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Saskatchewan Resources for Sexual Diversity

Celebrating a History of Diversity:

Lesbian and Gay Life in Saskatchewan, 1971 - 2006
A Selected Annotated Chronology

The 2000s


January Saskatoon
A chapter of Integrity, an organization for gays and lesbians in the Anglican Church of Canada, began meeting. The group had been suggested by Anglican Bishop Rodney Andrews and was facilitated by Rev. Shawn Sanford Beck.
[Julie Saccone, “Group offers gays caring place to worship,” SSP, (January 7 2005) p. A3.]
January Saskatoon
The reluctance of some marriage commissioners to conduct same-sex marriages continued to be a political issue. NDP provincial Justice Minister Frank Quennell declared that commissioners were statutory officers who don’t get to choose which laws they will or won’t enforce. Eight commissioners reportedly resigned and a few others said they would go to court if they were penalized for refusing to perform marriages. Other commissioners reported no qualms. Dorothy Meszaros of Moose Jaw said she loved performing marriage ceremonies and that a same-sex marriage would be a new experience for her: “It will be very interesting for that first time…I would have the jitters the first time I guess.”
[Perceptions, v. 23 no. 1 (January 26 2005) p. 11. / Susan Boyer, “Same-sex couples canbe married here,” Moose Jaw Times-Herald, (February 11 2005) p. 1.]
January 28-29 Saskatoon
The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation sponsored a conference entitled A Place to Start: Saskatchewan Teachers and a Straight-Gay Alliance. The event provided professional development about LGBT issues and was the site of the inaugural meeting of the Saskatchewan Straight and Gay Alliance.
[Event flyer – SAB NR]
January 29 - February 19 Regina
Neutral Ground presented Chicken Inn, a photo-based exhibition by Gary Varro that examined the domestication of daily life and gay culture. The exhibit included twelve large photos of Varro as ‘the subject’ tarred with rainbow colored feathers.
[Jack Anderson, “Varro’s work is a life examined,” RLP, (February 9 2005) p. A8.]
February 11-13 Saskatoon
The Live Five theatre group and St. James Anglican Church presented Articles of Faith, a thought provoking play about an Anglican parish wrestling with same-sex marriage. Rev. Michael Stonhouse of St. James hoped that audiences would learn to appreciate differences of opinion and asked, “Can we not be together, work together, worship together, even when we disagree.”
[Jennifer Jacoby-Smith, “Play sets stage for same-sex discussion,” SSP, (February 9 2005) p. C2.]
February 18
A poll commissioned by the SSP, RLP and Global Television indicated that same-sex marriage was unpopular in Saskatchewan. The poll found that 45% strongly opposed the provincial government’s action to allow these marriages while another 8.9% were opposed. 18.5% strongly supported the government’s position on the issue. Women, young adults, and those with higher education and incomes were most supportive.
[Lana Haight, “Most oppose provinces same-sex marriage stance,” SSP, (February 18 2005) p. B6.]
March Prince Albert
GLHS received funding from Justice Canada to hire a part-time coordinator to develop a safer community for LGBT youth in Prince Albert. GLHS intends to partner with Lambda North, the Prince Albert YWCA and the City of Prince Albert Youth Outreach Program in this project.
[Perceptions, v. 23 no. 2 (March 9 2005) p. 12.]
March 18-19 Saskatoon
Helping Schools Become Positive Places was the theme of the eighth annual Breaking the Silence. Andrew Thomson, Saskatchewan Minister of Education opened the conference. Delegates heard preliminary findings from an ongoing study by U of S researchers investigating homophobic behaviors in Saskatchewan schools and the responses of teachers.
[Perceptions, v. 23 no. 2 (March 9 2005) p. 11. / Chris Swick, “Gay, lesbian youth studied,” RLP, (March 21 2005) p. B3.]
March 19 Saskatoon
EGALE Canada held its annual meeting and rural retreat at the GLHS office.
[Perceptions, v. 23 no. 2 (March 9 2005) p. 11.]
