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Created/Compiled by Walter T. Cassidy

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About the 2SLGBTQ Timeline

City of WindsorGenerously supported by the City of Windsor Arts, Culture and Heritage Fund

The key to this timeline is basic. It is about local visibility of the 2SLGBTQAI community. Unfortunately, much of that visibility has been erased for various reasons. Some of those reasons are as simple as the suppression of our identities, the lack of interest in who we are, overall hate or ignorance, and our own lack of seeing the importance of our stories and struggles. When creating this timeline, especially before the 1960s, some of the examples were difficult to prove if they “really” were queer/trans/gender non-conforming references. I included them anyways because one could argue either way if the experience was trans/queer/gender non-conforming.

 

2021

2021

Windsor-Essex Pride Fest held at Lanpeary Park with reduced capacity and restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic (Wendi Nicholson, President)
https://www.wepridefest.com/newsroom/we-pride-fest-moves-annual-pride-weekend-to-september/
https://www.wepridefest.com/newsroom/windsor-essex-pride-festival-kicks-off-with-wednesday-flag-raising/

Windsor-Essex Pride Fest announces that their QConnect Plus Group will continue after initial funding has been completed.
https://www.wepridefest.com/newsroom/program-for-lgbt-seniors-to-continue-in-windsor-essex/

Windsor Pride Community (Colm Holmes, President)

We Trans is vandalized multiple times with windows smashed as well as hate speech; racist, homophobic slurs and swastikas are spray painted on the store front.

Windsor/Essex Transgender Support Centre changes name to Trans Wellness Ontario.

The AIDS Committee of Windsor changes name to Pozitive Pathways.

Damien Crowe a transgender student at Assumption College starts a petition to have his chosen name on his diploma.

The Town of Essex raises the Rainbow Flag for the first time.

Bill C-6 to ban Conversion therapy. 263-63 Windsor-Tecumseh Irek Kusmierczyk, Windsor West MP Brian Masse supported. Essex MP Chris Lewis, Chatham-Kent- Leamington MP Dave Epp voted against.

Hate Has No Home Here Movement starts in Essex County by Laura Hasulo. The concept started with signs on people’s lawns.
(Reproduced with permission by Laura Hasulo)

2020

2020

Windsor-Essex Pride Fest held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic (Wendi Nicholson, President)
https://www.wepridefest.com/newsroom/the-windsor-local-we-pride-fest-is-more-than-a-festival/
https://www.wepridefest.com/newsroom/windsor-essex-pride-fest-kicks-off-virtual-pride-celebrations/
https://www.wepridefest.com/newsroom/windsor-essex-pride-fest-flag-raised-virtual-events-included-for-2020/

Ontario Trillium Foundation awards a $714,800 grant to a collaborative partnership between Windsor Pride Community, Windsor-Essex Pride Fest and Family Services Windsor Essex to create Qlink Windsor-Essex. Qlink Windsor-Essex will provide free programs and services for young LGBTQ2S+ people in Windsor and Essex County over a three year term.
Jessica McCulloch with Windsor Pride Community, left, Beth Ternovan with Family Services Windsor Essex, MPP Lisa Gretzky and Wendi Nicholson, president of Windsor-Essex Pride Fest, at the Friday, Oct. 9, 2020, announcement of the creation of QLink Windsor-Essex, a roster of new free programs for young LGBTQ2S+ people. PHOTO BY TREVOR WILHELM /Windsor Star
https://www.wepridefest.com/newsroom/groups-join-forces-to-launch-new-programs-for-lgbtq2s-community/
https://www.wepridefest.com/newsroom/new-programs-launched-to-support-lgbtq2s-youth/

Windsor Pride Community (Colm Holmes, Board President; Jason Marin, Executive Director)

Local Drag queens: Juice Boxx and Boa compete on Canada’s First Drag Race TV show.

Unifor Local 444 LGBTQ Committee Founded in April by Stephanie Pest and Greyson Labella.

Transgender Pride and Rainbow Pride Flag is flown at Children’s Aid Society.

