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Beyond 1969: An intergenerational oral history

June 05, 2019
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PRESS RELEASE

Beyond 1969: An intergenerational oral history

For the past 5 years Professor Jen Marchbank has curated a LGBTQ+ history exhibit mounted in the atrium of City Hall in Surrey in the run up to the Surrey Pride Festival (June 29th, 3-8pm, Central City Plaza). This year the subject is Beyond 1969: An intergenerational history, an innovative, local oral history project and it will be ‘launched June 5th, 2-4pm, and in situ until June 14th. This is to provide education and information to City of Surrey staff and local citizens.

In 1969 Pierre Trudeau made his infamous statement ‘that the state had no place in the bedrooms of the nation’, commenting on the passage of Omnibus Bill C150 that liberalised existing laws on several issues: abortion (though still needed 3 medical doctors and a Therapeutic Committee’s approval); moved contraception from Criminal Code to Food and Drugs control and what is frequently billed as the decriminalisation of homosexuality. In regards to the latter what was actually decriminalised were same sex acts between two adults over 21 and only in private.

This project is a partnership between Dr Jen Marchbank, Dept of Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University, Dr Gloria Gutman, Gerontology Research Centre, SFU and the Surrey activist group Youth for A Change.

This is an intergenerational project and includes those who remember 1969 who were interviewed; young adults who collected the interviews and the responses of LGBTQ2SIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, Two Spirit, intersex and asexual) youth to the stories told.

Locally based adults volunteered to tell their stories of what they remember of 1969 and the affects (or not) on their lives. These were recorded by SFU History students. Then young LGBTQ2SIA+ Surrey folks listened and entered into conversation with these histories.

What is clear is that C-150 was just a beginning, some express joy at the removal of certain same sex acts from the Criminal Code whilst others told stories of continued harassment and discrimination leading to activism for equal rights.

This display provides a glimpse into these stories and youth responses/experiences. People can also listen to two podcasts made from the interviews by following the QR code provided which links to Youth for A Change’s website.

Shilpa Narayan (Research Assistant and Youth for A Change Peer Leader) and Dr Gloria Gutman will be in attendance to ‘launch’ the display on June 5th, 2-4pm, City Hall, Surrey.

Funding for this project:

Gerontology Research Centre, SFU

Dept of Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies, SFU

Dept of History, SFU

City of Surrey Community Grant

 

For further information:

Until May 31st – Dr Jen Marchbank, jmarchba@sfu.ca, 604 356 0231

Thereafter Ms Shilpa Narayan, shilpan@sfu.ca, 604 353 5993