Images and text © Linda Dawn Hammond 1990 / 2000.
As soon as I had the films back, I went with a friend to the newspapers. La Presse immediately processed them and made contacts. I learned a lesson in how to deal with the media from this. A journalist went over the contacts with me, asking many questions - and I never even thought for a moment that I was "on record". That morning my unedited thoughts were quoted liberally throughout the article along with 2 photographs- and I was unintentionally "outed" through a mistranslation... Nevertheless, La Presse was by far more receptive and supportive than the Gazette. The latter even had an article offered to them by an eyewitness who worked for the Gazette as a stringer- and yet were still hesitating about reporting the attack at all! I couldn't understand it. They were claiming lack of space due to the 4 day old Oka crisis.
My friend Tina and I consulted. She happened to mention to me as an aside that Station 25 had been the principal perpetrator of the attack- another thing I learned to observe after this- before SEXGARAGE I had been completely unaware that police indicated their stations of origin on their vehicles! I said to her that as it appeared evident that what the cops found problematic was the notion of people of the same sex loving each other, an idea would be to stage a "love-in" in front of this Station 25. It would be confrontational yet non-violent. As a photojournalist, I also knew that the juxtaposition of gay people making out and cops being compelled to watch was an irresistable media event. We phoned a girl suggested to me by Tina, and posed the question- "If we have a love-in in front of Station 25 tomorrow as a protest, will you be there?" "Sure," she agreed immediately. On the basis of this, we went back to the Gazette reporter and offered, "By the way, did you know we're holding a love-in in front of Station 25 tomorrow?"This was greeted with an enthusiastic response. "Oh really? Well, if there's going to be a follow-up, then that's different! We're definately interested! " Not only did the Gazette then agree to run a story and photo, but told us that they would arrange to inform the other media for us- both print and electronic! All that was left to do was convince the community to participate in it (something we didn't tell the Gazette, of course!)
There was a meeting at a lesbian bar, Standing, late on Sunday night for the people who'd been involved in SEXGARAGE. A sit-in had already occurred in the gay village at 9 pm, which had been conducted peacefully. Three demands had been given to the MUC- to drop charges against the 8 people arrested at Sexgarage, to hold an inquiry, and give gays and lesbians a seat on the police department's minority relations board. People weren't really up to another protest so soon, and were busy planning other strategies. I got up and explained a bit about the Gazette "promise" we'd made... and why. Someone shouted out impatiently, " But we don't want to make out! We're angry!" I tried to convince them by saying, "You don't have to make out. You can do whatever you want once you're there. The fact is, they've promised to arrange all the media- so you might as well use it- take advantage of it." I left the meeting that night with no idea if more than three of us would even show up at Station 25 the next day.
To the Love-in at Station 25
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