Conference: We Demand (Vancouver)

WeDemand-MacPheeHogan Download PDF of our talk.


“We Demand” History/Sex/Activism in Canada/« Nous demandons »: Histoire/Sexe/Activisme

(Film Program: Pacific Cinémathèque, 1131 Howe Street)

Thursday, August 25, 2011


7:30pm: “We Demand… Moving Images”: An Illustrated Lecture by Tom Waugh 

Tom Waugh, renowned film scholar and Concordia University Research Chair in Sexual Representation and Documentary, will open the “We Demand” Cinémathèque programming with an illustrated lecture reevaluating the cinematic heritage of the post-Omnibus/pre-AIDS era of film, video, and moving image production by Canadian LGBTQ activists. Showing excerpts from ten exemplary films and videos from Canada’s three moving-image production metropoles, Waugh will develop a subjective survey of the political cinematic landscape in the decade following “We Demand”—a contrapuntal historiography of activist film and video from 1970 to 1982.

Friday, August 26, 2011

8:45am-9:00am: WELCOME (Nelson/Denman Room)

Prayer: Elder Margaret George, Tseil-Waututh First Nation

9:00am-10:30am: PLENARY: Activism as History (Nelson/Denman Room)

Chair: Marc Stein (York University)

Ron Dutton, BC Gay and Lesbian Archives

barbara findlay, lawyer

Janine Fuller, Little Sister’s Bookstore

Amy Gottlieb, educator, photographer

Gary Kinsman, Laurentian University

10:30am-10:45am: BREAK (Conference Foyer)

Danielle Cooper, University of Toronto, Poster Presentation: Introducing the Sexual Representation Collection at the University of Toronto


1. Roundtable: We Demand: Remembering as Resistant (Nelson Room)

Chair: Gareth Kirkby (Xtra! Vancouver)

Brian Waite (Founding member of Toronto Gay Action & The Body Politic)

Ed Jackson (Director, Program Development, CATIE; Early member, Toronto Gay Action & Body Politic Collective; Founding Member, Toronto Centre for Lesbian and Gay Studies)

Roedy Green (Founding member, Gay Alliance Towards Equality)


2. Politics and History of HIV/AIDS (Denman Room)

Chair: Nick Mulé (York University)

David Churchill (University of Manitoba), The Cultural Politics of HIV/AIDS in 1980s Toronto

John Paul Catungal (University of Toronto), Making (a) Difference: Genealogies of Ethno-Specific Organizing in Toronto’s HIV/AIDS Sector

Richard McKay (Oxford University), “I don’t see him as any more typical of a gay man than Jack the Ripper was of the heterosexual”: Randy Shilts’s characterization of Gaétan Dugas

3. Trans Rights, Activism, and Representation (Comox Room)

Chair: Ann Travers (Simon Fraser University)

Bobby Noble (York University), Beyond Bodies / After Borders: Female-to-Male Transsexual Masculinities and the Unruliness of Trans Embodiment

Anika Nicole Stafford (University of British Columbia), Everyday Exclusions: Vancouver Trans Inclusive Feminists and Maneuvering Anti-Violence Organizing

4. Archives, Museums, and Queer Collections (Barclay Room)

Chair: Lara Wilson (University of Victoria Archives)

Mél Hogan and Marie-Claire MacPhee (No More Potlucks) Taking the Archives Down with Us

Clare Robson (Quirk-e), The Bridge Generation: Demanding Archives from the Queer Imaging & Riting Kollective for Elders (Quirk-e)

Mandy Koolen (Laurentian University) Archiving the Personal, Inspiring the Political

Krista Jane Cooke (Canadian Museum of Civilization), Representing Sexuality at the Canadian Museum of Civilization


12:15pm-1:30pm LUNCH (advance registration requested) (Gilford Room)

Canadian Queer Studies Association Founding Lunch Meeting

Co-sponsored by UBC Press and the Sexuality Studies Minor Program, Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies, Carleton University

