Provincial plaque commemorates Sexual Diversity Activism at the University of Toronto

TORONTO, Nov. 2, 2011 /CNW/ - Today, the Ontario Heritage Trust, the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies and the University of Toronto unveiled a provincial plaque commemorating Sexual Diversity Activism at the University of Toronto.

"Recognizing and celebrating diversity is a core value in Ontario today," said Dr. Thomas H.B. Symons, Chairman of the Ontario Heritage Trust. "We are proud to commemorate these early advocates at the University of Toronto for their achievements in bringing issues related to sexual diversity to the forefront, and pursuing the same freedoms and equality to which all Ontarians are entitled."

The plaque reads as follows:

  Sexual Diversity Activism at the University of Toronto
         Having first met off campus, the University of Toronto Homophile Association (UTHA) convened again on November 4, 1969, at University College to advocate equality and freedom for gay men and lesbians. This was the first group of its kind at a Canadian university. Early on, UTHA attracted supporters far beyond the University of Toronto community, influencing the formation of like-minded groups on university campuses and in communities across Ontario and the country. UTHA was closely connected to a larger North American liberationist culture that sought to bring visibility to traditionally marginalized sexual minorities by challenging the discriminatory practices and beliefs of the state and society. This movement continued to grow through protest, coalition building and community education, countering prejudice and asserting the necessity of recognizing diversity.

"Ontario's heritage reflects the diversity of our province, our communities and our citizens," said Minister of Tourism and Culture Michael Chan. "I'm delighted that this provincial plaque will give Ontarians the opportunity to learn about how these events have helped to shape the province we live in today."

Today's unveiling ceremony took place at University College, where the provincial plaque will be permanently installed.

"Honouring queer history is essential: it reminds all of us that university campuses play crucial roles in nurturing change, and that our ability to do the kind of work we do in the present comes from generations of courageous advocacy in the past," said Brenda Cossman, Director of the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies.

"The University of Toronto has been a proud supporter of the proposal to install this plaque at the heart of our founding campus," said David Naylor, President of the University of Toronto. "We are also proud of the decades-long history of campus LGBT advocacy that has made the university a better place."

The Ontario Heritage Trust's Provincial Plaque Program commemorates significant people, places and events in Ontario's history. The Trust is an agency of the Government of Ontario, dedicated to identifying, preserving, protecting and promoting Ontario's heritage.

Quick facts:

  • Since 1953, over 1,200 provincial plaques have been unveiled.

Learn more:

For more information on the Provincial Plaque Program, visit www.heritagetrust.on.ca.

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SOURCE Ontario Heritage Trust

For further information:

Contact:
Catrina Colme
Senior Marketing and Communications Specialist
Ontario Heritage Trust
Telephone: 416-325-5074
Email: catrina.colme@heritagetrust.on.ca


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