Windsor/Essex Rainbow Alliance (WERA) is founded in June.
Windsor/Essex Rainbow Alliance (WERA) logo is created)

2019

2019

Windsor-Essex Pride Fest held at Riverfront Festival Plaza (David Lenz, President)
https://windsor.ctvnews.ca/thousands-of-people-expected-at-windsor-essex-pride-fest-1.4540767

Caesars Windsor gives $6,000 donation to Windsor-Essex Pride Fest programs being offered including Gaymes Night and QConnest Plus Group.
https://www.wepridefest.com/newsroom/caesars-windsor-cares-supports-pride-fest/

Windsor Pride Community (Greyson Labella, Board President; Crystal Fach, Executive Director)

Greater Essex County District School Board approves Pride Flags to be flown at elementary schools (Windsor-Essex Pride Fest provides complimentary pride flags to all schools)
< a href="https://windsor.ctvnews.ca/public-school-board-approves-pride-flag-at-elementary-schools-1.4303480" target="_blank">https://windsor.ctvnews.ca/public-school-board-approves-pride-flag-at-elementary-schools-1.4303480

All Greater Essex County District School Board (GECDSB) grade schools and high schools fly the Rainbow Pride flag for a week during Pride Month. (Windsor-Essex Pride Fest provides complimentary pride flags to all schools)
https://www.healthing.ca/news/local-news/public-school-board-flies-pride-flags-at-each-of-its-schools/

Casey Plett wins Amazon Canada First Novel Award for her book “Little Fish,” which “centres on a trans woman in Winnipeg who sets out to understand her late Mennonite grandfather’s gender identity.”

2018

2018

Windsor-Essex Pride Fest held at the new location of Lanspeary Park on Ottawa Street (David Lenz, President)
https://www.wepridefest.com/newsroom/windsor-essex-pride-fest-kicks-off/
https://www.wepridefest.com/newsroom/the-windsor-essex-pride-fest-will-be-five-days-of-celebration/.

Windsor Pride Community (Greyson Labella, Board President; Crystal Fach, Executive Director)

First year the city raises the Trans Pride flag at city hall.

2017

2017

On June 19, Bill C-16 was passed by the federal government and received Royal Assent. The bill updated the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code to include the terms "gender identity" and "gender expression." The legislation also makes it illegal to discriminate on the basis of gender identity or expression.

It also extends hate speech laws to include the two terms, and makes it a hate crime to target someone for being transgender. The bill also amends the sentencing principles section of the code so that a person's gender identity or expression can be considered an aggravating circumstance by a judge during sentencing.

Windsor-Essex Pride Fest held at Riverfront Festival Plaza (David Lenz, President)
https://www.wepridefest.com/newsroom/pride-parade-floats-through-downtown-windsor/.

Windsor-Essex Pride Fest celebrates 25 years of the Pride Festival being held in Windsor, Ontario.
https://www.wepridefest.com/newsroom/windsor-essex-pride-fest-marks-25-years/.

Windsor-Essex Pride Fest is awarded $450,000 grant over three years from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to create the QConnect project to provide programs and services to the LGBTQ2S+ community in Windsor-Essex. Aspects included social work, program facilitation and materials, website, program promotion, etc.
https://www.wepridefest.com/newsroom/windsor-pride-fest-receives-cash-boost/.

Windsor Pride Community (Colm Holmes, Board President; Bob Williams, Executive Director)

The Run for Rocky Legacy Project is founded.

W.E. Trans Support is federally incorporated and becomes the first standalone transgender support centre in Ontario. Founded by Jayce Carver.

  • 2016-2017:422 Pelissier St.
  • 2017-2018: 1106 Ouellette Ave.
  • 2018: 536 Pelissier St.
  • 2018-2019: 111 Wyandotte St. West
  • 2019-2021: 1435 Tecumseh Rd. East

Windsor Pride Community Education and Resource Centre gets evicted by the city to create a parking lot.

WECDSB trustees vote to not allow the Rainbow Flag to be flown outside school buildings (unanimously passes). School board Chair Barb Holland stated, “The reason we felt only Canadian flag should fly outside schools is we believe that is the single most unifying symbol for everyone.”

WECDSB student conference entitled WeShine is first held at Holy Names High School.

Transgender Day of Remembrance first observed in Windsor. It took place at Emmanuel United Church. There was a reception and candlelight vigil.

Windsor hosts the International GSA Conference “Outshine.”

