LGBTQ + Organizing

The rise of feminism and gay liberation in the 1970s created fertile ground for the development of politics focused on non-normative sexuality and on sexual orientation. Lesbians during this period declared themselves proud amazons and built autonomous organizations centered on the social needs and political vision of lesbians. There were seven lesbian conferences in Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, and Vancouver between the years 1973-1979. Lesbians took to the streets in Vancouver and Toronto in 1981. Lesbians demanded their rights as mothers, as workers, as independent women. Lesbians of Colour and World Majority Lesbians revolutionized how we think about and strategize against racism and homophobia

At the same time, lesbians organized within a range of movements: feminist, gay liberation, peace and anti-nuclear, labour, and anti-racist/anti-colonial. We joined gay men working against police harassment, the rise of the right, and for meaningful government action and community justice and healing during the AIDS crisis. We worked with feminists organizing for reproductive justice, childcare, and against sexual violence. We joined women in the labour movement and fought for same sex benefits and human rights protection. We joined brigades that went to Nicaragua and created Jewish voices critical of Israeli human rights violations. We challenged all these movements to include our voices, experience, and our demands.

“Lesbians are everywhere,” declared a banner at International Women’s Day in Toronto in the 1980s, and we were.

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