Pride Season: Councillor Anitra Bostock on Community

June officially kicks off Pride season in Canada. Celebrations and events are led by 2SLGBTQI+ communities across the country throughout the year, but particularly in the summer. In Westmount, we highly value the importance of inclusivity within our community.

Councilor Anitra Bostock, member of the 2SLGBTQI+ community, shared her experience and thoughts on inclusivity in Westmount in 2023. Discover or rediscover her story below. Happy reading !

Of the many things that make Westmount special, the tight-knit nature of our community stands out on top of the list. “Our community is caring and kind. We can see somebody at the grocery store for many years and smile and wave and know who they are. It’s rare nowadays to have this sense of community in a big city.” Those are the words of City Councillor Anitra Bostock, who finds community as central to her experience as a proud Westmount resident and member of the 2SLGBTQI+ community.

Anitra Bostock has sat on Westmount City Council since 2017 and she took on her first role at the City as a high school student, coaching soccer. Her roots here run deep, as she grew up and met her partner of over 15 years in this city. Together, they have a home in Westmount about which Anitra says, “I can think of 8 households on my block alone who are in the 2SLGBTQI+ community — and that’s just 1 street of many. We’re very lucky in Westmount. The vocal negatives are not the majority. Mostly, everyone gets along and no one is made to feel different.”

While it does not define her, Anitra says she identifies as lesbian or gay, when asked. “I never felt I had to hide it. It’s not something I advertise, but it’s nice to be able to offer representation. I would hope that people would feel represented by me at the political level,” relates Councillor Bostock. Of course, her story of feeling seen and supported throughout her life is not everyone’s story, but shouldn’t it be? It’s in our power as a small community to ensure everyone feels welcome to be themselves at all stages of life and regardless of their gender, their sexual orientation or their distinctions.

Reflecting on Pride, Anitra says, “For me it’s about progress and recognition. The generation before me took action for us to have a place at the table.” Now that she is at the table, Anitra is happy to pay it forward by representing and advocating for her community, both that of Westmount and, more subtly, the 2SLGBTQI+. Her advice to everyone is: “Go to Pride events. Families should bring their children, everybody should go at some point, because it’s a beautiful experience that demystifies what Pride is all about. It’s about ensuring that our voice is heard and that our community is recognized. It’s about creating allies outside the community who can come to these events and say it was a great party, but also that they actually learned something.”

This year, the Montréal Pride Festival will take place from August 1 to 11.