The Montréal Pride Festival, recently announced the appointments of Esther Léa Ledoux as Chairperson and of Moe Hamandi as Vice-Chairperson of its Board of Directors.
Esther Léa Ledoux
“You may kill me with your hatefulness, but still, like air, I’ll rise” — Maya Angelou
Co-chair of Egides and Member Governor for Fondation Émergence since 2018, Esther Léa immigrated to Canada in 2009. She holds a master’s degree in management sciences, as well as a specialization in accounting, fraud detection and prevention. Ledoux also holds a solid 15 years of experience in internal audit and management control.
Activist and defender of human rights, she fights against racism, in favor of a better representation and inclusion of African, Caribbean and black visible minorities in society.
A woman of passion and commitment, she also regularly gives her time to volunteering work, whether it is homework help for young people or support visits to the elderly. Her love for community involvement back to her queer improvisation troupe days, back in Vancouver, where she lived until 2012. Moving to Montréal in 2013, she got involved with GRIS Montréal and St. Peter the Apostle Church, for which she has been a volunteer since 2014.
She wrote for Lez Spread the Word, and treasurer and then president until 2017 of the Lesbian Solidarity Centre (LSC), where she helped redesign the Lesbian Day of Visibility (LOD). In 2015, she became a community representative on the board of Fierté Montréal, the first black person to sit on the board, and then interim president on November 18, 2020.
At Montréal Pride, Esther Léa has at heart the issues of LGBTQI francophones who are not represented internationally and do not have a platform for discussion, advice and legitimacy. She wants to ensure that diversity is anchored within the organization and better representativeness of all communities in the festival’s programming.
“I vividly remember the day when the Lebanese in me dared to climb your stage to come out to his family. You who were born by and for the LGBTQI2S+ communities, you will remain the fruit of our cultural, sexual and gender differences. You are more than a festival, you are Montreal Pride Habibi.”
The first representative of the Lebanese-Canadian community to become a Director of the Montréal Pride Board and a Governor of the Fondation Émergence, Moe holds a Master’s degree in Economics from the Université de Montréal.
His research is primarily focused on the connexion between economic development, socio-cultural identities and religious beliefs. He acts as Senior Director, Sales, Consulting and partner services at the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion and is an advocate for LGBTQI2S+ rights involved at several levels including within our communities and in the business community.
He began partnering with Montréal Pride in both an artistic and community sense in 2016 when he came out while performing on stage. In 2017, the artistic scientist created the first multicultural LGBTQI2S+ show called “Ethnie-Cité” for Montréal’s 375th anniversary celebrations, acting as producer, art director, singer and m.c.
He has authored several publications on Prides, coming-out, motivation and positivism. Initiator in 2019 of the first ever Lebanese-Canadian LGBTQI2S+ panel, Moe is recognized as a bridge builder between the various Lebanese, Middle-Eastern and Canadian LGBTQI2S+ communities. The creator of several radio programs and podcasts on social media, Moe officially launched during the pandemic the first LGBTQI2S+ commentary segment focused on the issues of People of color in Québec on the radio show “Fraîchement jeudi” before later becoming the host of a monthly radio program featuring the same themes. Recognized for his involvement in several Chambers of commerce and the events sector, he has held positions in business development and client experience at Québec’s largest hotel, the Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth.
About the Montréal Pride Festival
Since 2007, at the initiative of Montréal’s LGBTQ+ communities, the Montréal Pride Festival has been promoting their rights and celebrating their cultural richness and social advances. The largest gathering of the communities of sexual and gender diversity (SGD) in the Francophone world works locally on a daily basis while serving as a beacon of hope for people living in LGBTQ+ hostile regions of the globe. In 2019, the festival generated a total attendance of 3.4 million admissions. In 2021, the festivities will be held from August 9 to 15.
To learn more about the Montréal Pride Festival Team: fiertemtl.com/en/about-us/team