Chair: T.L. Cowan (University of Saskatchewan)

Minute-taker: Hélène Frolard-Dourlet (University of British Columbia)



1. Collecting and Interpreting Gendered and Sexual Politics and Communities (Nelson Room)

Chair: Dan Irving (Carleton University)

Aaron Devor (University of Victoria), Saving our History: Building a Transgender Archive

Nicholas Matte (University of Toronto), Professionalizing Transsexuals in the 1980s: Rupert Raj’s Media and Medical Activism

Andrea Zanin (York University), “Your Cuntry Needs You”: The Politics of Early-1990s Canadian Dyke S/M Porn

Fabien Rose (Concordia University), “Other cases must certainly exist”: some reflections on gender passing and history”

2. Regulations, Spaces and Histories (Barclay Room)

Chair: Isabelle Perrault (Concordia University)

Virginie Pineault (Université de Montréal), The First Known Quebec Homosexual Clubs, 1892-1908

Frances Reilly (University of Saskatchewan), Homosexuality and the Cold War Metaphor of Disease

Rosanne Sia (University of British Columbia), “White Girls Banned From Chinatown Cafes”: Regulating Cross-Racial Intimacies in Vancouver during the late 1930s

3. Lesbian Histories (Denman Room)

Chair: Julie Podmore (John Abbott College)

Diana Heffernan (Quebec Lesbian Network), Mémoire de notre histoire: Memories of Lesbian History in Quebec

Tamara Lang (York University), “Nobody had ever penetrated the secret world of lesbianism”: Locating the Canadian lesbian in magazine investigations of homosexuality, 1963-1969

Allison Burgess (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education/University of Toronto), The Triple Emergence of the Toronto Dyke March

4. Activism, Organizing and Communities (Comox Room)

Chair: Ed Jackson (CATIE)

David Anderson (University of British Columbia), “Breaking down the walls”: Investigating, documenting and celebrating 40 years of gay liberation and student activism at the University of British Columbia

Jake Feldman (Halifax-based activist), The Shirtless Debates: The Beginning of the End of Halifax Liberationist Activism from 1989-1995

Natalie Kouri-Towe (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education/University of Toronto), What’s Queer About Palestine Solidarity? Homonationalism, Apartheid, and Transnational Queer Activism

Melissa Autumn White (Syracuse University), Approaching Queer(er) Futures

3:00-3:15 BREAK


3:15-5:00pm KEYNOTE (Nelson/Denman Room)

Facilitator: Elise Chenier (Simon Fraser University)

Ann Cvetkovich, Garwood Centennial Professor of English and Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, University of Texas at Austin

“Queer Archives and their Institutions”


5:00-6:30 RECEPTION (35th Floor, Evergreen Suite-City View Suite)

Opening Remarks: Andrew Petter, President and Vice-Chancellor, Simon Fraser University


(Film Program: Pacific Cinémathèque, 1131 Howe Street)

Friday, August 26th

 That was Then: Revisiting the Positive Images Debate

Long before the television series Oz, or the recent film The Kids Are Alright, two Canadian narrative films boldly waded into the treacherous representational waters of male sexual subcultures in prison and lesbian parenting. Either ignored or critically reviled in Canada at the time of their release, these two films nevertheless claimed notable champions and in hindsight bear re-viewing and reassessment.

7:00pm: Fortune and Men’s Eyes (Harvey Hart, 1971)

9:00pm: By Design (Claude Jutra, 1981)

Saturday, August 27, 2011


9:00am-10:30am PLENARY: History as Activism (Nelson/Denman Room)

Chair: Ross Higgins (Concordia University)

Mary Louise Adams (Queen’s University)

Line Chamberland (Université du Québec à Montréal)

Karen Dubinsky (Queen’s University)

Steven Maynard (Queen’s University)

Becki Ross (University of British Columbia)


10:30am-10:45am BREAK



1.Regional and Urban Spaces, Sexuality, Activism & the Queer West (Barclay/Gilford Room)

Chair: David Churchill (University of Manitoba)

Lyle Dick (Parks Canada, Independent Scholar), Western Canada’s Frontier Era—A Same Sex Golden Age?

