GALA Civil / Human Rights

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GALA Civil / Human Rights

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The Gay Alliance Toward Equality (GATE) formed ca. 1971-1972 was an early advocate for civil and human rights for Edmonton’s gay community, presenting briefs on behalf of the community to the Alberta Human Rights Commission. GATE joined in June 1975 the Canadian National Gay Rights Coalition (NGRC) to ensure a stronger voice in speaking on behalf of rights for gays, and in 1979 hosted a provincial conference on the theme of “devising strategies for the gay civil rights movement in Alberta”. ALGR (Alberta Lesbian and Gay Rights Association) was formed in Edmonton in 1981, and joined efforts with other Alberta groups to petition for inclusion of sexual orientation in provincial and Canadian human rights protection legislation.
By the mid-1980’s, the GALA Civil Rights Committee was struck as an offshoot of the broader Gay and Lesbian Awareness Society, to continue advocating and working towards having the phrase “sexual orientation” included in the Individual Rights Protection Act of Alberta, the Canadian Human Rights Code, and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. To accomplish this, the committee sponsored educational forums, letter-writing campaigns, and presented briefs to government committees. Its broader goal was to generally work for equality rights for lesbians and gay men at the federal, provincial and civic levels and to increase public awareness and understanding of gay and lesbian issues. The firing in 1991 of Delwin Vriend from his position as a lab instructor at King’s College in Edmonton because of his sexual orientation led to GALA’s Civil Rights Committee forming the Delwin Vriend Defence fund. Advocacy for the rights of Edmonton’s queer community is ongoing, and a timeline of significant Edmonton Queer History events can be found on a timeline compiled by the Edmonton Queer History Project: (ttps:// events)


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City of Edmonton Archives

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