2016

2016

Windsor-Essex Pride Fest held at Riverfront Festival Plaza (David Lenz, President)

Windsor Pride Community (Colm Holmes, Board President; Bob Williams, Executive Director)

All GECDSB High schools fly the Rainbow Pride Flag for a week during Pride Month.

Gender Identity and Gender Expression to be included in the Canadian Human Rights Code Bill C -16 passes 248-40. Windsor-Tecumseh MP Cheryl Hardcastle, Essex MP Tracey Ramsey, Windsor West MP Brian Masse, supported it, Chatham-Kent Leamington MP Dave Van Kesteren voted against.

2SLGBTQ Vigil: About 500 people gathered at Maiden Lane to honour the victims of the Orlando shootings in Florida. (Organized by Windsor-Essex Pride Fest, David Lenz and Joe McParland)
Reproduced with permission by Dani Bobb

LaSalle becomes the first municipality in Essex County to fly the Rainbow Flag.

St. Anne’s and Villanova Secondary schools GSAs receive the Premier’s Award for creating a “safe and inclusive environments.”

2015

2015

Windsor-Essex Pride Fest held at Riverfront Festival Plaza (David Lenz, President)

Windsor Pride Community (Colm Holmes, Board President; Bob Williams, Executive Director)

Community leader George Hannah passes and Windsor-Essex Pride Fest establishes the George Hannah Red Memorial Scholarship at St. Clair College. The scholarship is awarded annually recognizing those individuals who promote equality and diversity and continuing education.
https://www.wepridefest.com/newsroom/new-scholarship-established-to-memorialize-windsor-lgbt-leader/ 00%; height: auto;" /> (George Hannah is pictured in this photo from 2011. Hannah is being memorialized through a St. Clair College scholarship founded by Windsor-Essex Pride Fest)

Five/Fourteen is founded by Lucas Simon Medina and Chad A. Craig. It is the first of its kind in Canada. It is the only foster agency dedicated solely to providing services and support to the 2SLGBTQ foster care community.

Two-Spirit Group of Can-Am Friendship Centre is founded by Theresa Sims.

Casey Plett wins Lambda Literary Award for her short-story collection entitled “A Safe Girl to Love.”

Walkerville Collegiate Institute become the first Greater Essex County District School Board school to fly the Rainbow Flag during Pride Month.
(WCI 2015 taken by Walter T. Cassidy)

2014

2014

Windsor-Essex Pride Fest held at Riverfront Festival Plaza (David Lenz, President)

Windsor Pride Community (Colm Holmes, Board President; Bob Williams, Executive Director)

Windsor-Essex Pride Fest together with Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island and Caesars Windsor hosted the Travel Gay Canada Conference in Windsor, Ontario at Caesars Windsor. The conference was held October 23-25, 2021 and attracted 120 delegates from across Canada in relation to the LGBT travel market.
https://blackburnnews.com/windsor/windsor-news/2014/11/01/boosting-gay-tourism/
https://blackburnnews.com/chatham/chatham-news/2014/08/17/caesars-to-host-lgbt-travel-conference/

The Healthy Canadians Should be Able to Donate Petition (regardless of their HIV status) went around Canada and tabled to the House of Commons in May by MP Brian Masse. Created by the Campana Family in honour of Rocky Campana.
(Reproduced with permission by runforrocky.com)

International Transgender Day of Visibility first observed in Windsor.

September 28 2014 St. Clair College's GSA is founded.

2013

2013

Windsor-Essex Pride Fest held at Riverfront Festival Plaza (David Lenz, President)

Windsor Pride Community (Colm Holmes, President: Bob Williams, Executive Director)

Trans*Spectrum is founded by Maaya Hitomi. First meetings started at the University then went to the Welcome Centre Shelter for Women, 263 Bridge Ave.

First locally made Film on a Trans experience entitled, “Transbeing” by Gabrielle Pescador and Juan Javier Pescador.

