Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Killing of Alain Brosseau

They lit up the Alexandra bridge in Ottawa tonight, to remember Alain Brosseau.

The straight guy who was murdered on the bridge because his killers thought he was gay.

The last thing that his murderers said to him was, 'I like your shoes,'" Stewart said. "And then they let him go."

And they remembered how his death changed everything.

"I think the fact that he wasn't gay meant that it could happen to anyone."

In a city where gay people were attacked all the time and nobody cared.

Earlier that month, the Ottawa Citizen ran an article explaining that there would be no inquest into the number of men who had "fallen off cliffs" that summer, all near Major's Hill Park. The headline of the article emphatically quoted the chief regional coroner, declaring that an "inquiry won't solve cliff deaths."

"We weren't falling from cliffs, and they knew it — we were hurled over. If you were lucky, you grabbed onto something and broke your fall."

In Ottawa, Canada. Only twenty years ago. They were throwing gay men off cliffs and nobody cared. Not even the police.

Which is why I found this particularly moving.

On Friday evening, 300 people, including Gatineau and Ottawa police officers, gathered at the amphitheatre of the National Gallery to pay tribute to Alain Brosseau, and the changes sparked by his senseless death.

Because the same hate that killed Alain Brosseau is still out there.

"People are still insulted in the street, people are still assaulted on the street, people are still killed."

It happened to me. It could happen to you. As long as these crazed violent homophobes roam the earth it could happen to ANYONE.

So I'm glad they lit up the Alexandra bridge for Alain tonight.

He was a straight guy. But his tragic death served to make life a little safer for gay people .

And we will always remember him...


h/t Slap Upside the Head.


  1. Anonymous3:45 PM

    connaissez-vous s.v.p la date de naissance d'alain? quel était le nom de sont père et de sa mère. Leur fils a disparu il y a plusieurs années et sans nouvelle depuis.... je suis une amie des parents ... est-ce lui? aidez-moi par ces détails svp.... merci beaucoup.... mon e-mail Peut-être que vous êtes la fin de la peine des parents merci beaucoup

  2. Anonymous12:49 PM

    J'ai travaillé avec Alain pendant environ deux ans à Ottawa vers 1986-87. Selon un article du Ottawa Citizen du 11 août 2014, Alain avait 33 ans au moment de son décès le 11 août 1989. Si mes calculs sont bons, il serait né en 1956. Toutefois, je n'ai pas la date précise.