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 and host 42 queer history conferences in schools across the country. This programming is geared towards commemorating 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 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of both, the Stonewall riots in New York City and the partial decriminalization of homosexual acts in Canada, in CCGSD we see this as an opportunity to celebrate the activism and resistance of those who have paved the way towards greater acceptance of queer folks by mainstream society. 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 lead to court cases such as Egan V. Canada in 1994, which inspired the reading of Sexual Orientation in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Over twenty years later, in 2017, the queer community celebrated the addition of gender identity and expression to the Canadian Charter, finally cementing the human rights and protections of Queer and Trans people under Canadian law.

The CCGSD team brings to life the diversity of queer community in Canada by inviting local 2SLGBTQ+ storytellers to share with students their own personal journal and what the queer rights landscape looks like from their perspective. Engaging students in fascinating discussions with experienced (and fun!) educators, artists and speakers, is a part of the history forum experience. It allows students to learn in an original way through individual stories about the greater historical context and events that have shaped the queer community as it exists today. The students will particularly learn about the pre-colonial queer history of the Turtle Island, Two-Spirit Identities, early 2SLGBTQ+ activism, the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1969, the exclusion of queers from the Canadian armed forces, the 1971 We Demand Protest and 1981 Dyke March, including stories of individual as well as collective resilience.  We believe it is important to facilitate intergenerational learning and educate ourselves about who we were to understand who we are now and where we want to be headed in the future. CCGSD staff will be present at the forum to facilitate discussions with the local storytellers, lead a history presentation and support a meaningful and respectful exchange of knowledge between participants that would create safe(r) space. 

With the inclusion of GSA clubs in schools across the country and increasingly inclusive curriculums, the queer youth is 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 in the Forum Looks Like ...

The day begins 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 consists of:

  • Indigenous land acknowledgement & the history of two-spirit people of the 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 activism and queer resistance in Canada.
  • 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 assembly takes approximately 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 commemorate@ccgsd-ccdgs.org, or Andrea Prajerova at teachers@ccgsd-ccdgs.org. We look forward to working with communities from coast to coast to offer critical reflections of the past.

Queer History Forums - When and Where?

  • 17 April 2019, Kingston, ON – Bayride Secondary School
  • 21 May 2019, Russell, ON – Russell High School
  • 29 May 2019, Grand Falls/Windsor, ON – Exploits Valley Intermediate
  • 16 October 2019, Whitehorse, YT –  Porter Creek Secondary
  • 18 October 2019, Surrey, BC –  Guildford Park Secondary School
  • 22 October 2019, Fernie, BC – Fernie Secondary School
  • 25 October 2019, Fort McMurray, AB –  Holy Trinity High School
  • 28 October 2019, Prince George, BC – College Heights High School
  • 13 Nov 2019, Bay Roberts, N.L. – Amalgamated Academy
  • 14 Nov 2019, Torbay, N.L. – Holy Trinity Regional High School
  • 18 Nov 2019, Corner Brook, N.L. – Corner Brook Intermediate
  • 21,22 Nov 2019, Iqaluit,  NT – Inuksuk High School
  • 5 Dec 2019, Inuvik, NT – East Three Secondary School
  • 10 Dec 2019, Ottawa, ON – Longfields-Davidson Heights Secondary School
  • 12 Dec 2019, Sarnia, ON – Northern High School
  • 13 Dec 2019, Chatham, ON – John McGregor Secondary School
  • 18 Dec 2019, Gatineau, QC – D’Arcy McGee High School
  • 12 Feb 2020, Winnipeg, MB – Argyle Alternative
  • 13 Feb 2020, Winnipeg, MB – Churchill Collegiate
  • 18 Feb 2020, Portage la Prairie, MB – Portage Collegiate Institute
  • 20 Feb 2020, Erickson, MB – Erickson Collegiate Institute
  •  25 Feb 2020, Fredericton, NB – École Sainte-Anne

Queer Archives of Collected Stories and Artefacts

Educational Materials