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Celebrating Canada's 2SLGBTQI+ Communities

IN Community: A Monument To LGBTQ2+ Canadians

Design competition launches for national monument commemorating discrimination faced by LGBTQ2+ people in Canada…

By Jumol Royes

It’s rare for the struggles of LGBTQ2+ folks to be publicly recognized; a new national monument in Ottawa hopes to change that.

The LGBTQ2+ National Monument, to be located on Wellington Street near the Portage Bridge next to the Ottawa River, will honour the historic discrimination experienced by LGBTQ2+ Canadians and will have the capacity to host up to 2,000 people for public gatherings.

A design competition was recently launched and artists, architects, landscape architects and other urban design professionals are invited to submit credentials and examples of their work as part of the Request for Qualifications process for the project being spearheaded by the LGBT Purge Fund in partnership with the National Capital Commission (NCC). The deadline for submissions is January 5, 2021.

“The LGBT Purge Fund is proud to provide the funding for this project and to ensure that the voices of the LGBTQ2+ community are extensively consulted on the vision for this project,” says Michelle Douglas, executive director of the LGBT Purge Fund.

Members of the design competition jury include experts in urban design, visual arts, architecture and landscape architecture. The jury also includes LGBT Purge survivors and other stakeholders and subject-matter experts. After submissions have been reviewed, up to five teams will be selected to prepare design proposals.

The monument will pay tribute to those who suffered and continue to suffer as a result of the LGBT Purge between the 1950 and the mid-1990s when LGBT members of the Canadian Armed Forces, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the federal public service faced systematic discrimination, harassment and firings as a matter of policy and sanctioned practice.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a full apology to Canada’s LGBTQ2+ community and in 2018, a settlement was reached with the Canadian government to compensate survivors and allocate funds for “reconciliation and memorialization measures.” The LGBT Purge Fund was created to manage these funds.

“The Purge was a disgraceful period in Canadian history. It had an effect not only on those who faced discrimination, but all members of LGBTQ2+ communities across the country,” acknowledges the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth.

“Unless we learn from our history, we are bound to repeat it. This monument will remind us that we must challenge normative values that perpetuate oppression in our society.”

JUMOL ROYES is a Toronto-area storyteller, communications strategist and glass-half-full kinda guy. He writes about compassion, community, identity and belonging. His guilty please is watching the Real Housewives. Follow him on Twitter @Jumol and on Instagram @jumolroyes.

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