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2SLGBTQIA+ History and Identities in Canada

Grassroots Leadership

Changes in government policy and law do not happen overnight. Often, it is activism at the local level that lays the groundwork for broader change. Grassroots activism has been at the heart of many modern global movements for social, political, economic and environmental justice. Through fundraising, rallies and protests, collecting signatures, letter-writing and telephone campaigns, and social media, local activists have used many strategies to educate the public in order to help effect lasting change.

Activism for equal rights within the 2SLGBTQIA+ community is an important and enduring part of its history. Jim Egan, for example, began his activism in the late 1940s by writing letters to newspapers, challenging their homophobic language. His activism continued through the 1990s, when he and his longtime partner, Jack Nesbitt, petitioned the Canadian government for spousal support under the Old Age Security Act. Today, the people described in this package — Charlie Lowthian-Rickert, Harriette Cunningham, Tru Wilson, Travis Price, and Todd Ross — continue to fight for social and political change.

Learn more about the many forms of 2SLGBTQIA+ leadership and activism by clicking on the objects below.