Surrey LGBTQ History

Jen Marchbank of the Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies is developing an archive of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans* and queer activism in Surrey. Larger cities such as Toronto and Vancouver have their history projects and Jen sees no reason why the now mature and diverse activism that occurs in Surrey should not also be documented. Jen is also an LGBTQ activist in Surrey (she was President of the Surrey Pride Society 2011-13 and co-founded Youth for A Change). Combining her academic and activist interests she was integral in achieving the approval of the City of Surrey to display a history exhibit in the new City Hall atrium for Surrey Pride week (June 26- July 7).  Working closely with long time Surrey activist and community leader Martin Rooney they unveiled the exhibit on June 26th.

The exhibit displays the activism in Surrey from the first Ban the Books Bigots Fund dance in 1998 through the establishment of Out in Surrey Rainbow Cultural Society (OISRCS). Soon OISRCS became so active that it created the Empire of the Peace Arch Monarchist Association; the Surrey Youth Alliance and renamed itself the Surrey Pride Society. Also documented are the stories of the activist youth group, Youth for A Change, Martin Rooney’s successful campaign to remove the US HIV travel ban and the HIV/AIDS education and fund raising organisation, Red Ribbons for Life, also run by Martin.

Feel free to visit the exhibit and sign the visitors’ book.