Downtown Guelph, April 9th
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.
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.