The LGBTQ2+ National Monument
The LGBT Purge Fund is legally mandated to create a national monument in the National Capital Region. The monument will be a visible landmark that will recognize generations of LGBTQ2+ people in Canada and tell the story of those who have been persecuted, abused, dismissed and marginalized because of who they desire and how they identify. It will generally acknowledge the discrimination experienced by Canada’s LGBTQ2+ community, and specifically acknowledge the abuse perpetrated by the Canadian state on its people during the LGBT Purge.
The LGBTQ2+ National Monument is a collaboration between the LGBT Purge Fund, the Department of Canadian Heritage, the National Capital Commission and diverse LGBTQ2+ communities and their allies.
In autumn 2019, the LGBT Purge Fund organized a collaborative stakeholder engagement process to develop a vision for the monument and consult on potential monument sites. The process engaged over 150 people of all ages and identities who contributed expertise in history, activism, community organizing and advocacy, law, politics, design, arts, writing and teaching. It also heard from 2-Spirit Indigenous, First Nation, Inuit and Métis individuals through a parallel Indigenous Circle and from local Algonquin communities, Kitigan Zibi and Pikwàkanagàn. Our Monument Advisory committee and Indigenous Circle participants continue to be involved in this process.
The location of the LGBTQ2+ National Monument was approved by the National Capital Commission in January 2020. It will be situated in Ottawa’s downtown core – near Wellington Street, by the Portage Bridge (below the current Library and Archives headquarters).
In fall 2020, a request for qualifications was launched by Canadian Heritage to encourage design firms to express interest in a competition for the monument design. Five teams, detailed here, were shortlisted for this stage of the competition and are currently responding to a request for proposals and to the monument vision in their design proposals. These designs will be made public in late summer/early fall 2021.
The same 10-person jury which created the shortlist will select the final design for the Monument. Before deciding on the winning design, the jury will benefit from the results of broad consultations with the LGBTQ2+ community and the general public. The winning design will be announced in late 2021. The monument will be inaugurated in the summer of 2025.
Canadian Museum for Human Rights Exhibition
Please see the LGBT Purge Fund’s statement regarding allegations of racism & homophobia at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, here.
This project includes an exhibition about the LGBT Purge at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR), along with a travelling exhibit. The CMHR will also explore ways to share this exhibition online.
The CMHR is establishing an Advisory Committee that will be made up of LGBT Purge survivors, external experts and representatives from the LGBT Purge Fund to support them in the development of this project.
The CMHR’s work is guided by our discussions and by the obligations set out in the Final Settlement Agreement. The overall budget for this project will exceed $2,000,000.
Historical Document Collection
As part of the LGBT Purge Class Action lawsuit settlement, the government of Canada is obligated to provide historical records relating to the LGBT Purge. The LGBT Purge Fund has been actively urging the government to provide these documents so that they can be reviewed and analyzed.
We are told by the government that 11,000 pages of material will be provided to the LGBT Purge Fund. As of April 2021, approximately 9,100 pages of material have been provided. These documents are being analyzed. The LGBT Purge Fund has hired a consultant (Svend Robinson, former Member of Parliament) to review the documents that have been submitted to the LGBT Purge Fund.
The LGBT Purge Fund intends to make these documents accessible at some point in the future. The board of directors of the LGBT Purge Fund has not made any decisions yet about the organization(s) that will be engaged to make these documents accessible.
Diversity and Inclusion Training
The Final Settlement Agreement required the LGBT Purge Fund to hire a Subject Matter Expert (SME) to make recommendations regarding existing training on LGBTQ2+ inclusion in the federal government workplace (including the RCMP and Canadian Armed Forces). In addition, the LGBTQ2 Secretariat (a government office located in the Department of Canadian Heritage) will consult with the SME on ways to enhance LGBTQ2+ inclusion in the Federal workplace.
Following a selection process, Egale Canada Human Rights Trust, Fondation Émergence and Optimus SBR were selected as the designated SME. The project began in January 2020.
The SME has conducted an extensive analysis of LGBTQ2+ policies and related practices in the federal government. The report, entitled “Emerging from the Purge”, will be provided to the government and issued publicly in May 2021.
The LGBT Purge Fund has funds available for individuals, organizations, charities, not-for-profit organizations and other entities for projects that align with our mandate. Like our major initiatives, the community projects we fund memorialize the LGBT Purge and/or provide support to those affected.
COMMUNITY PROJECTS WE’VE SUPPORTED
- Elenore Sturko – $17,000 – for the Robert David Van Norman Memorial Project – support for the publishing and translating (into Inuktitut) of a book regarding former RCMP Officer Robert David Van Norman who was a victim of the LGBT Purge. Grant funding also allocated to publicity and travel to the North to promote the book.
- Rainbow Veterans of Canada – $16,196.84 – for initial start-up funding for this new organization. Grant funding allocated to start-up costs, grow the RVC and to support efforts regarding education, outreach and advocacy.
- EGALE Canada Human Rights Trust – $35,000 – for updating the “Just Society Report”. Grant funding specifically allocated to: edit and update the document; research and draft additional content; develop a bilingual translation; publish the document by Fall 2020; and promote and disseminate the report (electronic and small print run).
- Sandbay Entertainment Inc. – $621.50 – for French subtitling of the trailer for the documentary The Fruit Machine.
- Unison Choruses Canada – $38,500 – for the commissioning and performance of three new choral works that will memorialize the LGBT purge and provide comfort to the victims of the purge.
- Lez Spread the Word – $5000 – for writing, promoting and publishing a bilingual article on the LGBT Purge in the publication “Lez Spread the Word”.
- VETS Canada – $60,000 – for the development of a one-year pilot project that will specifically provide support for LGBTQ2 veterans in crisis. This project involves the hiring of a dedicated support person and efforts to promote the services available to LGBTQ2 veterans in crisis and in need of support.
- Rainbow Veterans of Canada – $30,700 – for ongoing organizational, capacity-building support.
- Sandbay Entertainment Inc. – approx. $200,000 – for a year-long project to capture and curate more than 100 oral histories. This project is known as the “Survivor Stories Project” and is online here.
- McMaster University, Minority Stress Research Project – $50,000 (over two years) – for medical research that involves observing how the brain “adapts to the impossible”, and how functional changes as a result of minority stress exposure may lead to i) strength through adversity, and/or ii) psychological injury. LGBT Purge survivors who volunteer will be a key part to this research. This research could lead to improved treatments for PTSD. Principal Researcher is Dr. Andrew Nicholson, PhD, Professor at the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences.
- SandBay Entertainment Inc. – $20,000 – for voice-over French dubbing of the documentary, The Fruit Machine, to make the documentary more accessible.