On March 23-24, 2019, more than 130 activists, academics, lawyers, and other community members gathered for a conference dedicated to deconstructing the myths of the 1969 criminal code reforms.
This two day event opened with an introduction by Gary Kinsman of the major critiques of 69 reforms (Anti-69 101), followed by a plenary session dedicated to evaluating the "Just Society" as outlined in the late 1960s by Pierre Elliott Trudeau. The conference concluded with a closing plenary.
Several of these sessions were captured on video and have been published by the Anti-69 Network with permission from the speakers.
Fore more information, check out the Anti-69 FAQ.
- Gary Kinsman - Anti-69 101
Opening Plenary: "Just Society"
- Laura Hall - "White Settler Homonationalism and the Roots of Heterosexist Patriarchy”
- Christo Aivalis - "P.E. Trudeau, the Just Society, and Attacks on Workers' Rights"
- Danielle Normandeau - "Disability and Resistance: Intersections of Disability in the 1969 Criminal Code Reform"
- Rinaldo Walcott - "The Black 1960s: Black Life after Sir George Williams & Other Stories of the Nation"
Recorded Panel Presentations
- Kai Rajala - "White Settler Homonationalism and the Roots of Heterosexist Patriarchy”
- Beverly Bain - "A ‘New’ War on Queers": Pride Toronto, The State and Dissident Queers"
- OmiSoore H. Dryden - "Black Queer Radical Thought in the UnJust Society"
Gary Kinsman - "Anti-69 101"
Anti-69 101 explores the various critiques against the 1969 criminal code reforms. Gary Kinsman is a long-time queer liberation and anti-capitalist activist, author of The Regulation of Desire and co-author of The Canadian War on Queers, and member of the Anti-69 Network.
Laura Hall - "White Settler Homonationalism and the Roots of Heterosexist Patriarchy”
This presentation explores the implications of white-settler homonationalism in a Canadian-colonial context. White-settler homonationalism obscures the roots of settler and state colonialism as a heterosexist and patriarchal project. The focus on same-sex marriage and legislative change, as well as more recent activism around sex-ed curriculum repeal in Ontario, has shaped a movement that obscures the lives of Indigenous Two-Spirit people while failing to understand the roots of homophobia and heterosexist patriarchy in settler and state colonialism. For example, the AIDS crises as it impacts 2SLGBTQ/Indigenous folks including sex workers, survivors of trafficking, and those walking with addiction, are muted in the larger movement to address the crisis. Recent arrivals of LGBTQ refugees to the United States, now facing militarized opposition, also demand attention as the boundaries between colonial states continue to obscure Indigeneity among refugee populations and therefore the unique voices of those individuals. This presentation will situate homonationalism in the project of white-settler nationalism and encroachment on Indigenous lands and rights. My presentation will then present the antitheses to this problem, rooted in Indigenous concepts, conversations and worldview.
Laura Hall grew up on Anishinaabe territory in N'Swakamok (Sudbury), raised by a Mohawk mother and English/Canadian father. Laura's research emphasizes the importance of Indigenous Knowledge and the influences of Haudenosaunee knowledge in feminist, anarchist and environmental theories, with an emphasis on intersectionality and social and environmental justice.
Christo Aivalis - "P.E. Trudeau, the Just Society, and Attacks on Workers' Rights"
One of my book chapters explores the limits of the Just Society when it pertains to taxation and a guaranteed annual income. I also explore how some workers used the rhetoric of the Just Society to attack Trudeau on his hypocrisy and inaction on these core issues. But beyond this, my book goes into how Trudeau used both legislation and his public addresses to put forward a vision of society which deemed working-class expectations as unreasonable and decadent. He thus, throughout his time in power, used these means to attack unions and social programs under the idea that if Canada wanted to be lean, mean, and globally competitive, it had to become more friendly to employers and investors, and the benefits of this would eventually trickle down to the working people.
I will go over the 'highlights' of Trudeau's attacks on workers and the limitations of the Just Society.
Christo Aivalis is the author of The Constant Liberal: Pierre Elliot Trudeau, Organized Labour, and the Canadian Social Democratic Left.
Danielle Normandeau - "Disability and Resistance: Intersections of Disability in the 1969 Criminal Code Reform"
This paper employs a critical disability studies lens to identify and examine the ableist contours of the 1969 omnibus Criminal Code Reform bill. At first glance, it would appear that disability was not a point of focus for the reform, which claimed to decriminalize homosexuality, abortion, and contraception, while in actuality, re-criminalizing them upon new grounds. However, the discourses embedded in the bill are fundamentally rooted in ableism and saneism, and, much like those deployed in the White Paper, state multiculturalism, and “Just Society,” were directed towards the production of the normative white, male, cis, heterosexual, property-owning citizen, who is still at the heart of contemporary legislation—albeit in new ways. Ultimately, this paper demonstrates that a critical disability studies lens provides both a fruitful approach for analyzing the intersections of cis-heterosexism, settler colonialism, racism, and ableism underlying the bill, as well as a social justice framework for organizing across identifications to challenge these oppressive systems.
Danielle Normandeau is a PhD student in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Carleton University. Their doctoral research more broadly resides in the fields of critical disability studies, Mad studies, critical trans studies, and social philosophy. They are also a member of the Anti-69 organizing committee.
