Did you know that 2LGBTQ+ people and communities have longstanding histories in New Brunswick? Organizing, making space, acting up, honouring past activisms, and fighting for change is an important part of 2LGBTQ+ cultures in New Brunswick.
New Brunswick’s Human Rights Commission has protected discrimination against sexual orientation since 1992. However, they have only sought to protect New Brunswickers from discrimination against gender identity sine 2017. That’s not very long ago.
Today, organizations such as the Queer Heritage Initiative of New Brunswick exist to collect and preserve New Brunswick's 2LGBTQ+ community's stories and histories. The independent initiative works with the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick to create space for queer histories in a dedicated collection. 2LGBTQ+ New Brunswickers’ histories were not originally collected in public institutions like museums, archives, and school curricula. Although disrupting these erasures can be difficult work, it is important to remember that 2LGBTQ+ communities, organizations, and individuals have longstanding histories in New Brunswick. The Queer Heritage Initiative of New Brunswick’s collection currently highlights histories from LGBTQ+ organizations and some individuals.
But, stories, histories, and experiences of New Brunswick’s 2LGBTQ+ communities who are also Black, Indigenous, and people of colour are still largely left out of the collection. Jeremy Dutcher, a Wolastoqiyik composer and performer from the Tobique First Nation is also another important activist voice in the province. After visiting the National Archives in Ottawa, they discovered an archive of recordings of their ancestors from Tobique First Nation. These recordings were captured, then removed from the community, and archived in Ottawa at the National Archives by an anthropologist. After discovering the recordings, Dutcher created an album where they play the piano and sing in the Wolastoq language alongside his ancestors singing in Tobique First Nation. Jeremy believes that composing their songs in Wolastoq became a way of sharing the value of Wolastoqiyik art and developing a closer relationship with their ancestors.
In 2019, BIPOC Pride was created in Fredericton to call attention to the role that whiteness plays in a lot of LGBTQ+ organizing in New Brunswick, and sought to create a space to highlight and support the needs of New Brunswick's Black, Indigenous, and 2LGBTQ+ people of colour. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, in 2020 BIPOC Pride has moved their events online and currently hosts virtual coffee houses and hosted a virtual healing circle in Summer 2020. Organizations like the Queer Heritage Initiative of New Brunswick and BIPOC Pride, and the activism of artists like Jeremy Dutcher work to disrupt the erasures of 2LGBTQ+ communities’ histories and experiences from public institutions like archives, curricula, and museums. What could we do in schools to disrupt these erasures? What about in our larger communities?
This cellphilm was created for use in the Political Science 120 classroom in New Brunswick, and seeks to address the specific curriculum outcomes:
o Government in Canada
o Influences on Government
o 3.C.2 How does the mass media influence the political process?
o 3.C.3 What influence do pressure groups have on the political process?
This cellphilm was produced as a part of the "Queering Social Studies" project at the University of New Brunswick. The project is supported by a SSHRC Insight Development Grant & NBIF Emerging Projects Grant.