Olympic Image? 1976 Montreal pre-Games crackdown on queers

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In advance of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games, everything needed to look, "nice and presentable" to upkeep a certain image. Walls were painted, pretty lights erected, street poles adorned with blue and green flags. Poverty and addiction aren’t part of this "nice" Vancouver Olympic image. Minimizing visible signs of these "messy" issues have been part of the Olympic project.

Back in 1976 in advance of the Montreal Games, there was similar coordinated effort to clean up the streets. At that time, queer people were living more underground. And they were a prime target for this clean up campaign.

Gary Kinsman, is the co-author of a new book titled The Canadian War on Queers. He is a professor at the Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario and has done a lot of research on the Canadian State’s surveillance of queer folk in the 1950’s and 60’s.

He spoke at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, BC, Coast Salish Territories, this past fall about this attack on queers, and their organizing to resist the crackdown.

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