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Laurent McCutcheon Prize

Crédit photo : Claude Guillet

Who was Laurent-McCutcheon?

Laurent-McCutcheon, who left us in 2019, was the founding president of Fondation Émergence and the creator of the National Day Against Homophobia, which became the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. Since the 1970s, he has been a key player in the recognition of sexual diversity and gender identity. Asserting his leadership, he also testified before several parliamentary committees and regularly appears in the media. Refusing any remuneration, he exercised all his functions voluntarily.

Senior public service executive

Laurent-McCutcheon, who passed away in 2019, was the founding president of Fondation Emergence and the creator of the National Day Against Homophobia, which became the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. Since the 1970s, he has been a key player in the recognition of sexual diversity and gender identity. Asserting his leadership, he has also testified before several parliamentary commissions and regularly appears in the media. Refusing any remuneration, he carried out all of his functions on a voluntary basis.


Community involvement

In parallel to his professional life, in the early 1970s, he became involved in activism by publicly expressing his homosexual orientation. He participated in the first street marches in Montreal, facing hostility and disapproval. As a witness and actor in the evolution of gay and lesbian rights, he was involved in all the battles. He also intervened before several parliamentary commissions. From 1982 to 2004, he presided over the destiny of Gai Écoute, a telephone help and information service, and was actively involved in defending the rights of homosexuals. In 2000, he created Fondation Émergence to ensure de facto equality for homosexuals. From 1997 to 2002, he was responsible for socio-political action at the Table de concertation des gais et lesbiennes du Québec. In 2000, he founded the Fondation Émergence and in 2003 created the International Day Against Homophobia. He initiated the creation of the Coalition québécoise pour la reconnaissance des conjoints et conjointes de même sexe and was the spokesperson for the campaign leading to the adoption of the Act respecting de facto spouses, which came into force on June 16, 1999. He is also involved in the fight leading to the Quebec civil union as well as the Civil Marriage Act of Canada which came into force in June 2005. He is well known in his community and is a regular guest on public affairs programs.


Promotion of rights and freedoms

Since 1973, he has been openly living his homosexual orientation and is a committed activist with the Association pour la défense des droits des gais et des lesbiennes du Québec (ADGLQ), where he has initiated several campaigns against prejudice against homosexuals, including Ceci est une tapette and Fifi c'est le nom d'un chien. He presented briefs to the Parliamentary Commission on Institutions at the Quebec National Assembly, to the Standing Committee on Justice of the House of Commons of Canada, to the Commission des droits et libertés de la personne et de la jeunesse and to the Régie régionale de la Santé et des services sociaux.


Promotion of rights and freedoms

Gai écoute, the listening and information service for gays and lesbians in Quebec, was established in 1980 by a small group of volunteers. In 1982, Laurent-McCutcheon became its president. The organization was incorporated, obtained significant funding and expanded significantly. The services initially offered a few hours a day in the evening in the Montreal area became free services throughout Quebec, 365 days a year. It offers Gay Line the infrastructure of Gay Listen to reach out to English-speaking communities. Adapting to new technologies has allowed Gay Listen to reach new clienteles and respond to their needs. Under his presidency, Gay Listen has experienced a remarkable growth thanks to its many achievements:


  • First gay and lesbian organization to be recognized as a charitable organization and authorized to issue charitable tax receipts.

  • First public awareness campaigns about homosexual orientation, including some on buses.

  • First humorous campaigns to raise public awareness of homosexual realities: Ceci est une tapette, Fifi c'est le nom d'un chien, La vie en rose, Mort de rire, etc.

  • After a long battle, Gay Helpline is listed in the student directories of high schools and in the moral support pages of Quebec telephone directories.

  • Creation of the logos for Gai Écoute, Fondation Émergence and the International Day Against Homophobia.

  • Conducted surveys conducted by Leger Marketing showing that Gay Help Phone had an enviable 50% awareness rate among the population.

  • Technological shift started with the launch of one of the first LGBT websites in Quebec. It then favoured the addition of support services via the Internet, e-mail, private chat and a bank of specialized resources that have since become accessible online.

  • The first public figures take part in the Gay Pride Parade, imposing on them rules prohibiting visibility of a partisan nature. Since then, an impressive number of political and artistic personalities have participated in the parade alongside the LGBT communities.

  • He convinces public figures to become spokespersons for Gai Écoute: comedian Yves Jacques, author Michel Marc Bouchard, hosts Daniel Pinard and Dany Turcotte, actor and director René Richard Cyr, comedian Éric Bernier, host Monique Giroux and humorist Alex Perron.

