Twenty years ago, GLBT* people were barely recognized or protected by law. By 1990, “homosexuality” was decriminalized, “homosexuals” were removed from the inadmissible classes under the Immigration Act and Quebec’s Human Rights Code included sexual orientation—that’s about all of the laws that covered GLBT* people. Socially, things weren’t much better.
It was during all this social and political turbulence that Swerve (OutWords) began. As you will read on page 10, in the story about the history of OutWords, the publication began in 1994 as a push back against the inequality. Though GLBT* are more accepted today and the magazine includes more culture and lifestyle coverage than politics, OutWords today has a lot in common with its younger self.
The former editors struggled with the magazine’s identity since its audience was so diverse and had to represent it as best as they could—something that we still struggle with today. Though we can’t be all things to all people in the GLBT* community, our hope is that the magazine connects and welcomes our community. I remember that not long after I came out, I picked up a Pride issue of the magazine in a coffee shop and for the first time felt totally comfortable with my identity and welcomed by the community. Our hope is that after 20 years, OutWords still has that effect.