April 16 Saskatoon
Some 600 people held a rally and march in support of a traditional definition of marriage. The March for Marriage was coordinated by Troy Hudson, a youth leader at Avalon Alliance Church and included as speakers Conservative MPs Maurice Vellacott and Brad Trost. Supporters of same-sex marriage, including members of the Unitarian congregation, attended the rally.
[Brad Brown, “Rally backs ‘traditional marriage’,” SSP, (April 18 2005) p. A3.]
May 2 Regina
A tribunal convened by the SHRC ordered Bill Whatcott to pay $17,500 to four people for distributing offensive antigay flyers in 2001 and 2002. He was also prohibited from distributing material that promotes hatred against individuals because of their sexual orientation. Whatcott told the tribunal he wouldn’t abide by the decision and filed an appeal.
[Julie Saccone, “Anti-gay crusader Whatcott fined for ‘offensive flyers’,” SSP, (May 14 2005) p. A6. / Erica Simpson, “Anti-gay flyers distributed in city,”SSP, (May 18 2005) p. A4.]
May 13 Saskatoon
The U of S announced a Positive Space program to reduce the impact of homophobia and heterosexism at the U of S. The program encouraged individuals and groups to display a special logo identifying their space as one where people need not fear disclosing their sexual orientation or gender identity.
[“Positive spaces introduced on campus,” On Campus News, (May 13 2005) p. 11.]
June Regina
All Nations Hope AIDS Network hosted Reclaiming Our Place of Honour in the Circle, the second annual Two-Spirited conference in Regina.
[Perceptions, v. 23 no. 5 (July 27 2005) p. 13.]
June 9-10 Saskatoon
Queer City Cinema presented the White Light Tour 2005 at the Broadway Theatre. The event presented a historical overview of Canadian queer films and video from the 1940s to 2000.
[“Queer City Cinema coming,” SSP, (June 7 2005) p. C2.]
June 12-18 Saskatoon
The Mendel Art Gallery presented That’s So Gay, a juried show of local queer and queer friendly artists. Curator Zachari Logan sought to examine stereotypes and issues surrounding homosexuality in contemporary society.
[“Mendel Art Gallery features That’s So Gay,” Saskatoon Sun, (June 12 2005) p. 28.]
June 16 Saskatoon
The Saskatoon Diversity Network co hosted the premiere of Ready to Get Married, a new work by Gemini award-winning Saskatchewan filmmaker Anand Ramayya. A camera followed local couple Julie Richards and Nicole White as they fought to have their relationship recognized by both family and government. The film was part of a commissioned documentary series on the new face of multiculturalism.
[2005 Saskatoon Pride Festival program – SAB NR]
June 17-26 Regina
Regina’s Pride Week was jammed packed with social and educational programs. Two new events were a community barbecue with members of the Regina Police Services and a Pride Fair at the U of R.
[Perceptions, v. 23 no. 4 (June 1 2005) p. 10.]
June 22 Saskatoon
The annual general meeting of GLHS changed the organization’s name to The Avenue Community Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity.
[Gay and Lesbian Health Services. Newsletter, (August 2005) p. 1.]
June 28 Ottawa
Bill C-38 passed its final reading with the support of the majority of the members of the Liberal Party, Bloc Quebecois and NDP. The bill was opposed by most Conservative Party MPs, including all thirteen from its Saskatchewan caucus. Liberal Finance Minister Ralph Goodale, MP for Wascana, supported the bill. When the legislation received royal assent Canada became the fourth nation to legally recognize same-sex marriage.
August 4-14 Saskatoon
The Jerk Chicken Club presented Sky Gilbert’s Drag Queens on Trial at the Fringe Festival. A fabulous threesome defends their right to wear a dress and to be whoever they want to be. The Fringe also included The First Time, a one-man show by Paul Hutcheson about his journey to accept his homosexuality in a conservative home.
[Silas Polkinghorne, “Drag Queens on Trial (Review),” SSP, (August 9 2005) p. C3.]
August 26 Saskatoon
Peterson Toscano presented his one-man comedy Doin’ Time in the Homo NoMo Halfway House at St Thomas-Wesley United Church. Toscano spent 17 years and over $30,000 to become heterosexual. It didn’t take.