  • Creation in 2012 of the Registry of homophobic acts and writing of the report L'homophobie dénoncée.



  • Author and presenter on behalf of Gai Écoute of the opening brief for the hearings held by the Commission des droits et libertés de la personne which led to the report From Illegality to Equality.

  • Author and presenter in 1996 of a brief before the Commission des institutions to have section 137 of the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms repealed.

  • Author and presenter in 1998, before the Human Rights Tribunal, of a brief entitled Revendications des personnes homosexuelles.

  • Author and presenter in 2003 of a brief before a parliamentary committee of the House of Commons on same-sex marriage entitled Oui je le veux.

  • Author and presenter in March 2012, along with a listener from Gay Voices, of a brief to the Culture and Education Committee entitled The Bullying We Can't See that changed the definition of what bullying is.

  • Author and presenter of a brief to the House of Commons Health Committee in March 2001, entitled A Reasonable Blood Donation Policy.

  • Author and presenter of a brief on April 3, 2008 to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health on the Safety of Human Cells, Tissues and Organs for Transplantation Regulations.

  • Speech at the MSM Exclusion Criteria for Cells, Tissues, Organs, and Blood Forum in Ottawa, 2010.


Quebec policy against homophobia

He initiated the idea of a Quebec policy to fight homophobia. He obtained the formation of a working group whose mandate was to propose solutions to the Quebec government, initiated by the Ministère des Relations avec les citoyens, which brought together representatives of the main ministries and organizations of the Quebec government and interested groups. He was designated as the spokesperson for community groups, unions and the research community. In 2005, the file was transferred to the responsibility of the Quebec Minister of Justice. The Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse ensured the continuation of the work. In March 2007, the CDPDJ published the report De l'égalité juridique à l'égalité sociale - Vers une stratégie nationale de lutte, contre l'homophobie (From Legal Equality to Social Equality - Towards a National Strategy to Combat Homophobia) and, in December 2009, the Quebec government adopted the Quebec Policy to Combat Homophobia. From the beginning to the end of the long process, he was a spokesperson, interlocutor and advisor.



At the end of the 1970s, he became interested in the link between homosexuality and suicide. When the Quebec government mandated Professor Jacques C. Grégoire Ph. D. of the University of Montreal to conduct a bibliographic research on suicide, he met the professor and invited him to study the relationship between homosexuality and suicide. In January 1980, Professor Grégoire published the report Suicide and Theoretical Considerations. He stated that he had found no research anywhere in the world that addressed this relationship. Laurent McCutcheon proposes and obtains from the Ministry of Health and Social Services to fund a research on the suicide of gay youth conducted by Professor Michel Dorais in collaboration with Simon Louis Lajeunesse who will publish Death or Fif with VLB editor in 2000.He will obtain in 1998, from the Minister of Health and Social Services, that sexual orientation be included in the Quebec strategy of action against suicide entitled S'entraider pour la vie <>, a publication of the Quebec government. Initiator and coordinator of a major think tank on suicide prevention among homosexuals, he will result in the report L'urgence d'agir, published in 2004 by Gai Écoute. He initiated a process with the Coroner's Office to have sexual orientation taken into account in suicide investigations. Speaker at the Grand forum on suicide prevention held in Trois-Rivières on September 26, 2012 where he explains that Homosexuality is not a reason to kill oneself.


Fondation Émergence

  • In 2000, in order to move from legal equality to social equality, he created Fondation Émergence, giving it the educational mission of fighting prejudice and homophobia. The Foundation develops annual campaigns against homophobia. It has led campaigns in support of civil marriage, promoted the Quebec Policy against Homophobia, and is interested in the condition of seniors and homophobia in cultural communities.

  • He created the school education campaigns Permettez-moi d'être heureux/heureuse in 2001 and Ça s'attrape pas! Fear of what? in 2002.

  • In 2003, he launched the campaign for the first day against homophobia entitled Shocking for whom? This campaign was an extraordinary success.

  • In 2008, he set up the program Pour que vieillir soit gai, which includes the Charte de bientraitance des personnes LGBTQ+.