Run for Rocky is founded in memory of Rocky Campana. It is founded by the Campana family. The Run/Walk is in support of funding for local Student GSA’s. The last run is in 2017.
(Run for Rocky Poster 2013. Reproduced with permission by runforrocky.com)

2012

2012

Windsor-Essex Pride Fest held at Riverfront Festival Plaza (David Lenz, President)

Windsor Pride Community (Lawrence Lavender, President; Bob Williams, Executive Director)

Windsor-Essex Pride Fest awarded an Ontario Trillium Grant in the amount of $210,000 for hiring staff to assist the festival with fundraising, surveying, enhancements to improve the festival.
https://windsorstar.com/news/windsor-pride-fest-gets-200k-grant-for-bigger-better-event

Windsor-Essex Pride Fest partners with Travel Gay Canada and Tourism Windsor Essex & Pelee Island on LGBT Tourism destination initiatives and develops an LGBT Travel Market Guide & Development Toolkit to be used by businesses to learn fundamentals of the LGBT market.
(Photo courtesy of Tourism Windsor Essex)

Dr. Kael Sharman becomes the first Trans man to formally ask the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT) to have his name and gender marker changed.

Dr. Kael Sharman becomes the first Trans male Educator to formally come out as Trans in a Greater Essex District School Board.

First Windsor Essex Catholic School Board GSA is started at Villanova. Founded by Dallas Mahaney.

Gender Identity and Gender expression to be included in the Ontario Human Rights code Bill 33 passes 60-26 Essex MPP Taras Natyshak, Windsor West MPP Teresa Piruzza, Windsor-Tecumseh MPP Dwight Duncan, supported it. Chatham-Kent-Essex Rick Nicholls voted against.

2011

2011

Windsor Pride Festival held at Riverfront Festival Plaza (David Lenz, Festival Chair)

Windsor Pride Community (Lawrence Lavender, President; Chris Rabideau, Executive Director)

Windsor Pride Community divests itself from the festival aspects from its programming allowing Windsor-Essex Pride Fest to incorporate as a new registered non-profit organization running the Windsor Pride Festival.

Windsor-Essex Pride Fest Inc. is incorporated in November 2011 (David Lenz, President)

The first Student high school GSA Conference by the Greater Essex District School Board in Windsor/Essex is established.
(Reproduced by permission of GECDSB Equity and Inclusion)

Two Spirit Group of Windsor is founded by Conni Ma'iingan. In 2015 the name was changed to Two Spirit Circle of Windsor. Name changed again in 2021 to 2SLGBGTQi+ Circle of Windsor-Essex.

2010

2010

Windsor Pride Festival held at Riverfront Festival Plaza (David Lenz, Festival Chair)

Windsor Pride Community (Marc Dubois, President; Neil Mens, Executive Director)

The first time Windsor Pride Community includes a Transgender social event as part of Pride Festival Week.

First Trans Group in Windsor: T Party is founded by Lorraine Sayell.

Chris Rabideau is gay-bashed.
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/windsor/beaten-for-being-gay-windsor-director-says-1.888557.

First Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) high school dance at Walkerville Collegiate High School.

2009

2009

Windsor Pride Festival held at Riverfront Festival Plaza (Jason Patterson, Festival Chair)

Lesbian and Gay Youth and Family Resource Support Group changes name to SAFE (Service Alliance for Equality)

Windsor Pride Community Education and Research Centre Street is founded and located at 422 Pelissier Street in Downtown Windsor. (Board President, Marc Dubois; Executive Director, Neil Mens)

Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Youth’s Experiences of School Climate by Sandra Bortolin, Barry D. Adam, Catherine Brooke, Jaime McCauley, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Windsor.

First Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) in Southwestern Ontario is created at Walkerville Collegiate Institute. Founded by Joey Wright and Teachers

(Sponsors: Amy Tesolin and Walter Cassidy Personal collection)

SAFE committee puts on LGBT Seminar for Educators entitled: SAFE at School with community partners.

Ontario Secondary School Teacher’s Federation (OSSTF) Workshop: From Pain to Pride. One of the First LGBTQ union education workshops in the city. It took place at Walkerville High school. Organized by Debbie Jamieson.

2008

2008

Windsor Pride Festival held at Riverfront Festival Plaza (Jason Patterson, Festival Chair)

Windsor Pride Community (Marc Dubois, President)

50+ Proud and LGBT Diversity Training, began as a social group for elders and developed into a two-pronged approach to deal with issues related to LGBTQ aging.

Creation of an Educational GSA called GSA for Staff through OSSTF. Founder Walter Cassidy, Amy Tesolin and Debbie Jamieson.

