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Queer Ontario Launch speech

January 30th, 2010

Tonight we are celebrating two momentous occasions at once, the farewell to a leading provincial lgbt rights organization and the launching of a new queer rights organization in Ontario.

You have already heard from Tom the kinds of groundbreaking work the Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights in Ontario (CLGRO) undertook throughout its 34 plus year history. From the long hard won battles of getting ‘sexual orientation’ included in the Ontario Human Rights Code to getting same-sex relationships recognized; from sex laws concerns such as parks and washroom arrests and bathhouse raids to a critique of the policing of our communities; from arguing for our inclusion in employment equity and disability legislations to challenging ignorance regarding our issues in the health care, social service and education systems; CLGRO blazed a trail in this province demonstrating that the lesbian, gay, bisexual and in the latter years transgender communities were one to be reckoned with, sending reverberations throughout the country and internationally with its pioneering work and progressive social analysis.

Tonight we commemorate such outstanding work and honour it by respecting CLGRO’s decision to dissolve. Yet, the rich legacy that CLGRO leaves behind has served to inspire and motivate a number of us to bring forth a new voice in this province that hopes to build on that legacy and ensure that an organized LGBT voice doesn’t fall silent.

That takes me to Queer Ontario, a new provincial group that is a work in progress. We are an organization that is utilizing modern technology and social media outlets as tools to reinvigorate our movement in this province and for social action. We will be moving forward based upon the liberationist perspective CLGRO lived by – with a radical edge, hence the name Queer Ontario. So, who is Queer Ontario for?

➢ Queer Ontario is for those who recognize the importance of difference and its contribution to our diverse society.

➢ Queer Ontario is for those who recognize their own sexual and/or gender identity difference, have accepted it and are proud to call themselves ‘queer’.

➢ Queer Ontario is for those who value equality, but see equity and liberation as the higher goals to continue to strive for.

➢ Queer Ontario is for those who have stopped questioning why they don’t fit in and instead question why the system won’t let us fit in.

➢ Queer Ontario is for those who believe in the integrity to be one’s true self without contorting ourselves into what straight society deems to be ‘acceptable’ or ‘respectable’.

Given all of this, Queer Ontario will not purport to be the voice of the LGBT movement in this province, but rather an organized queer voice within the broader LGBT movement. It is most apparent to us in 2010 that our community is not monolithic, but very diverse in its political perspectives and world views. To that end we believe that the critical queer liberationist perspective, as begun by CLGRO, needs to carry forward to question the status quo, resist homo-bi-transphobia and discrimination and challenge heterosexism and cisgenderism wherever we see it and whenever we experience it.

My hope is that you will support us in this important work, first by becoming a member, second by getting involved and thirdly by providing us with a generous donation. As a grassroots, non-profit organization without charitable status, due to our political mandate, we have very limited funds. I hope you will join us in whatever way you can. I look forward to working with you in the future and for now, enjoy the rest of the evening.

Thank you so much.

– Nick Mulé (January 30, 2010)

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