[Event flyer – SAB NR]
September Toronto
Insomniac Press published Anthony Bidulka’s third Russell Quant mystery Tapas on the Ramblas. This latest episode sees the Saskatoon detective traveling to Spain and Sicily.
September Regina
The University of Regina Students’ Union with the support of GBLUR officially opened and began funding the LGBT2 Centre at the University of Regina.
April 17 Regina
The Prairie Pride Chorus performed with the St. James United Church choir at that church’s Affirming Congregation Sunday.
[SSN, (April 2005) p. 3.]
April 22-23 Saskatoon
A weekend seminar of the Catholic section of the Saskatchewan School Boards Association featured a presentation by Rev. Mark Miller on the “pastoral care of queer students.” Miller works as an ethicist at Saskatoon’s St. Paul’s Hospital.
[Perceptions, v. 23 no. 4 (June 1 2005) p. 14.]
May Saskatoon
The Saskatoon Public School Division presented a window display at their headquarters building dealing with homophobia and issues of sexual diversity. The display incorporated materials from the division’s three Gay/Straight Alliances.
[Perceptions, v. 23 no. 4 (June 1 2005) p. 13.]
May 14 Saskatoon
The Bridge City Chorus performed with Winnipeg’s Rainbow Harmony Project at the Royal Canadian Legion Hall.
[SSN, (May 2005) p. 2.]
June 1-30 Saskatoon
The U of S Library presented Strange Desires, an exhibition of titles from its large collection of lesbian and gay pulp literature.
[Perceptions, v. 23 no. 4 (June 1 2005) p. 19.]
June 5 Regina
The Prairie Pride Chorus presented Songs from the Heart, a concert with guests soprano Lynn Channing and Latin American folk musicians Del Sur al Norte, at St. Paul’s Cathedral.
[SSN, (June 2005)]
June 26 Prince Albert
The Herald reported that local marriage commissioner Bruce Goertzen had made a complaint to the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission that he was being forced to perform same-sex marriages. Prince Albert Conservative MP Brian Fitzpatrick commented that his party was clearly opposed to these marriages and that if it formed government it would restrict marriage to the union of one man and one woman.
[Barry Glass, “Marriage commissioner in limbo over same-sex law,” Prince Albert Daily Herald, (June 26 2005) p. 1.]
July 1 Saskatoon
Robert Doell staged a one man protest by setting fire to three Canadian flags at City Hall. According to Doell passing the same-sex legislation was “the final step, the final breaking of the commandments.”
[Jamie Komarnicki, “Protestor condemns same-sex legislation,” SSP, (July 2 2005) p. A11.]
July 8 Regina
The Leader-Post reported that a spokesperson for Justice Minister Frank Quennell had confirmed that the department was reviewing a complaint from a same-sex couple against a marriage commissioner who had refused to perform their marriage. Saskatchewan Party justice critic Don Morgan called on the government to allow commissioners to refuse if they were uncomfortable marrying same-sex couples for religious reasons.
[James Wood, “Refusal may cost job,” RLP, (July 8 2005) p. B1.]
July 14 Regina
Orville Nichols, a Regina marriage commissioner, announced that he was facing a SHRC complaint after refusing to perform a same-sex marriage and complained that he had been deliberately set up. Maurice Vellacott, Conservative MP for Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, issued two press releases in defense of Nichols, one of which provided the names of the male couple. Vellacott said he saw nothing wrong this act of outing. The complainants denied they were activists or that they had sought out Nichols and said that Vellacott’s press release was “a malicious attempt to out them to intimidate them from pursuing their complaint.”
[Murray Mandryk, “Commissioner fighting for job,” RLP, (July 14 2005) p .B1. / Murray Mandryk, “All he wanted was a wedding,” SSP, (July 16 2005) p. A14.]
July 25 Saskatoon
The StarPhoenix reported that according to Saskatchewan’s Vital Statistics Office nineteen of the thirty same-sex marriages registered in the province had united women. This figure mirrored a similar national trend of more lesbian than gay male couples seeking marriage.