“How Well Are Our Schools Educating Youth for a World of HIV Risk?” University of Windsor. Presented by Dr. Barry Adam.

Breaking Down the Wall of Silence by Carlos Rivera is published.

ARQ2 Diversity Sensitivity Training at Children’s Aid Society.

2007

2007

Windsor Pride Festival held at Riverfront Festival Plaza (Jason Patterson, Festival Chair)

Windsor Pride Community (Marc Dubois, President)

Carlos Rivera, local gay man, is murdered.
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/london/man-who-killed-elderly-couple-and-bartender-has-appeal-rejected-by-supreme-court-1.5129542

First workshop for Educators: An Introduction to LGBTQ Youth at OSSTF District Office. Presenter: Scott Mattson and Rev. Martha Daniels and youth from Young and Proud group

First attempt to start a GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) in a public school: Student Vuk Draskovic-Postic supported by Scott Mattson and Rev. Martha Daniels. It is denied by the Greater Essex District School Board.

2006

2006

Windsor Pride Festival held in Charles Clark Square (Dani Bobb, Festival Chair)

Windsor Pride Community is incorporated as a registered non-profit organization. (Joe McParland, Board President)

First locally written and produced gay themed play: “Whatever it Was” by Christopher Lawrence-Menard. Produced at Mackenzie Hall. Produced by Korda and Purple Theatre.

Salvagio Vonatti is shot in the head outside Gigi’s gay bar in Detroit.
https://pridesource.com/article/windsor-man-shot-outside-detroit-gay-bar/

Rainbow Award renamed the Salvagio Vonatti Rainbow Award (University of Windsor).

First Needs Assessment for LGBTQ conducted by Teen Health Centre and University of Windsor Practicum Student: Stephanie Gee. Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Charlene Senn. Site Supervisor: Jenny Stranges

2005

2005

Windsor Pride is reorganized with new members from the community.

Windsor Pride Festival is held at Charles Clark Square (Robert Vitella, Chair)

Lesbian and Gay Youth and Family Resource Support Group founded by Kim Abbott-Martin. A joint support from Windsor-Essex Children’s Aid Society and The Teen Health Centre.

Same-Sex Marriage bill C-38 passes 164-137: Windsor-Tecumseh MP Joe Co-martin, Windsor-West MP Brian Masse, Kent-Essex MP Jerry Pickard support it. Essex MP Jeff Watson voted against it calling it “This is a policy decision, not a human rights issue.”

2004

2004

Pride Festival is cancelled due to lack of funding and community involvement.

2003

2003

Pride Festival held
Val Pearson & Chris Cecile (Pride Festival Co-Chairs)
Hedy Halpern/Colleen Rogers & Alan Sears (Man & Woman of the Year

Harpern vs. Canada. Hedy Halpern and Colleen Halpern successfully sue the Canadian government with 7 other couples to recognizes same-sex marriage.

First MCC Legal Same-Sex marriage: S.C and J.B.

2002

2002

Pride Festival held
Cory Albert & Chris Cecile (Pride Festival Co-Chairs)
Cory Albert & Jim Davies (Man & Woman of the Year)

The Women’s Out Group founded. Provides a network and educational needs of all women who seek support, information, and direction about sexual and reproductive issues.

2001

2001

Pride Festival held
Cory Albert & Paulette Kupnicki (Pride Festival Co-Chairs)
Paulette Kupnicki & Chris L. Cecile (Man & Woman of the Year)

Founding of the Korda Theatre: Which has presented the most LGBTQ shows in Windsor. At least one show each year.

Rainbow Award (University of Windsor) was established by Salvagio Vonatti, Dani Bobb and Marc Dubois.

2000

2000

Pride Festival held
Paulette Kupnicki & Kirsten Schmidt (Pride Festival Co-Chairs)
Kirsten Schmidt & Brent Kulba (Man & Woman of the Year)

CAW LGBT Caucus is founded

First time the City of Windsor (unanimously voted) raises the pride flag at city hall.

High school students attend first AIDS Awareness Week Youth Conference.

1999

1999

Pride Festival Held
Liz Chamberlain & Evan LeBlanc (Man & Woman of the Year)

The first ACW’s AIDS Walk Appreciation Celebration Gala at Windsor Casino. Celebration Gala continued till 2008.