Liz Millward (University of Manitoba), “No-straights” rules and private members’ clubs as contested territory for women

Valerie J Korinek (University of Saskatchewan), “We never thought of ourselves as anything but ordinary people”: Prairie lesbian identities, “communities” and activism, 1950-1980

2. Health, Rights and Community Activism (Comox Room)

Chair: Robin Perelle (Xtra! Vancouver)

Star Deibert-Turner (Simon Fraser University), The history of feminist health activism in 1970s Vancouver, BC

Christabelle Sethna (University of Ottawa), Campus Hotbeds: Student Birth Control Activism and Oral Contraception

3. Violence and Queer Response (Denman Room)

Chair: Becki Ross (University of British Columbia)

Amber Dean (McMaster University), Queering representations of murdered or missing women: The ethics of (mis)interpretation

Jason Crawford and Karen Herland (Concordia University), Sex Garage! Unspooling Stories, Rethinking Collectivities

Chris Samuel (Queen’s University), Normalization as Symbolic Violence: Collective Identities and the Ethics of Resistance

12:15pm-1:30pm LUNCH – Complimentary with registration (Gazebo Garden or, if weather unsuitable, the Nelson Room)

Chair: Patrizia Gentile (Carleton University)

KEYNOTE: Jessica Yee, Founder and Executive Director of the Native Youth Sexual Health Network, Chair of the National Aboriginal Youth Council at the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network, multiracial Indigenous hip-hop feminist reproductive justice freedom fighter

“Indigenous Youth Lead the Way: Reclaiming Healthy Sexuality for the Next Seven Generations”


1. Resistance and Activism in the 1970s (Denman Room)

Chair: Steven Maynard (Queen’s University)

Mathieu Brulé (York University), “Seducing the Unions”: Organized Labour and Strategies for Gay Liberation, 1970-1982

Scott de Groot (Queen’s University), In the Trenches of History: Gay Liberation and the Weapons of Historicism

Gary Kinsman (Laurentian University), Queer Resistance in the 1970s: Subverting the Privatization of Queer Sexualities and National Security

Ross Higgins (Concordia University), From Androgyny to the Archives: Building the Queer Infosphere in Montreal

2. The Bodies of Liberation and Embodied Activism (Gilford Room)

Chair: Lara Campbell (Simon Fraser University)

Michael Connors Jackman (York University), “Spectral Desires and Political Reterritorializations: Ethnographic Notes on The Body Politic”

Kelly Phipps (Concordia University), “Lesbians and The Body Politic”

Virginia Solomon (University of Southern California), “Expanded Sexuality, Expanded Politics: Conceptual Art in Vancouver and Toronto”

3. Queer Negotiations of Space and Intimacy (Comox Room)

Chair: Cameron Duder (Independent Scholar)

Stacey J Bishop (Simon Fraser University), Containing Sex Work in the “Livable City”: Neighbourhood Organizations and the Expulsion of Sex Workers from Vancouver’s West End, 1981-1985

Heather Stanley (University of Saskatchewan), “How is ‘this’ all going to work?”: Discourses of Married Sexuality and Heterosexual Embodiment

Byron Lee (Temple University), Finding Citizenship in the Landscape: Creating a counterpublic in Vancouver’s Davie Village

3:00-3:15pm BREAK



1. The Expulsion of On-Street Sex Workers from Vancouver’s Emergent “Gayborhood”, 1975-1985: A Cautionary Tale (Denman Room)

Chair: Christabelle Sethna (University of Ottawa)

Becki Ross (University of British Columbia), No Sex in the City: The Legal and Moral Repression of On-Street Prostitution in Vancouver, 1975-1985