Rinaldo Walcott - "The Black 1960s: Black Life after Sir George Williams & Other Stories of the Nation"
This paper puts the 1969 Criminal Code Reform in conversation with Black movements for liberation and their intersection in Canada. The paper grapples with unspoken and unaccounted for confluences of social movements and the resulting silences as well. The paper asks the question: what if the 1960s is read through Black Canada what might we learn, what might we have to rethink? The paper takes the Sir George Williams Affair (1968-69) as the starting point to offer a different account both theoretical and empirical of the (Black) 1960s in Canada.
Rinaldo Walcott is Professor, Women and Gender Studies Institute, University of Toronto. He is co-author with Idil Abdillahi of BlackLife: Post-BLM and the Struggle for Freedom (2019 ARP Books).
Kai Rajala - "Searching for Solidarities between Gay Liberation & Indigenous Struggles for Self-Determination in 1970s 'Canada'"
An earlier version of this paper was presented in April of 2018 at the “Toward a Queer Abolitionist Movement” conference at UNC Asheville. In an attempt to trouble the faulty and assumed logic of Canadian nation-state benevolence, my independent research posits the first significant contact between queer settler populations and the state as being inextricably tied to the suppression of Indigenous title and sovereignty. In 1969, just as the omnibus Criminal Law Amendment Act is being ushered in by Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s cabinet in an effort to decriminalize certain homosexual acts, we see the same government attempting to further dispossess Indigenous peoples of their lands and resources and assimilate them into the nation-state with the White Paper proposal. My paper makes the claim that this early shift of homosexuality from criminal to social problem acts as the beginning of movement de-radicalization/liberalization that results in the incorporation of queer settlers into the project of Canadian nation-building. What follows is a gay liberation movement that rears itself in the direction of state recognition and rights acquisition, a shift that prompts the archivist to define “liberation”. Acknowledging that several chapters of the gay liberation movement had employed anti-statist/communist lenses in their activism, the paper is interested in uncovering whether gay liberation had any concept of anti-colonialism. It is invested in locating historical points of contact between gay liberation and Indigenous resurgence movements, and imagining collaborative prefiguration.
Kai Rajala is an independent researcher, writer and activist, who recently relocated to Tiohtià:ke/”Montreal” from the unceded Coast Salish territories colonially referred to as “Vancouver”.
Beverly Bain - "A ‘New’ War on Queers": Pride Toronto, The State and Dissident Queers"
The National Security Campaigns that were conducted against queers in the 50’s and 60’s were linked to the ongoing monitoring and surveillance of Black activists in Canada during that period. The techniques of monitoring phones, informants and infiltrating meetings were all used by Police officers and other state officials against Black and Black Queer and trans activists who were organizing against police and other forms of state violence.
This paper will argue that the coalescing of Pride Toronto, the City, Toronto Police Services and the Province is aimed at the management, surveillance and eventual sabotage of queer organizations across Canada. Queers perceived as dissidents would include many BIPOC queer and trans who will be primary targets of these techniques. This decision is also occurring in a context where white homonormativity, neoliberalism and corporatization, have been reshaping queerness and the queer movement to fit those agendas.
This paper will engage new possibilities of mobilizing and organizing of LGBTQ and BIPOC queer and trans people in Canada against this “new” war on queer communities in Canada.
Beverly Bain is a Black queer feminist scholar and activist. She teaches in Women and Gender Studies-UTM Campus, University of Toronto and writes in the areas of black and diasporic sexualities, violence against women, transnationalism and anticapitalism.
OmiSoore H. Dryden - "Black Queer Radical Thought in the UnJust Society"
In the Just Society Report, Egale Canada mentions Black people twice. First on page 22 when referencing a Black man named Prince who was convicted of sodomy in 1777; and again on page 100, in relation to the analytic of intersectionality by referencing "someone who is black and gay." In this paper, I examine how Blackness in Canada is used to frame the normative gay subject. Specifically how are Black queer people understood, not only in the colonial nation, but also in queer rights activism as captured in the work of Egale? In the homonormative spaces of Canadian queer spaces, Black people remain an unimaginable presence. Instead, Blackness is deployed as a measurement for queer exceptionalism. Using the tenants of Black Radical Thought, I focus my attention on Egale's websites, press releases, legal factum and articles in order to track Egale's use of Blackness in their work for gay rights.
she/her - OmiSoore H. Dryden is the Principal Investigator of a two-year research project that seeks to identify the barriers African/Black gay, bisexual, and trans men encounter to donating blood in Canada. She is the JRJ Chair in Black Canadian Studies, Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University.
Vincent Mousseau - Closing Plenary
they/them - Vincent Mousseau is a Black, queer and non-binary community organizer, educator, student, and activist based in Tio’tia:ke (Montréal, QC). Their areas of expertise include anti-oppressive framework, QTBIPOC community outreach strategies, intersectionality, as well as Black Lives Matter and radical queer activism. Their research surrounds the creation of LGBTQ2+ affirming spaces for youth of colour, as well as the barriers that Black MSM face in Canadian blood donation policy.
Richard Fung - Closing Plenary
he/him - Richard Fung is an award-winning video artist and writer, and Professor in the Faculty of Art at OCAD University. He is a co-founder of Gay Asians Toronto in 1980, and has been active in a number of LGBTQI+ organizations and campaigns.
Video capture and editing by Tom Hooper