1998

1998

Pride Festival held

Windsor Pride organizes and succeeds the LGCC

(QAMP) Queer Alliance Movement for Proactivism is founded at the University of Windsor. Lasted for only a year.

Vigil at the University of Windsor to mourn the death of Matthew Shepard

1997

1997

Pride Festival held
Robin Chamberlain & Reverend Evan LeBlanc (Man & Woman of the Year)

Legacy Club is founded: a women’s group “to promote leisure time activities for lesbians that nurture body, mind, and spirit.”

  • Vision Statement: A lesbian club in which women show respect for one another, share gifts, talents, experiences, and responsibilities through open and honest communication to promote leisure and recreational activities and opportunities for personal growth in a safe, comfortable and supportive environment.

AIDS walk first time collecting $100 000 in donations and sponsorship.

1996

1996

Pride Festival held
Ligaya Byrch & David Lyons (Man & Woman of the Year)

Sexual Orientation to be included in the Canadian Human Rights Code. Bill C-33 153-76 Essex-Kent: Jerry Pickard, Essex-Windsor: Susan Whelan, Windsor-West: Herb Gray, Windsor-St. Clair: Shaughnessy Cohen: Chatham-Kent-Essex supported it,• Two-Spirited Peoples Group is Founded.

Protest in front of MP Herb Gray’s office for funding cuts to HIV/AIDS research. University of Windsor Staff and members of ACW attended the protest

1995

1995

Pride Festival held
Jacquie Gahagan & John Shellhorn (Man & Woman of the Year)

The Two Spirit Circle is founded.

October 30; House of Commons motion to support the recognition of same-sex spouses. Defeated. 124 to 52. Windsor-St Clair MP Shaughnessy Cohen supported it. Essex-Kent MP Jerry Pickard. Against. Windsor West MP Herb Gray and Essex-Windsor MP Susan Whelan didn’t vote.

1994

1994

Pride Festival held Caroline & Steve Lough (Man & Women of the Year)

WIGGLE is founded. Wiggle is an annual Wig Festival. The festival was created as a fundraiser for the Arts Council of Windsor. Performed at Masonic Temple. Continues today in Montreal.

First federally funded (Health and Welfare Canada) LGBTQ Youth group in Canada: One in Ten.

The Windsor Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual human rights action group is created after the defeat of Bill 167 which would have recognized same-sex relationships under the law. 68-59. Windsor-Riverside MPP Dave Cooke, Windsor-Sandwich MPP George Dadamo and Windsor-Walkerville MPP Wayne Lessard supported it. Essex MPP Bruce Crozier and MPP Essex Pat Hayes voted against.

(July 11th, 1994, Windsor Star page p5)

First meeting with Police and reps from the queer community. At attendance was Barry Adam, Caroline Carnerie and Beth Lyster. Police: Chief Adkin, John Burrows

Provincial Day of Action protest after the defeat of Bill 176. Over 70 people participated the protest downtown.

(Windsor Star 31 Oct 1994 p4)

3rd LGB Pride Day - July 10
Theme: "Accept Us. Respect Us! Acceptez Nous. Respectez Nous!"

(Reproduced by permission of Beth Lyster)

1993

1993

Founding of Lesbian/Gay Community Council. Its mandate is to: initiate and coordinate activities and provide mutual support among area organizations, respond to concerns of the gay and lesbian community though its member organizations, provide representation for the local gay and lesbian community to the press and to other non-gay organizations, and provide representation to the Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights in Ontario. The member organizations are: AIDS Committee of Windsor, Gay phone line group, Lesbian and Gay Pride Committee, Gay/Lesbian Drop-in Group, Metropolitan Community Church, One in Ten, Out on Campus, Queer Radio, Women's phone line group.

Pride Festival held
Debra Dumochelle and Barry Adam (Man & Women of the Year)

2nd LG Pride Day - July 11 Theme: "Pride Starts Here (arrow to heart). La Fierte Commence Ici."

(Reproduced by permission of Beth Lyster)

1992

1992

Windsor Pride is founded and hold’s it first festival.

