Posts Tagged ‘demand’

Transcending the Provincial: LGBT Liberationist Activism in Ontario – From CLGRO to Queer Ontario

September 1st, 2011 Comments off

A presentation given by Nick Mulé, Chairperson of Queer Ontario, at the We Demand: Sex / Activism / History in Canada Conference that took place in Vancouver, BC from August 25 to August 28, 2011.

A mere three years and four months following the 1971 “We Demand” demonstration in Ottawa, the Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights in Ontario (CLGRO) was founded. Very much based upon the principles of the “We Demand” document, over the next 34 plus years CLGRO was at the forefront of the lesbian and gay movement in Ontario. This paper examines how CLGRO was influenced by the “We Demand” action and how it in turn became an influential forerunner within the LGBT movement not only provincially, but nationally and internationally. Underscoring the work of CLGRO and its successor Queer Ontario is the politic of queer liberationism. As such, a queer liberationist perspective has and continues to distinguish the work of CLGRO and Queer Ontario. In a climate in which a neo-liberal, mainstreaming, assimilationist approach dominates both from within and without the LGBT movement, the work of queer liberationists is compounded and multi-layered requiring a critical discourse that questions and challenges on all fronts including within the movement itself. With the number of political LGBT groups decreasing across the country, and fewer and fewer of those remaining undertaking a liberationist agenda, the movement is at risk of sliding into a heteronormative and cisgendered worldview. Queer liberationists, as exemplified by CLGRO and Queer Ontario, through principled work based on the integrity of the original “We Demand” calls for change provide a progressive, alternative voice to the status quo, towards ensuring diversity both within LGBT communities and in broader Canadian society.
The PowerPoint Presentation:

We (Still) Demand!

August 30th, 2011 Comments off

On August 28, 2011 Queer Ontario graced the steps of Parliament Hill in Ottawa to commemorate the 40th anniversary of We Demand, the first nation-wide rally in Canada where gay men and women got together to demand legal and social reforms from the federal government. As John Wilson, an original member of the rally, noted in his keynote speech on Sunday: while a number of reforms have been achieved in the 40 years since 1971, there is still a lot of prejudice that needs to be challenged and abolished, particularly on the part of government. This includes the government’s refusal to extend human rights protections to transsexual, transgender, and intersex individuals, as well as its insistence on criminalizing HIV transmission.

Indeed, it is worth remembering that the extension of marriage rights to same-sex or same-gender couples did not finalize the struggle for queer and trans rights but, rather, re-invigorated it, as we now fight for the rights of those who are marginalized by the expectation to marry and privatize our sexualities; and those whose identities, relationships and livelihoods have yet to be recognized and accommodated by government.

Special thanks go out to Susan Gapka, Michael Burtch, Melanie Pasztor, and Brent Bauer for lending us their voices and their words of inspiration in highlighting all the work that needs to be done to create a trans-embracing, queer-loving, and sex-positive Canada. A very special thanks to A.J. Lowik for giving voice to our Demands list; as well as the over 100 people who attended the rally and shared their demands and their experiences of discrimination with us.

We (Still) Demand — A Rally for Change on Parliament Hill

July 29th, 2011 Comments off


Queer Ontario is heading to OTTAWA!

On August 28, 1971, the first large scale ‘gay rights’ demonstration in the history of Canada was held on Parliament Hill in Ottawa and Robson Square in Vancouver. Demanding changes to the discriminatory laws that then restricted the lives of gay men and women, the protesters took to Parliament Hill and Robson Square with their list of demands. These included changes to the criminal code, such as:

1. The removal of the nebulous terms “gross indecency” and “indecent act” from the Criminal Code and their replacement by a specific listing of offences, and the equalization of penalties for all remaining homosexual and heterosexual acts; and defining “in private” in the Criminal Code to mean “a condition of privacy.”

2. Removal of “gross indecency” and “buggery” as grounds for indictment as a “dangerous sexual offender” and for vagrancy.

3. A uniform age of consent for all female and male homosexual and heterosexual acts.

While we have made many great strides in the LGBTQ rights movement in the 40 years since, we are still victims of oppression, degradation, and erasure in all aspects of social life. We are deliberately written out of citizenship guides, we are discouraged from sharing our life experiences in our classrooms or workplaces, we are denied the ability to donate blood, and we are continually given misdiagnoses by medical professionals who make misinformed assumptions about who we are and what we do. Not to mention, of course, a protection of our gender identities and gender expressions under the Canadian Charter of Rights. All of these issues persist because of a pervasive public ignorance around LGBTQ issues created in no small part because of an inability for our elected officials to recognize these injustices and to stand up for our rights.

As a result, we still have demands.

To commemorate the original rally, as well as make a loud and proud statement to many of the issues we still face today, Queer Ontario is holding a rally on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Sunday, August 28th, 2011 and we want you to be involved! Here are two ways:

1. Add your demands to our list
Let us know your demands! Drop us a line at or post a comment on this post and let us know what demands you have for the Federal government for the betterment of the lives of LGBTQ persons and communities!

2. Attend the rally!
Show up to Parliament Hill on Sunday, August 28 @ Noon as we commemorate the original rally and set forth our new list of demands. Then, come march with us as we merge into the Capital Pride Parade.

So get to it! Send us your recommendations and/or join us for the rally. Collectively, we are still here and we still demand!

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