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Kai playing his Fierté Au Quartier Chinois’ mix underneath the Arbre Des Souhaits at the Place Des Souhaits in Montreal’s Chinatown. Photo by Brahmanda Mahaputra.


A Celebration of Turning One-Year, and Being Beautifully Queer

Words by Shelly Bahng
Photos courtesy of kimura byol-nathalie lemoyne, Bramanda Mahaputra
September 27th, 2021

A grandpa dancing to the DJ mix, swaying his hands from side to side; kids with their mouths full of food run past vendor booths as their parents and elders – seated and standing beneath the branches of the venue's massive "l'arbre à souhait" tree – engage in both casual and serious community discussions; adults and soon-to-be-adults chat with new and old friends in the light summer breeze. This was the scene at Place des Souhaits on Sunday, September 12th. Celebrating the one-year anniversary of Sticky Rice, and the queer community as a whole, the event was a nod to community, togetherness, pride, and some truly immaculate style.

Attendees enjoyed a full afternoon of walking tours, Asian street food, and performances at the 2021 Fierté au Quartier Chinois event. Photos courtesy of kimura byol-nathalie lemoyne.

While COVID-19 has made socializing feel a bit nerve-wracking, the sense of familiarity was palpable. Whether you knew the person or simply followed them on social media, everyone felt like family—the feeling of kinship arising naturally in a space where most of the faces resembled yours in some way shape or form.

As queer Asian children, it is easy to assume that all of our elders would disapprove of us. Even as I got dressed that day, there was a little voice inside me wondering if I should censor my body or my queerness around those at the event. In my head, there were two different outfits planned: one that would please my queer peers and one that would be “acceptable” to the Asian elders. But why would I assume that my elders wouldn’t enjoy the way I express myself? Why do we forget that our lineage has queerness, has sex-positivity, and a diversity of bodies? They would be proud of my existence and the way I choose to exist. To quote Komodo, the host of the event: “Pride is [...] about honouring and respecting queer heritage, to know that there have been generations of people before us who have paved the way so that we can live our truths today.” Their description of how their mother translated the word pride—“ respecting your own rights, your own personality, your existence and your own truth”, touched me deeply.

From left to right: Die Nasty; Hua Li; Komodo, Kai and Die Nasty; Komodo embracing Die Nasty; Frantz Lin; Beau Gomez & Thiên-Thi Nguyen; Lil Waterboi and JTONDABEAT; Mando; Miranda Chan; Mollygum. Photos courtesy of kimura byol-nathalie lemoyne.

Frantz Lin and Kai started the event off with a bang with their DJ sets that matched everyone's excitement. Hua Li blessed us with her performance, reminding us that to be vulnerable is to be powerful. Beau Gomez, with his honeyed voice accompanied by Thiên-Thi Nguyen playing bass, melted the crowd into a state of romance. The ribbons on the tree at the centre of the Place Des Souhaits seemed to sway, matching the rhythm of his mellow voice. His performance was quickly followed by Lil Waterboi, accompanied by his friends JT and Mando, all of whom brought their daring spirit to the stage. Then, Miranda Chan hypnotized the crowd with her dance performance, showing just how the body can move so freely with just the right amount of control, all while inviting people to join her in dance.

Finally, Mollygum closed off the wonderful day with her rad presence and a mix featuring all-Asian producers. The crowd danced collectively; any heaviness left in our chest was released. We danced freely, with lighter hearts and whole souls, all under the spell of her mysterious smile, which appeared on her face whenever a transition to a new track surprised us.

We underestimate the power of feeling whole, safe, heard, and loved in a crowd. This event proved that while we are strong together, we should be validated and celebrated as individuals—no matter your country of birth or sexual identity. It was a day full of joy that will surely be remembered.

More friends and family at the Fierté au Quartier Chinois event. Photos courtesy of kimura byol-nathalie lemoyne.


This event could not have been made possible without the help of our partners Asian Night Market, Rising Youth, Pervers/cité, Centre Communautaire LGBTQ+ De Montréal, BAHAY Collective.


Shelly Bahng is a Korean writer, artist and intuitive based in Tiohtià:ke/Montreal invested in telling stories about loneliness and togetherness. She also has a podcast with her soul-sharing roommate Thai Hwang called Before We End.


kimura byol-nathalie lemoyne is an agendered, adopted, Korean-born, Belgium-raised activist, archivist and artist.





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