Kudos to the creation of a new Canadian Queer Hall of Fame, as well as to the first five inductees: Janine Fuller, Robert Kaiser (Joan-E), Ted Northe, Mark Tewksbury, and Pierre Elliott Trudeau.
Trudeau, a former prime minister, was named for decriminalizing homosexuality and saying the state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation.
There will be an inaugural Q Ball on September 19 to raise funds for Qmunity, which will house the hall of fame. It will highlight the history and achievements of the LGBT community.
The announcement of the first five inductees got me thinking of other worthy recipients of this honour. Here is a list of 25 other B.C. residents, some deceased, who warrant serious consideration for induction into the Queer Hall of Fame in the future. There's a comment space below for anyone to offer their suggestions—or to disagree with some of my picks.
Barbara Findlay: Probably no lawyer in Canada has done more than barbara findley to advance the interests of the LGBT community. She has also distinguished herself as an advocate for the trans community.
James Egan and John Nesbit: The Courtenay, B.C. couple's fight for same-sex pension benefits led the Supreme Court of Canada to affirm that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms recognized equality rights for gays and lesbians. It was a landmark decision.
Murray and Peter Corren: Their list of achievements is incredible: first same-sex couple to adopt an adult child; first to challenge the ban on same-sex marriage; forced the Surrey school board to overturn a ban on children's books with same-sex parents; forced the B.C. government to change the curriculum to recognize gays and lesbians.
Kevin Brown and Dr. Peter Jepson-Young: They were both courageous and highly visible champions of AIDS patients before succumbing to the disease.
Tim Stevenson: He was the first openly gay person to be ordained as a minister in a mainstream Christian denomination (United Church), and was the first openly gay cabinet minister in Canada.
Jim Deva: One of the creators of Little Sisters Book & Art Emporium, Deva is an LGBT community leader who, along with Fuller, was at the forefront of numerous equality battles and who rallied the community in the wake of the murder of Aaron Webster in Stanley Park.
Imtiaz Popat: He has been a pioneer in supporting gays and lesbians of South Asian descent and those of the Muslim faith to come out and feel welcomed in the community. Popat, who hosts a show on Co-op Radio, has gained a great deal of respect for his efforts to fight discrimination, advance equality, protect the environment, and promote peace.
Svend Robinson: He was Canada's first openly gay MP, a tireless crusader for the downtrodden, a peace and environmental activist, and pushed to amend hate-crimes legislation to include attacks based on a person's sexual orientation.
Jane Rule: She was a teacher, author, activist, and role model for lesbians. She also helped defend Little Sisters Book & Art Emporium when it was under attack from Canada Customs.
Alan Herbert: A former NPA city councillor, Herbert can always be counted on to challenge homophobic religious extremists and fight for equal rights. He has been a champion of Vancouver's entertainment district, the Pride parade, and for creating spaces for gay people to gather.
Ellen Woodsworth: In her second term on Vancouver city council, Woodsworth has really demonstrated her tenacious side, fighting for tenants, seniors, the aboriginal community, and the arts community. She is one of the hardest working politicians in the city and the first open lesbian elected to Vancouver city council.
Gordon Price: Vancouver's first openly gay city councillor, Price will be a controversial choice for some who still resent his efforts to move sex-trade workers out of the West End in the 1980s. During those same years, however, Price helped create AIDS Vancouver and worked hard to save gay men's lives by promoting greater awareness of the disease.
Jamie Lee Hamilton: The transgender activist would be another controversial choice because she has never been afraid to criticize those she disagrees with—including Price and other high-profile members of the LGBT community. However, she has worked ceaselessly on behalf of sex-trade workers and has become a role model for two-spirited aboriginal youth. Put her in the Canadian Queer Hall of Fame so she'll be remembered long after she's gone.
Bill Richardson, Karen X. Tulchinsky, and Colin Thomas: Okay, there's perhaps a little bit of bias here because each has contributed to the Georgia Straight at different times over the years. It's indisputable that all three writers have enriched our community in untold ways. Richardson has delighted listeners of CBC Radio and charmed readers of his books for many years. Tulchinsky has written screenplays for TV and movies, as well as several books, including The Five Books of Moses Lapinsky. The Vancouver Public Library selected it in 2008 for the prestigious One Book One Vancouver designation. Thomas has been the theatre critic of record in Vancouver for longer than I can remember. He has always tried to use his reviews as a platform for improving theatre in Vancouver—even if some of the people on the receiving end weren't in the mood to read what he had to write. All three are worthy of recognition in the Canadian Queer Hall of Fame.
Libby Davies, Bill Siksay, and Hedy Fry: All three MPs have always been powerful advocates for equal rights regardless of a person's sexual orientation. Trudeau might have been the one to say the state should stay out of the bedrooms of the nation. Davies, Siksay, and Fry have done their best to ensure that Trudeau's wish came true.
Mary-Woo Sims: During her tenure as chief commissioner of the B.C. Human Rights Commission, she was a relentless advocate for public education about human rights and for equality for gays, lesbians, and transgender people. An out lesbian, she has won several awards for her advocacy work.
Romi Chandra and Spencer Herbert: They're probably too young to get admitted into the Hall of Fame now, but the gay couple should be a shoo-in in the future, perhaps after they pass the age of 50. Chandra pioneered the creation of gay-straight alliances in the schools; Herbert, the NDP MLA for Vancouver-West End, is still in his 20s yet he has already become an important role model for young gays and lesbians and a champion of equal rights for transgender people.