  • Man of the Year: Jim Monk
  • Woman of the Year: Diane Skomash, Reverend, MCC

Windsor LG Community officially walks in Toronto’s Pride Parade

(Jamie Pitts, Jim Monk, Harold English, Beth Lyster, (David Jakoby behind, in between B L and S L), Steve Lough, David Grenier. Reproduced by permission of Beth Lyster)

Windsor’s first Lesbian and Gay Pride Day parade is held. First LG Pride Day - July 12, 1992.

  • City Council does an official declaration of support
  • Theme: "Get Used to It"
    Founder: Jamie Pitts
    T-Shirt/Posters/Banner Design: David Grenier
    Founding committee: Jamie Pitts (chair), David Grenier (graphic design, secretary), David Jakoby (vice-chair), Marie-France Jean.
    Site: JB's Bar and Grill (indoors and parking lot), Kildare/Wyandotte (current Kildare House)

(Reproduced by permission of Beth Lyster)

Sarah Carrol is elected to the Windsor West Reform Party board of Directors. She publicly comes out as Trans. Soon after coming out, she leaves Windsor to Vancouver because of death threats from some of her family and the Windsor community. She dies of complications due to AIDS in 1997.

One in Ten Youth Group starts: Founders Kenn Stanton and Chris Cecile. Goal of youth group:

  • To provide a safe and comfortable place for LGB youth
  • To improve self-esteem among LGB youth
  • To promote HIV prevention/education
  • To provide an opportunity for youth to learn about the LGB community, and encounter LGB role models, and
  • To provide an alternative social environment to bars

First Time the AIDS Quilt is publicly on display in Windsor. It is housed at the Windsor Armory and local names were put on display at the Capitol Theatre.

House of Venus is founded: Founded by Michael Venus, Greg George, Edward Abbey, and David Newman. Venus was formed with the intention of bringing positive energy through art and creativity. The collective achieved this by producing theme parties, performance,s and visual art and working in different media and mediums in Windsor and Detroit. They started creating wearable art and producing fashion shows on both sides of the border which then birthed their annual fundraiser Wiggle. They felt a need to give space for the Queer and artistic communities and with their DIY mentality that is exactly what they did during an era where being LGBTQ+ was not accepted. The Venus kids were known for their gender-bending ways and activism through art in the early 90s before heading to Vancouver in 1995.

(Walter Cassidy personal collection)

1991

1991

Start of Windsor third Gay newsletter “Outspoken.” It was funded in part with a start-up grant from the John Damien Education Trust.

University of Windsor group: Out on Campus founded. In the 70s it was called Gay Students on Campus. In the 80s it was called Lesbian and Gay Student Group.

First AIDS walk raised $13,000 last walk was done in 2011.

1990

1990

First group home created in Canada for people living with AIDS.

First Joint International Protest at both sides of the Tunnel border. The protest was regarding American Immigration laws not allowing people with HIV/AIDS to cross into the United States. Canada does not have the same law but instead can turn people away for medical reasons which can include people with HIV/AIDS. AIDS Committee of Windsor and Detroit Chapter of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power organized the protest.

Day Without Art first observed in Windsor at MacKenzie Hall.

Patricia Wilson becomes the first out trans woman Executive Director of Windsor Arts Council. She leaves Windsor to Toronto in 1992 after some questionable (possibly transphobic) issues at the WAC. During her time at the WAC, she was “instrumental in saving the historic Capital Theatre.”

1988

1988

Founding of Metropolitan Community Church in Windsor (MCC) by Rev. Don McRae.

  • January 8, 1988, to 1993: the late Rev. Don McRae
  • 1994 to 1996: Deacon Diane Skomash, Pastoral Leader
  • 1996 to 1999: Rev. Evan LeBlanc
  • January 2000 to June 2000: the late Rev. Mark Bidwell (MCC Detroit)
  • September 2000 to December 2002: Rev. Marsha Dempsey
  • January 2003 to November 2004: Rev. Brenda Hunt
  • November 2004 to May 2016: Rev. Martha Daniels
  • June 2016 to Present: John Shellhorn, Interim Pastoral Leader

Founding of Womyns Place

Me, Her and Her. Windsor lesbian Music group. D. Yarrow Halstead, Barb Haggart and Julie M. Leadbetter. (Members were from both Windsor and Michigan)

(Reproduced by permission of Julie Leadbetter)

Founding of PLAG Windsor.

AIDS Committee of Windsor is incorporated.

