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331 - 7/29/2018 10:49:18 AM  

Streetlight Banner Project Marks 15th Anniversary of Guelph Pride


With fifteen light standards to hang banners on, we wanted to mark the progress and changes that have been made in Guelph in the last 15 years; changes showing the movement from being marginalized to becoming full-fledged, included, contributing members of our communities

Downtown Guelph, April 9th 2018

The Downtown Guelph Business Association (DGBA), with a funding partnership from the City of Guelph, is happy to announce its contribution to the 15th anniversary of Guelph Pride with a street light banner project.  From now until October, pedestrians can walk along Carden Street and learn about local and national LGBT2Q+ history.

The project started with wanting to mark the 15th anniversary of Guelph Pride, the community based event that celebrates the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Queer members of the Guelph area. With fifteen light standards to hang banners on, we wanted to mark the progress and changes that have been made in Guelph in the last 15 years; changes showing the movement from being marginalized to becoming full-fledged, included, contributing members of our communities.

With curation from local historian, Tony Berto, and input from Guelph Pride, the project soon became much broader in scope as we realised there was more to this story that needed to be told.  Events across our country, from many different provinces, profoundly affected the lives of the LBGTQ2+ citizens here in Guelph. Furthermore, seemingly singular events didn’t tell the entire story unless they were presented in the wider scope of history and events that had come before.

For this reason, the project chose to examine a full history of events that affected the LBGTQ2+ members of our community, across both time, and the vast expanse of lands now called Canada.

LGBT2Q+ Community Organizer and Guelph Pride collective member, Jasper Smith said “This project highlights both the forgotten and the continuing narratives of LGBT2Q+ history in Guelph. We've come so far as a community in recent decades, and though some of it has remained hidden out of safety or fear, there's a distinct shift happening. We're starting to see more and more people in the community able to highlight and celebrate some of our hard-earned successes and accomplishments that we've made together. Additionally, it draws attention to the changes that often get less notice: that of our Indigenous and Two Spirit community members, of women, transgender people, and contributions by people of colour. I'm excited about the diversity of this project and the way it shows the community just how far we've come and that we'll continue to grow and learn together as a community well into the future”.

There was an abundance of important information that could have been included and choosing the final content was difficult.  Curator Tony Berto said “The choices were not easy to make – we could have easily filled 100 banners. And much of the history out there was profoundly tragic – and some still is. But we’ve tried to round out our choices with an inclusive and studied approach, marking events that would have most profoundly affected our lives”.

The banners can be viewed in person on Carden Street, or online here.  The story behind each banner will appear on our new website, due to be launched in May.

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