Jamie Lee Hamilton (Activist, Downtown East Side Vancouver), The Golden Age of Prostitution: One Woman’s Personal Account of An Outdoor Brothel in Vancouver’s West End, 1975-1985

Rachael Sullivan (University of British Columbia), Tracing Lines of Horizontal Hostility: Sex Workers, Feminists, and Gay Activists Embattled in Vancouver’s West End, 1975-1985

2. Queer Activism and Social Movements (Barclay/Gilford Room)

Chair: Clare Robson (Quirk-e)

Graham Willet ((University of Melbourne), ASK: Vancouver, Canada, The Western Hemisphere, The World…

Nick Mulé (York University), Transcending the Provincial: LGBT Liberationist Activism in Ontario – From CLGRO to Queer Ontario

Jen Marchbank and Sylvie Traphan (Simon Fraser University), Demanding Youth, Claiming Space, Making History-Queer Youth in Surrey

Special panel: 3:15-6:00pm

Using Film and Video in the Construction of Lesbian and Gay Politics and Community in Canada 1971-1982 (Comox Room)

(Extended time slot: Duration of this panel is 150 minutes or 3:15 to 6:00pm)

Contributors: Thomas Waugh, Diane Heffernan, Sara Diamond, Michel Audy, Paul Wong, Harry Sutherland, Aerlyn Weissman


6:30 Cash Bar (Ballroom Foyer)


7:00pm Banquet Dinner (Nelson/Denman Room) Advance tickets only.


8:30pm  Queer Cabaret (Nelson/Denman Room)

Tickets available at the door beginning at 8:15!


MC Michael V. Smith
Performance Artist and Writer Amber Dawn
Singer/songwriter Kate Reid
Comic David C. Jones
Improv Theatre with The Bobbers

Hot Latin Dancers Naomi & Karen
Transgender Vocalist Jill Richards


(Film Program: Pacific Cinémathèque, 1131 Howe Street)

Saturday, August 27th

Sex Wars

In the 1990s, AIDS and pornography emerged as flashpoints for the queer community in Canada. Film and video artists responded not by capitulating to shaming and negative stereotyping in the press and in parliament, but by unabashedly — and cheekily — celebrating queer sexuality in a series of works that were poetically erotic, politically complex, and (especially in the case of the two features programmed here) campily agitprop.


7:00pm: Zero Patience (John Greyson, 1993)

Preceded by:

  • Lettre à un amant (Canada, Marc Paradis, 1988, video, 10 mins)
  • Steam Clean (Canada, Richard Fung, 1990, video, 3 mins)
  • Water into Fire (Canada, Zachery Longboy, 1994, video, 10 mins)

9:20pm: Bubbles Galore (Cynthia Roberts, 1998)

Preceded by:

  • We’re Talking Vulva (Canada, Shawna Dempsey/Lori Millan/Tracy Traeger, 1990, 16 mm, 5 mins)
  • Drawing the Line (Canada, Lorna Boschman, 1992, video, 7 mins)

Sunday August 28, 2011



1. Queer Film and Media (Comox Room)

Chair: (TBA)

Julianne Pidduck (Université de Montréal), Family as a Scene of LGBT Visibility in Recent Québec Cinema

Jasmine Rault (The New School) and T.L. Cowan (University of Saskatchewan), Cabaret Commons: Digital archives for feminist and queer artists and audiences

2. Institutionalizing Sexuality and Health Discourses (Barclay Room)

Chair: Natasha Barsotti (Xtra! Vancouver)

Liam Michaud O’Grady (York University, CFAD), Criminalizing risk: Living histories of HIV criminalization

Daniel Keith Hambly (York University), “The Greatest of all the Vices”: Antimasturbation discourses in Canada, 1830-1914

Isabelle Perreault (Concordia University), Sexuality as an Academic Discipline: the Birth of the Department of Sexology at UQAM, 1965-1975

