The 2SLGBTQI+ 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 2SLGBTQI+ 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 acknowledge historic discrimination experienced by 2SLGBTQI+ communities and the abuse perpetrated by the Canadian state, including during the LGBT Purge.
The 2SLGBTQI+ National Monument is a collaboration between the LGBT Purge Fund, the Department of Canadian Heritage, the National Capital Commission and diverse 2SLGBTQI+ communities and their allies. Participation of 2SLGBTQI+ people in Canada has been instrumental to the development of the Monument since the beginning.
In 2019, hundreds contributed to a comprehensive Vision for the Monument, detailed here. The same year, the Monument Advisory Committee and Indigenous Circle also helped select the monument site. In 2020, the Vision guided five finalist design teams as they dreamed up what the monument might look and feel like. Thousands of people shared their thoughts on the five finalist proposals in 2021 — feedback that helped guide the decision of the Monument’s 10-person jury.
In March 2022, the “Thunderhead” was announced as the winning proposal. The design was conceived by the Winnipeg-based team led by Liz Wreford, Peter Sampson and Taylor LaRocque of Public City, with artists Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan and Albert McLeod, Indigenous and Two-Spirited People subject-matter expert and advisor. The proposal draws on the symbolism of a thunderhead cloud, which embodies the strength, activism and hope of 2SLGBTQI+ communities. The proposal is detailed here.
LGBT Purge survivors, rightsholders, Indigenous Circle members, Monument Advisory Committee members and wider 2SLGBTQI+ communities will continue to be part of this journey and involved as the Monument’s education and interpretation components are developed. Learn more about the Monument on the FAQ page.
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.
An Advisory Council to support the development of this exhibition has been established by the CMHR. Details of the Council can be found here.
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.
The exhibition is expected to be launched in late 2024. A travelling exhibition will also be developed.
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 (see Schedule L of the Final Settlement Agreement). The LGBT Purge Fund has been actively urging the government to provide these documents so that they can be reviewed, analyzed and made public.
We were told by the government that 11,000 pages of material would be provided to the LGBT Purge Fund. 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.
After challenging negotiations that lasted more than one year, in January 2023, the LGBT Purge Fund and the Department of Justice (on behalf of the Government of Canada) reached a legal agreement regarding the provision of 15,000 more pages of historical documents relating to the LGBT Purge. These records will be provided to us over 2023 and 2025. The LGBT Purge Fund will make these records available to the public, along with the ones we have already received.
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 2SLGBTQI+ inclusion in the federal government workplace (including the RCMP and Canadian Armed Forces). In addition, the 2SLGBTQI+ Secretariat (a government office located in the Department of Canadian Heritage) will consult with the SME on ways to enhance 2SLGBTQI+ 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 2SLGBTQI+ policies and related practices in the federal government. The report, entitled “Emerging from the Purge”, was provided to the government and issued publicly in May 2021. An abstract of the report is available here, and the full report is available here.
The LGBT Purge Fund has funded 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 have funded memorialize the LGBT Purge and/or provide support to those affected.
Effective December 1, 2022, the LGBT Purge Fund has suspended our grant-making program. No future grants will be provided until further notice. This decision was taken due to the rising project costs being incurred by the Purge Fund.
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.
- 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 2SLGBTQI+ veterans in crisis. This project involves the hiring of a dedicated support person and efforts to promote the services available to 2SLGBTQI+ 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.
- EGALE Canada Human Rights Trust – $35,000 – For the research, writing and production of a report tentatively entitled Equal Protection and Equal Benefit, including (among other things) information on diversity and inclusion of LGBTQI2S people in the federal workplace.
- Svend Robinson – $100,000 – a grant to research and write a book on the LGBT Purge. Any proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated.
- Egale Canada – $100,000 – develop a strategic plan to ensure government accountability for implementation of recommendations contained in the Emerging from the Purge report. Additionally, develop a plan for cross-country LGBT Purge education tour to highlight the 30th anniversary of the ending of the policy of discrimination in the Canadian Armed Forces. Also, administer a series of regional micro-grants in support of this tour.
- Toronto Police Service LGBTQ Internal Support Network (ISN) – $30,000 – in support of the hosting of a gala to honour LGBT Purge survivors and guests on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the ending of the policy of discrimination in the Canadian Armed Forces. Costs to cover venue rentals, guest speakers and honouring of Purge survivors.
- Secret Agents Productions – $75,000 – Montreal-based media company for the research, production and distribution of a 16-episode bilingual podcast series about the LGBT Purge, along with accompanying educational materials ( “The LGBT Purge Podcast and Educators Toolkit & Conversation Guide”).
- Sarah Worthman – $27,500 – Newfoundland-based researcher – for the research, writing, production and distribution of an educational packet / report about the discrimination faced by 2SLGBTQ+ soldiers during the First World War (specifically those who fought at Vimy Ridge).
- Mount Saint Vincent University – Department of Family Studies and Gerontology – Nova Scotia – $11,575 – For the funding of speakers’ fees that will support awareness of the LGBT Purge and education about queer families.
- McGill University Law School – Montreal – $250,000 – For the endowment of a fund at the McGill Faculty of Law, entitled the LGBT Purge Fellowship. Income from the fund would, in perpetuity, offer high-impact opportunities and build capacity on the part of emerging jurists interested in matters of justice for LGBT folks. It would fund a McGill Law student’s summer placement as an intern at an organization dedicated to promoting LGBT rights, in Canada or elsewhere, or a summer of fulltime research on a matter related to LGBT rights with a view to producing a scholarly publication.
- Solo Chicken Productions – New Brunswick – $10,000 – A grant to support the development and production of a physical theatre performance called Fruit Machine.