  • In 2009, he launched a campaign against homophobia aimed at cultural communities


International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

From Fondation Émergence, in 2003, he set up the National Day Against Homophobia. This idea quickly spread outside Quebec, first to Belgium and then to France. May 17 then became the International Day Against Homophobia, to which transphobia was added in 2014. Laurent McCutcheon is the creator of the annual awareness campaigns conducted from 2003 to 2013, many of which have had international repercussions. This award bears his name since 2014. On the occasion of the 2010 International Day Against Homophobia, at the invitation of the parish of Saint-Pierre-Apôtre in Montreal, he gave a homily entitled Letter to Jesus, which received considerable media attention. Other parishes subsequently invited him to address their congregations in this way.


Creation of the Laurent-McCutcheon Sexual Diversity Fund

In 2015, he created within the Foundation of Greater Montreal the Sexual Diversity Fund that bears his name. The objective of this fund is to provide a structuring and long-term means of contributing to the well-being of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities. The Foundation of Greater Montreal ensures the professional management of gifts and donations while offering a guarantee of sustainability. The fund is open to all individuals and institutions wishing to support the LGBTQ+ communities


Awards and distinctions

He was named Personality of the Year by the gay magazines Fugues and RG, recipient of the Prix Réjean-Marier awarded by the Association québécoise de prévention du suicide in 2001, recipient of the Grand Prix Arc-en-ciel in 2003 for his exceptional contribution to the advancement of the homosexual condition, named Personality of the Week in 2005 by the major Quebec daily La Presse, recipient of the 2005 Volunteer of the Year Award from the Quebec Gay Chamber of Commerce. In 2007, he received the Rights and Freedom Award from the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse (CDPDJ). In 2010, he was selected for the interview series Le Devoir c'est moi. Also in 2010, he received the Prix de la justice du Québec "for having distinguished himself in the social and legal recognition of homosexuals, same-sex couples and other sexual diversities".


Other implications

  • From 1997 to 2002, he was vice-president responsible for socio-political action at the Table de concertation des lesbiennes et gais du Québec

  • Member of the organizing committee and speaker at the Fiertés cultural conference held in Paris in the spring of 1998.

  • President of the jury of the Prix Arc-en-ciel, 1995 edition of the Table de concertation des gais et lesbiennes du Québec.

  • Responsible for the workshop on education during the Estates General of the Gay and Lesbian Community of Quebec held from March 1 to 3, 1996 at the University of Quebec in Montreal.

  • Consultant to the Ministry of Health and Social Services for the implementation of the ministerial policy entitled L'adaptation des services de santé et des services sociaux aux réalités gaies et lesbiennes.

  • In 1999, he initiated the creation of the Coalition for the Recognition of Same-Sex Spouses. He was the spokesperson for the campaign that led to the adoption of Bill 32 on the recognition of de facto unions by the Quebec National Assembly. This was the first experience of concerted action between gay and lesbian community organizations and those of civil society, the central unions and the Fédération des femmes du Québec.

  • In 2002, he coordinated the demands for education at the Commission des droits de la personne et de la jeunesse and promoted a symposium on the rights of LGBTQ+ youth.

  • From 2003 to 2008, he was the first representative of the gay and lesbian communities at the Conseil régional de développement de l'île de Montréal and, from 2004 to 2007, at the Conférence régionale des élus.

  • In October 2005, he was a speaker at the Health Conference in Halifax, organized by the Canadian Rainbow Health Coalition, where he presented the project of a national policy to fight homophobia.

  • Speaker and member of working groups on the preparation of the International Conference on Human Rights held in Montreal in 2006 during the 1st World Outgames.

  • From 2005 to 2008, guest speaker at annual training sessions for the Conférence des juges de la Cour du Québec.

  • On April 3, 2008, testified before the Canadian government's Health Committee regarding the Safety of Human Cells, Tissues and Organs for Transplantation Regulations.

  • From 2010 to 2015, member of the Table de concertation of the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse.

  • Since 2010, member of the monitoring committee on racial and illegal profiling of the Montreal Police Department.

  • From 2011 to 2014, citizen representative on the Sainte-Marie Local Revitalization Committee.

  • On November 16 and 17, 2012, speaker at the international colloquium Vieillir LGBT organized by the Centre LGBT de Paris. View the proceedings of the symposium.

  • In 2015, creation of the Laurent McCutcheon Sexual Diversity Fund, a fund of the Foundation of Greater Montreal.

  • Founding President in 2000 of Fondation Émergence and served as Governor until his death.

  • Since 2012, he has been president and treasurer of the Association of Friends of Médéric-Martin Park.

  • Since 2014, he has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Association québécoise pour le droit de mourir dans la dignité.

  • Since 2017, he is a member of the Council of the Order of Montreal.



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Montreal, QC, H1W 0A1

(438) 384-1058

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