The Commemorate 50 Timeline: The Champions

Remember the Trailblazers? They set out to create change and gain equal rights for LGBTQ2S+ people in Canada. Too often, however, the Trailblazers were punished, jailed, ostracized and abused for this work. But from their persistence, courage and passion came new opportunities: the legalization of same sex marriage and the ability for same sex couples to adopt; the opportunity to serve openly in Canada’s Armed Forces; and positive representation in the cultural landscape of Canada.

The Champions are the last category of the Commemorate 50 Timeline, and with them comes hope, optimism and love. They’ve picked up where the Trailblazers left off, carrying the fight for equal rights and representation into the next generation of LGBTQ2S+ people in Canada. The Champions are expanding society’s views and ideas of what it means to be LGBTQ2S+ and beyond. They support intersectionality (the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender, which inform the multiple ways people experience oppression and the multiple ways people identify themselves) and promote education of the endless ways in which one can exist in the world. The Champions utilize the work of those who came before them, harnessing their platforms to advocate for the vulnerable and the marginalized, to help protect them, empower them, and fight for the same human rights to which we are all entitled.

Learn more about Tru Wilson, activist and advocate for trans youth; Ahmad Danny Ramadan, award-winning Syrian-Canadian author, public speaker and LGBTQ-refugees activist; Tegan and Sara, award-winning twin musicians and cofounders of the Tegan and Sara Foundation; Cicely Blain, diversity and inclusion consultant and activist, and a co-founder of Black Lives Matter Vancouver; and Kent Monkman, two-spirit interdisciplinary Cree visual artist, and follow the C50 Timeline on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

In 2019, Canada recognized the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalization of homosexuality, a crucial milestone in the history of equal rights for LGBTQ2S+ Canadians. With funding from Heritage Canada, the Office of the Lieutenant Governor launched Commemorate 50 (C50), a year-long series of events and initiatives celebrating the accomplishments and contributions of the LGBTQ2S+ community, and championing their tireless work done to advance equality, past and present.

Artwork by Aaron Bergunder and The Number.