Q Hall of Fame to commemorate 60th anniversary of Vancouver drag-queen protest

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      As it's the Year of the Queer in Vancouver, much attention has turned towards honouring and learning about the city's LGBT history. As numerous LGBT organizations celebrate notable anniversaries, there's even a walking tour dedicated to teaching people about local queer history.

      Coincidentally, Historica Canada also released its first LGBT–themed Heritage Minute about gay-rights pioneer Jim Egan, who fought for marriage equality, and later moved to Vancouver Island.

      The Q Hall of Fame is doing its part by holding a special commemorative event at 4 p.m. on August 18 at the Vancouver Art Gallery's northside šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square.

      The event is set to honour the 60th anniversary of the drag queen protest organized at the then-Vancouver courthouse by ted northe in 1958. The public act of defiance is often regarded as the impetus of a national LGBT movement.

      The protest was held at a time when homosexuality was illegal, and northe and supporters called for an end to discrimination against homosexuals by holding signs that said "I am a human being".

      ted northe

      It was the start of an equal-rights campaign that included holding protests at venues that prohibited gay people, and writing letters to politicians to ask for homosexuality to be removed from the Criminal Code of Canada.

      northe also founded the Canadian chapter of the fundraising Imperial Court System in 1964, and supported the creation of numerous LGBT organizations and events, including the first openly gay Breast Cancer fundraiser, the Vancouver Pride parade, the Greater Vancouver Native Culture Society, and more. 

      northe died in 2014 at age 76 in Vancouver and was among the Q Hall of Fame's inaugural inductees in 2009. More information about northe is available in an entry about him at the Q Hall of Fame website. 

      In 2014, NDP MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert eulogized northe in a speech at the B.C. Legislature.