For the month of June, SAMRU will be partnering with Mount Royal University and the office of Campus Equity and Meaningful Inclusion to give you a brief timeline of the notable events of the history of Pride in Canada. Make sure to follow both MRU (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and CEMI so you don’t miss a single Pride history post!
Here are the posts you might’ve seen, or missed (!!), on SAMRU’s pages. THIS PAGE WILL BE UPDATED AS POSTS BECOME PUBLIC!
When asked about the history of #pride, the first thing that usually comes to people’s minds are the Stonewall Riots. Canada, however, has its own rich history and turning points in the struggle for and eventual celebration of #lgbtq + rights. The most well known of these are the Toronto raids which led to riots that turned into what it is today, a vibrant pride festival.
On January 5, 1974, Adrienne Potts (now Adrienne Rosen), Pat Murphy, Sue Wells and Heather (Beyer) Elizabeth performed a song at amateur night at the Brunswick Tavern. Their chosen song, “I Enjoy Being A Dyke” (a parody of “I Enjoy Being a Girl“, a song by Rodgers and Hammerstein from the musical play Flower Drum Song) drew the attention of the bar’s owner.
The four were asked by the owner to leave the premises. They refused to leave. The Brunswick four were arrested at the Brunswick Tavern in Toronto.
Some historians believe that the arrest and its consequences was a key incident ushering in a more militant gay and lesbian liberation movement in Canada, much as the Stonewall Inn Riots politicized gays and lesbians in the United States.
This was also one of the first occasions that a gay or lesbian topic received extensive press coverage in Canada. The women brought charges against the officers subsequently for verbal and physical police harassment, however the officers were acquitted due to their switching their hats and badge numbers making them unable to be accurately identified.
One of Canada’s first programs to combat anti-gay discrimination and violence is implemented by the Toronto District School Board after a hate crime in which their employee Kenneth Zeller is murdered in Toronto’s High Park in June 1985.
Kenneth Zeller was a teacher and librarian in Toronto, who was employed by Davisville Public School, Williamson Road Junior Public School and Western Technical-Commercial School. He was the victim of a homophobic hate crime when he was beaten to death by 5 youths in Toronto’s High Park. Five young offenders were convicted and sentenced to prison.
Toronto educators formed a lesbian and gay caucus in 1989, and students across the city formed Teens Educating About and Challenging Homophobia (TEACH) in 1993. By the end of the ‘90s, the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO) was becoming a leader in LGBT advocacy, joining major unions in the public sector (such as the Canadian Union of Public Employees and the Ontario Public Service Employees Union) in supporting LGBT initiatives.
The Ontario Superior Court rules that prohibiting gay couples from marrying is unconstitutional and violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The court gives Ontario two years to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples.
In May, Ontario Superior Court Justice Robert McKinnon rules that a gay student has the right to take his boyfriend to the prom.
Earlier, the Durham Catholic District School Board said student Marc Hall couldn’t bring his 21-year-old boyfriend to the dance at Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic high school in Oshawa. Officials acknowledge that Hall has the right to be gay, but said permitting the date would send a message that the Church supports his “homosexual lifestyle.” Hall went to the prom.
Outliers: Calgary’s Queer History | 12:00 | MRU Jenkins Theatre
2018 | Canada | 90 min | PG
Developed and Created by The Fairy Tales Calgary’s Queer Film Festival
In partnership with EMMEDIA, The Calgary Gay History Project, Alberta Culture and Tourism & The Calgary Arts Development Authority
Directed by Justine Boncezk, Leah Schmidt and James Demers
Edited by Bryce Mark
Animations by Mike Hooves
Calgary’s Queer History is a deep dive into the historical, social and political forces, which shaped the development of the queer community in Calgary. Featuring extensive footage and B-roll film from Calgary Pride in the 90’s, queer leaders recount a decade of turmoil, loss, and growth of activism and human rights. The film is a first-hand account of the frontlines of LGBTQ2+ activism at a time when the right to be out in Alberta was not legally protected, visible or developed. Spanning stories from 1960-present day, this feature length documentary delves into the moments and victories, which brought an entire community from the darkness into the light.