3. Queer Performances, Art, and Theatre (Gilford Room)

Chair: Richard Cavell (University of British Columbia)

Teresa Jewell (York University), BASHing Gays: Activist Theatre and Stereotype Reappropriation in the Fight for Equal Rights in Canada

Kerri Mesner (University of British Columbia, Theatre of the Oppressed), Innovations in Sexual-Political Activism: Queer Theology and Theatre of the Oppressed

Jillian Deri (Simon Fraser University), Polyamory or Polyagony? Jealousy in Open-Relationships


Are we liberated yet? Endnote and Delegate Forum (Comox Room)

This concluding session offers reflections on the activist-scholarship themes highlighted by the conference presenters. Conference attendees are invited to share their own experience of the conference and to consider future questions and debates on the relationship between history, sex, and activism.

Chair: Elise Chenier (Simon Fraser University)

Marc Stein, Associate Professor, Department of History, York University

Raven Bowen, MA Candidate, Simon Fraser University, and Sex Worker Activist and Organizer

Chris Morrisey, Co-Founder, LEGIT: Canadian Immigration for Same-Sex Partners

(Film Program: Pacific Cinémathèque, 1131 Howe Street)

Sunday, August 28th

Queer Vancouver

The “We Demand” action on August 28, 1971, was a parallel event that took place in both Ottawa and Vancouver. To celebrate the 40th anniversary of this signal moment in Canadian queer history, and to highlight the rich tradition of queer activism in Vancouver (a city celebrating its own 125th anniversary in 2011), our “We Demand” film series concludes with an evening of local programming.

7:00pm: Hookers on Davie (Janis Cole and Holly Dale, 1984)

Preceded by:

  • Rex vs. Singh (Fung/Greyson/Kazimi, 2008)

9:10pm: Little Sister’s vs. Big Brother (Aerlyn Weissman, 2002)

Preceded by:

  • A Film for WG (Canada, Gwen Haworth, 2010, video, 5 mins)
  • The Love that Won’t Shut Up (Canada, Ivan Coyote and Veda Hille, 2007, video, 20 mins)

“We Demand”: History/Sex/Activism In Canada Vancouver, BC August 26, 2011 – August 28, 2011

Mél Hogan, Marie-Claire MacPhee

As founders and current editors of, we are proposing a print-on-demand presentation/workshop for the “We Demand”: History/Sex/Activism In Canada conference in August 2011.

Launched January 1st 2009, (NMP) is the first and only independent web based and print-on-demand journal of arts in Canada. Since its inception, the strong feminist underpinnings and visibly queer ethics of the journal were made evident; however with no explicit mandate, NMP becomes an interesting site of inquiry—a portal of proclivities—into perceived ideas and ideals of feminist-queer media today.

Print-on-demand, unlike traditional journals that require tremendous capital to finance print runs, is a system that allows readers to order any number of print copies directly from the printer, online. The website, created using the free and open source software Drupal, makes use of the highly flexible content management system to generate—with minimal server and hosting fees—a rich and highly dynamic journal. NMP also uses DropBox and HighRise alongside many free and/or cheap online tools to meet its communication and administrative needs.

In this presentation we will explore two things. One is the relationship of these independent emergent technologies—that allow broader and cheaper dissemination and access—and the other are the feminist and queer politics that inform, shape, and ultimately determine their usages on the production end. We will also discuss how media like contribute to the creation, preservation and documentation of a queer feminist community in Canada.

The workshop portion will be a brief how-to and show-and-tell of the publication and publishing tools, while the presentation portion will discuss the limitations of the archive as a conceptual tool for framing a document, like NMP, within a broader context of queer-feminist politics. “Taking the Archives Down with Us” is a play and reframing of Pat Leslie’s—the founding mother of the Canadian Womens’ Movement Archives—plea in the 1970s:

…Specifically lesbian Herstory will be forever buried. What little exists now consists of hopeful conjuncture. It is the fear of oppression and the shyness of self-expression which makes that invisible veil so heavy. If need be, the Women’s Movement Archives would go underground, file by file, to protect records of the growing movement. Access to everything donated by lesbians is strictly limited.

