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Well, La Poune was a lesbian! | –

Rose Ouellette, also known as La Poune, was a lesbian! Many people found out about this on Wednesday, Valentine's Day, through a press release about the show The Giant, which will soon pay homage to him.

Published yesterday at 7:00 p.m.


This musical theater, currently in production, brings to light the love story that Rose Ouellette experienced with Gertrude Bellerive in great secrecy for 40 years.

First thought: What a lovely spritz! For months we've been hearing about this show, which will be in Joliette next July before it goes on tour. And now we discover in a video that this hidden love story will be one of the dimensions of this original creation.

Watch the video in question

Second thought: Who allowed the designers to include this aspect of Rose Ouellette's personal life? We'll just say that Kathleen Verdon, granddaughter of Rose Ouellette, “shared” a photo from her personal collection in which we see the two lovers in the National Theater, the Temple of La Poune.

Is Kathleen Verdon, whom some knew during her career in local politics – she was part of Jean Doré's executive committee – revealing a big secret? No way.

The artistic “circle” has been aware of this since the beginning of time. More recently, some journalists and historians have secretly mentioned the matter. In 2019, my colleague Hugo Dumas wrote on the program Dans les pas de… that Kathleen Verdon had confided to Yves P. Pelletier, the host of the episode dedicated to La Poune, that her famous grandmother lived as a couple with Gertrude in Bellerive.

At the microphone of Aujourd'hui l'histoire, broadcast on ICI Première in 2021, Pierre Lavoie referred to this romantic relationship. At the same time, Robert Aird, historian and humor specialist in Quebec, at the invitation of the Lionel Groulx Foundation, stated that Gertrude Bellerive was the wife of Rose Ouellette.

The thing even appears at the bottom of the Fantasist's Wikipedia page.

Third thought: Would Rose Ouellette be happy to know that this “secret” is now revealed? Until her death in 1996, the queen of Quebec vaudeville skillfully dodged questions about the woman's role in her life. However, they were inseparable. So Gertrude Roses became “secretary”.

However, everyone in his family knew it. Kathleen Verdon firmly believes that if her grandmother had been with us today, she would have spoken more openly about her homosexuality. I also believe that Rose Ouellette, with the courage that characterized her, would break this silence.

Gertrude Bellerive died in 1971. Her funeral took place at Saint-Télesphore Church in LaSalle. This is mentioned in an article on page 7 of the October 2nd edition of Télé-radiomonde. It is written that “La Poune could not long withstand the ordeal of the funeral service.”

After a few minutes, she “hurriedly” left the church and took refuge in a limousine accompanied by two friends. That says a lot about his pain. In this article, Gertrude is referred to as Rose's “great friend and secretary.”

How many people secretly loved those introduced as “secretary,” “cousin,” “friend,” “business partner,” or “housewife”?

Rose and Gertrude had lived as a couple since the 1930s. Let's say that in those days in Puritan, holy water-soaked Quebec, it was very difficult to show one's true nature. Several generations of gays and lesbians have lived in a double-locked closet.

Things didn't look any rosier in the 1950s and 1960s. Some people who have lived in secret look at our times with a certain astonishment and take advantage of this openness. We saw this with the late coming out of Michel Louvain and Serge Laprade.

In fact, I have a thought for Gertrude Bellerive. Rose had her audience “who loved her and who loved her,” as she often said. She could live in the light. But Gertrude had to make do with the shadows on every level.

From now on she will no longer be the “secretary” of the head of National. More than 40 years after her death, she received the titles that belonged to her: wife, lover or blonde of Rose Ouellette.

The announcement contained in this press release surprised many people. What is surprising in the end?

I'll tell you what surprises me most about the concept of this show. Know that Gabrielle Fontaine, aka Passe-Carreau, will trade her flirtatious nursery rhymes for the colorful banter of La Poune.

How is the person who sings “brush, brush, brush, I brush my teeth, the ones in the back, the ones in the front” supposed to tell the famous dog joke? : “I was holding my dog ​​in my arms and there was a guy who wanted to be smart and said to me: “I would like that in the dog's place.” I replied: “You would be in bad shape, my man , my tail will be cut off!” »

That alone makes me want to see this show!

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