[Nick Petter, “More lesbians than gay men marrying: statistics,” SSP, (July 25 2005) p. A4.]
October 27 Saskatoon
The first social event of Saskatoon’s Business and Professional Group was held at the Darrell Bell Gallery and attracted fifty.
[Perceptions, v. 23 no. 8 (December 7 2005) p. 13.]
November 24 Saskatoon
The Avenue Community Centre published Neil Richards’ Celebrating a History of Diversity: Lesbian and Gay Life in Saskatchewan, 1971 - 2005, A Selected Annotated Chronology. The publication received financial support from the Community Initiatives Fund for Saskatchewan Centennial 2005, a program of Saskatchewan Culture, Youth and Recreation. The University of Saskatchewan Library produced a digital version for their website Saskatchewan Resources for Sexual Diversity.
[Perceptions, v. 23 no. 8 (December 7 2005) p. 12.]
November 4 Regina
The StarPhoenix reported that delegates to the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour’s fall convention had adopted a resolution describing homophobia as a discrimination that leads to violence, including murder, and committing the organization to providing workshops to union members on the effects of homophobia.
[Nikhat Ahmed, “Labour vows to fight homophobia,” SSP, (November 4 2005) p. A7.]
November 8 Regina
The Leader-Post reported that members of Lakeview United Church had voted by a large majority to treat all marriages equally and to permit same-sex ceremonies in their church. Minister Everett Hollis said that the decision was indicative of “a church in transition.”
[Erin Morrison, “Congregation ok’s same-sex marriages,” RLP, (November 8 2005) p. B1.]
November 12 Regina
The Prairie Pride Chorus hosted Check…Mate?, a play written and performed by Catherine Harrison and Clare Middleton, at the Mackenzie Art Gallery.
[SSN, (November 2005) p. 2.]
November 25 North Battleford
Sakewaw High School’s Social Forum Day examined several issues including respect for sexual diversity. Saskatoon’s Respect for Sexual Diversity Youth made a presentation on addressing homophobia.
[Lillian Blackstar, “Social Forum tackles major issues,” The News-Optimist, (December 4 2005) p. 12.]
November 25 Prince Albert
The Avenue Community Centre announced the opening of an office in Prince Albert but preferred to not publicly reveal its location. Director Bruce Garman said the initial focus of the centre would be support for gay and lesbian youth. This initiative was supported with a grant from Justice Canada.
[Brigette Jobin, “Gay and Lesbian centre opens,” Prince Albert Herald, (November 25 2005) p. 1.]
November 29
On the first day of the federal election campaign Conservative leader Stephen Harper promised to introduce legislation to restrict marriage to the union of a man and a woman if the Commons endorsed a motion to that effect in a free vote. Two weeks later in the first of four campaign debates Harper promised that he would never use the Charter’s Notwithstanding clause to overturn same-sex marriage.
[Allan Woods, “Harper raises gay debate,” SSP, (November 30 2005) p. A1. / “Harper won’t use notwithstanding clause against gay marriage,” Moose Jaw Times-Herald, (December 16 2005) p. 1.]
December Saskatoon
The Avenue Community Centre began an examination of services for an aging queer community with a public survey titled Aging with Pride.
[SSN, (March 2006) p. 6.]
December 17 Regina
The parents of Heather Bishop placed an ad in the Leader-Post announcing that their daughter had been awarded the Order of Canada. The Manitoba based singer and social activist spent her first 26 years in Saskatchewan and played a leadership role in the early development of Regina’s LG community.
[“Announcements,” RLP, (December 17 2005) p. G9.]
December 26 Saskatoon
Saskatoon-Humboldt Conservative MP Brad Trost said that he didn’t think he could have gotten elected in the previous election but for his opposition to same sex-marriage. He said that it was one of the party’s strongest issues. According to Trost polling in his riding found 72% opposed and 28% in favor.
[Julie Saccone, “Same-sex debate may affect voters,” SSP, (December 26 2005) p. A6.]