropolis Foundation. Credit: Richard Burnett

Montreal’s Blue Metropolis Foundation has launched a new web platform to help fight homophobia, especially among young people and in schools.

The Foundation – whose 15th annual Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival runs April 22 to 28, 2013 – developed the web platform under the direction of author Annie Heminway, a New York University professor who’s a long-term Blue Met collaborator.
“We’re doing this because I personally believe words have the power to transform lives,” says Blue Met president William St-Hilaire, who also cites her late gay cousin “Jean-Yvan” as one of the inspirations behind the foundation’s new mission to help fight homophobia. “I was also a kid at risk and the journal I wrote stopped me from breaking down. My experience is that words can save your life.”
Blue Met’s new “Homophobie” platform suggests books to read and features excerpts, videos and links to lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans support groups and resources. An English version of this page will soon be up. The project will also organize queer events with such authors as Paul Yee and Ivan E Coyote. And with the help of Gai Écoute it will combat homophobia in schools.
“This project is a new way to reach more people, gay and straight,” says Gai Écoute president Laurent McCutcheon. “Many kids are intellectuals who like to read books – they don’t all play hockey!”
The non-profit Blue Metropolis Foundation is actively seeking new partners to sponsor the project, as well as its new LGBT literary track. Blue Met will inaugurate its LGBT programming when internationally acclaimed gay author Edmund White is feted at the 15th annual festival in April 2013.
“Edmund White is a literary pillar, in the gay community and otherwise,” says Gregory McCormick, Blue Met’s programming director. “He’ll also have a lot to say about this project and help spread the word.”
BMF Homophobia page
(currently available only in French)
Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival
April 22-28, 2013