At a time when GLBT* people in Canada have access to many of the same rights as their straight counterparts, it’s hard for some of us to ever imagine life without some equality. For many people, homophobia and pushing back against it was routine and it’s those people to whom we dedicate this issue. We’re paying tribute to the people who wore bags over their heads at the first Pride; the same-sex couples who married then fought to have their marriages legally recognized; and the people who would have rather died standing up for the community than lived and kept quiet. You are true legends.
Halloween is a time to disguise your identity and for one day, be anyone, which is the perfect time to showcase the GLBT* people who did just the opposite. OK, the people at the first Pride with bags over their heads hid their physical identities, but didn’t repress themselves emotionally, politically or sexually.
This issue we’re tipping our hats to those whose stories will be seen by thousands at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, including local heroes Chris Vogel and Richard North, and Jamaican- born gay rights activist Gareth Henry, who was attacked by police for defending GLBT* people. He now lives in Toronto. Also, we’re happy to toast Manitoba’s most experienced drag queen, Jennifur Coates, on the cover.
Since this issue is on stands through November, we also have a lot of people to pay our respects to. In 1998, Rita Hester, a transgender woman in Boston, was murdered. Her death sparked Transgender Day of Remembrance on Nov. 20. The day commemorates transgender people who lost their lives to anti-transgender bigotry and violence. It also raises awareness about the issues that face the trans* community.
Decades later, Canadians shudder to think being a GLBT* person was ever so taboo. The fact that loving someone of the same sex was a crime punishable by death, and still is in some countries, seems absolutely out of this world. Yet, there’s more to these experiences than trauma and death. These injustices bring the community together for a common cause and in the end, make us stronger. As often as we’re bombarded with homophobia and transphobia, we’re surrounded with support from people who have gone or are going through the exact same thing.
Let us know who your GLBT* legend is by filling out our legends survey at https:// www.surveymonkey.com/r/2DSLMR9 and see the results on our website. Enjoy the issue.