We demand

On August 28, 1971 queer activists hosted the first large scale gay rights protest on Parliament Hill. 100 to 200 women and men stood in the pouring rain to listen to speeches from Toronto Gay Action, The Homophile Movement of Toronto and Front de Libération Homosexual. The demonstration was to follow up to a list sent to the federal government, later printed as"We Demand" in the queer magazine The Body Politic.

Build up

In 1969 homosexuality was decriminalized as long as it was between two consenting parties that were at least 21 years old. This was the beginning of the mainstream queer movement in Canada. Though the Homophile Movement had existed since the 1950s, their goal was to prove queers as 'respectable' citizens. However, in the early 1970s activists started to reject this white middle class queer ideal, placing the emphasis on having pride in queer culture, art, and practices instead.



There were ten demands published, all aimed towards the legal advancement of mostly gay men. They ranged from being as broad as all rights for homosexuals that straight people have, to stopping the fruit machine.




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