Montreal is known for its strip clubs (full contact), swingers clubs (ruled legal by the Supreme Court of Canada), and bathhouses (of which the city is rumoured to have the highest concentration of in North America) — all of which contribute to the city’s well-deserved reputation as a “sin city.” Yet for a city as seemingly liberal as this there’s a surprising lack of places for women and trans folk to get laid.
So this past summer someone decided to organize a sex party for women and trans-identified people as an event during the alternative Pride festival, Pervers/Cite. Based on the rousing success and impressive attendance at this party, a collective of women and trans folk got together to organize regular sex parties in the Montreal area.
The first regular party was held Oct 18 in a loft in the Centre-Sud area of Montreal and was even more successful than the one this summer. Xtra.ca spoke to Kate Lamothe and Eli Mess, two of the founding members of the organizing collective Against The Wall/Contre Le Mur.
The impetus to create a regular event from a one-time thing was simple. “Places like this don’t exist — really anywhere in the world,” says Mess. “The few places that may exist aren’t really safe — particularly for trans-identified people.”
Lamothe expands on this a bit more. “We decided to open it up to trans-identifed people in general because a lot of trans folk and particularly transmen don’t have [their] ID’s changed [to their male-identified name]. They can’t actually access the bathhouses or they aren’t attracted to men … so why would they even go to a gay male bathhouse?”
Organizing a sex party proved to be more work than expected. The group spent a lot of time looking for a space that was both accessible and available, which is becoming difficult in an increasingly gentrifying Montreal. Once a space was secured (only a few days before the actual event) it was time to advertise and get the word out — which relied mostly on the internet and word-of-mouth. They posted messages on Facebook and Craigslist and they created a website for the event.
Attendance was surprisingly large, proving once again that a need is being fulfilled.
“We had a nice turnout and a lot of them were people who we didn’t know — which was really really super nice!” says Mess, sounding pleasantly surprised.
“This was different from the first party [in the summer] where it was more people within our sort of circle of… the radical queer scene,” says Lamothe. “Basically we knew who was going to show up at that one. But this one attracted some francophones and more trans women.”
In describing the ambiance of the party, both Lamothe and Mess spoke about a positive and upbeat night. “We had a game of spin-the-bottle going the entire night,” says Lamothe.
“There were turntables set up, and having DJs was awesome!” says Mess. “Some people were dancing and some people were making out or whatever.”
“At one point I’m pretty sure it turned into a dance party!” says Lamothe as they both laugh.
Of course the theme of the night was sex, and they describe the setup of the party. “There was a tent set up if people wanted a little more privacy, and we had a closed off dungeon room for people who were doing sort of harder play,” says Mess.
“We tried to veer the music towards the sexier side of things, so people didn’t dance too too much,” says Lamothe. “[We played] a lot of funk and soul… like Marvin Gaye and Prince!”
She notes that there was also an outdoor, no-sex “chillout” space, for people to have a smoke or take a break.
Attendees were required to read a code of conduct before entering the space. Organizers encouraged people to “check their shit at the door,” and they asked guests to keep substance use to a minimum and to practice safer sex. Organizers checked IDs for proof of age, and volunteer listeners (identifiable with pink bandanas) were there for anyone who needed to talk.
For some the party continued well after it ended.
“A lot of people ended up hooking up and going home together — which was really nice,” says Mess with a smile.
“I even felt like there was some budding relationships that came out of this night,” says Lamothe, noting that one of the group’s goals was to provide a social space as well a sexual space for women and trans people.
So what are the future plans for the collective? At this point they are shooting for another party in December — probably every other month at this point — with the ultimate goal of having a party every month. And they suggest that perhaps in the future they will organize one that includes everyone, including those that do not identify as women or trans.
Lamothe succinctly sums up the goal of the party: “basically we wanted to put the sex back in homosexuality!”
When asked if they wanted to add anything else, Mess deadpans, “well, just wanted to add that the organizers worked really hard at this and they really really deserve to get laid.”