Sharing the History and Voices of 2SLGBTQ+ Canadians

Bring 2SLGBTQ+ History to Life at Your School...

The Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity is proud to launch a new project, where will host 42-conferences in schools across the country. This programming is geared towards honouring and sharing the history of the 2SLGBTQ+ community, which inspired the fight for equality in Canada resulting in among other victories, the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalization of homosexuality.

We are excited that in 2021, CCGSD will be launching a museum and community space in Ottawa that will document Canadian 2SLGBTQ+ history. This project ties into the creation of this museum by bringing the history and stories of 2S-LGBTQ+ people directly to youth in communities across Canada.

As we approach the 50th anniversary of both the Stonewall riots in New York City and the partial decriminalization of homosexual acts in Canada, we must remember the activism of those who paved the way. Looking back at Canadian history, we owe a great debt to activists involved in the 1971 We Demand Protest in Ottawa. They marched to Parliament and demanded changes, ranging from employment protections, protections from police surveillance, and the ability for homosexuals to immigrate to Canada (changed in 1976). This activism leads to court cases such as Egan V. Canada in 1994, which inspired the reading in of Sexual Orientation in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Over twenty years later, in 2017, the community celebrated the addition of gender identity and expression to the Canadian Charter, finally cementing the human rights of Queer and Trans people under Canadian law.

The CCGSD team will bring these milestones to life by working with 2SLGBTQ+ storytellers to your school, allowing students to interact with and hear about the experiences of individuals who were involved in important moments in activism. Although there will be a range of stories, some common perspectives we hope to share relate to the exclusion from the Canadian armed forces, public homophobia or media outing, early 2SLGBTQ+ activism, and stories of family resilience. The individuals will share their complex histories to help students to see themselves in their personal stories and understand more of the nuances of 2SLGBTQ+ activism in Canada. We believe it is important to facilitate intergenerational learning so that students can learn lessons from the past and explore what it would have been like to be a member of the 2SLGBTQ+ community at another time. CCGSD staff will be there to support and guide discussions with local (regional or provincial) storytellers, to facilitate a respectful exchange of knowledge

With the inclusion of GSA clubs in many schools and increasingly inclusive curriculums, youth are experiencing new levels of acceptance and many students in today’s schools are identifying as part of the LGBTQ2+ community. These youth still face many difficulties such as bullying and discrimination from peers, which lead to Queer and Trans youth having more struggles with mental health concerns, than their peers. Our hopes are that by sharing the history of discrimination, activism and the fight for human rights (sexual orientation and gender identity), we can build empathy and understanding for LGBTQ2+ youth in your community to assist with an inclusive school culture that is accepting of diversity.

Comm CAN (1)

What the day will look like...

The day will begin with an assembly style presentation for students composed of whole classes and/or grades of your choosing. This presentation is relevant to students enrolled in a wide variety of courses such as Canadian or World History, Social Justice, Gender Studies, Introduction to Social Science (sociology and anthropology), Law, and other Social Studies or Humanities topics.

The morning assembly will go as follow

  • Indigenous land acknowledgement & the history of two-spirit people of turtle island
  • 20-25 minute engaging multimedia history presentation of milestones in Canadian 2SLGBTQ2+ history (e.g: The 50th anniversary of partial decriminalization of homosexuality, We Demand Protests, Purges in the public service and Canadian military, human rights victories such as equal marriage and Bill-C16.)
  • 1-2 Local LGBTQ2+ storytellers sharing their stories related to the above milestones
  • Connections between the stories from the past and how to be an ally to 2SLGBTQ+ people in the present day
  • End with an inspirational and uplifting performance by a local queer artist (musical or spoken word)

The goal is for the assembly to take between 60-90 minutes, depending on available speakers. 

CCGSD staff and the LGBTQ2+ storytellers will spend the rest of the day at your school and visit individual classrooms of students, concurrently, who attended the morning assembly for smaller more intimate workshops. We will present the following workshops for classes of your choosing throughout the day of the forum. 

  • Workshop 1: Narratives Activism 69-2019
  • Workshop 2: Facilitated Discussion with 2SLGBTQ+ storytellers
  • VIP Workshop for GSA, Social Justice or Diversity Club: History of Pride in Education & Human Library with 2S-LGBTQ2+ storytellers and musicians

Each of these in-classroom workshops will be 40-60 minutes.

As we visit these 42 communities across Canada and engage local schools in a full-day of programming surrounding Canadian 2SLGBTQ2+ History, we will also be holding community consultation in the evening for people of all ages. By partnering with a local organization to facilitate these consultations, we want to speak to people from across Canada to hear what stories, items and narratives they would like to see included at our 2SLGBTQ+ Museum space.

More information about these community consultations coming soon.

If you are interested in booking this presentation for your school or learning more, please contact the Commemorate Canada Coordinator, Celeste Lessard-Kragen, at . We look forward to working with communities from coast to coast to offer critical reflections of the past.