We will play on this idea by considering both the need for limited access to lesbian archives as well as the commitment—that we at NMP—have for creating accessible media for the purpose of community building.


“We Demand”: History/Sex/Activism in Canada / « Nous demandons »: Histoire/Sexe/Activisme au Canada is the first conference in Canada since 1993 devoted to the history of sexuality. Organized by the Canadian Committee on the History of Sexuality/ Comité canadien d’histoire de la sexualité, the conference will be held at the Coast Plaza Hotel in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia, August 26-28th, 2011. The aim of the conference is to facilitate, promote, and expand the study of sexuality and activism in Canada from a historical perspective. Designed to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the first national gay liberation action in Ottawa and Vancouver, “We Demand” will interrogate connections between history, sexuality, theory, activism, and the archives. As such, the conference will engage an estimated 140 participants in a three-day exploration of a broad range of issues and a variety of methodological and disciplinary approaches particular to the study of sexuality.
The “We Demand” conference features some of the most important critical thinkers and activists in the field today. Among them are keynote speakers Ann Cvetkovich, an internationally renowned cultural theorist, and Jessica Yee, Executive Director of the Native Youth Sexual Health Network. Ann Cvetkovich is the author of An Archive of Feelings: Trauma, Sexuality, and Lesbian Public Cultures (Duke, 2003), which includes an oral history project with ACT UP/NY’s lesbians. Her work is at the leading edge of queer theory and engages with methodological and interpretive issues of relevance to a wide range of scholars. Jessica Yee is a sexual rights activist who currently serves as the first Chair of the National Aboriginal Youth Council at the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network and is also Chair of the International Indigenous HIV/AIDS Working Group.

Vancouver Courthouse, August 28, 1971.

The conference includes two plenary sessions that anchor the conference themes. “History as Activism” explores the role assumed by the history of sexuality in progressive sexual political struggles in North America and features five founders of the history of sexuality in Canada: Mary-Louise Adams, Line Chamberland, Karen Dubinsky, Steven Maynard and Becki Ross. “Activism as History” offers historical reflections on the history of activism relating to sexuality and features leading activists in the area of sexual rights politics: activist/academic Gary Kinsman, bookstore manager and anti-censorship activist Janine Fuller, lawyer barbara findlay, BC queer community archivist Ron Dutton, and long-time lesbian activist Amy Gottlieb. Peter Dickinson, a leading expert on queer culture and guest curator of the Pacific Cinémathèque film program and Tom Waugh, a scholar and prolific writer on queer film, especially in Canada, will also participate as presenters. A preliminary program and abstracts for each presentation are available through the links at the bottom and the right hand side of this page.

For almost half a century Canada has enjoyed an international reputation as a leader in progressive sexual politics. Canadian debates concerning birth control and abortion, obscenity laws, same-sex marriage, recognition of transgender health rights, human rights legislation, and queers and immigration policies resulted in significant legal and policy changes, and these actions have reverberated around the globe. This conference is an opportunity to assess the impact of these developments on the social, cultural, political, and historical landscape in Canada and beyond.

The simultaneous rise of Canadian queer culture is also a focal point for this conference. A four day parallel film program hosted by Pacific Cinémathèque uses film screenings and panel discussions to explore the role of Canadian cinema in post-1960s sexual politics. It is open to the public, thus providing an opportunity to connect scholars from across the nation and residents of the broader Lower Mainland community.

The conference is open to the public. Members of the public can register on site but as seating is limited, we recommend advance registration.

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Steps of Parliament, Ottawa, August 28, 1971.  Photo credit: Jearld Moldenhauer.