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.
Since 1953, over 1,200 provincial plaques have been unveiled.
For more information on the Provincial Plaque Program, visit www.heritagetrust.on.ca.
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SOURCE Ontario Heritage Trust
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