The Canadian Committee Against Customs Censorship is created. This organization was originally formed to oppose the seizure of gay and lesbian materials at the U.S. border. Barry Adam expert witness testified.

First MCC Same-sex Marriage Ceremony (pre-legalization) of R.S. and D.S

1987

1987

Police Target queer and trans sex workers on Wyandotte St. E.

First AIDS Awareness Week. It included workshops and public forums. One was done at St. Clair, and one was done at Walkerville high school on teaching AIDS in schools. It was a very small turn out. Very few educators attended.

Kevin Brown is the first Windsorite to come out publicly about having AIDS. He does not live in Windsor but came home to visit family. He dies in 1989.

1986

1986

The accused of Ralph Friedberg’s murder is acquitted based on “gay panic” defence. After the verdict there was a community protest at courthouse.

Woman-PACT (Planning And Caring Together) Lesbian discussion group. Had speakers in the Windsor Library. Met monthly.

John Damian dies of cancer a few weeks after the OHRC includes Sexual orientation.

Iona College: A public forum is held where Iona College president Rev. Murray McGinnis, calls on Christian churches to repent for their mistreatment of LGBT people throughout history.

Police target queer men at Jackson Park.

Ontario AIDS Network (OAN) First meeting: The first meeting was in Windsor. Eight groups from Toronto, Ottawa, Windsor, Hamilton, Kitchener, London, Kingston and Thunder Bay.

Windsorite Kevin Brown, while living in Vancouver becomes the first person in Canada to receive AZT treatment. He is also the founder of BC Persons with AIDS Coalition that same year.

Sexual Orientation to be included in the Ontario Human Rights code. Bill 7: 64-45. Essex-South MPP Remo Mancini, Windsor-Walkerville MPP Bernard Newman. Windsor-Sandwich MPP William Wrye, Windsor-Riverside MPP Dave Cooke, Essex North MPP Patrick Hayes supported it.

1985

1985

AIDS Committee of Windsor is founded out of the “condom committee” of the LGCSG.

Founding members: Jim Monk, Barry Adam, John Dufour, Wayne Tennant, Kevin Bishop, Colleen Gallagher, Beth Lyster

Office Locations
1986 - 1987: Jim Monk's apartment, College Avenue
Winter 1987 - December 1987: 3178 Walker Road
January 1988 - 1990: 1586 Wyandotte Street East, Suite 205
1990-1994: 1050 University Avenue West
1994 - 1997: 2090 Wyandotte Street East
1997 - 2006: Gino Marcus Community Centre, 1168 Drouillard Road
2006 - 2021: 511 Pelissier Street
2021 Changes name to Positive Pathways.

Executive Directors
1986-1989 Kevin Bishop
1989-1996 Steve Lough
1994- Kenn Stanton- interim
1996-2002 Amanda Gellman
2002-2005 Bob Nesbitt
2005-2010 Marilyn Weller
2010-2017 Michelle Sharp
2017-2021 Michael Brennan

(Reproduced by Permission of Beth Lyster

1984

1984

Gay Awareness Week: Iona College with public events on Gays and Religion, Human Rights for Homosexuals, A Healthy Approach to Gay Sex, and pornography and Gay Culture. The Gay sex event was the first education session on AIDS in Windsor. William Townsend from Detroit becomes the first person to speak publicly in Windsor about having AIDS.

  • CBC Windsor refuses a public service announcement about the week.
  • City Council unanimously refuses to declare Gay Awareness Week following a presentation by Dr. Robert McGirr and Dr. Walter Percival who claim it would “display sexual activities in front of children” and “promote a way of life that spreads a lethal Disease.”
  • LGCSG files unsuccessful complaints with the CBC and the Health Disciplines Board of Ontario.

Ralph Fredsberg, a local gay man, is murdered.

Windsor’s first Lesbian Music group: Trinity, Members; Julie Leadbetter, Lise Desmarais and Denise Miron.

1982

1982

Lesbian/Gay Community Service Group (LGCSG) is founded. It’s mandate includes maintaining a gay information line, referrals to medical/legal professionals, peer support groups and pressing for a non-discrimination clause in the OHRC.

Vicki Charles wins first Miss Gay Windsor.

(Left: Roxxi Luv, Kitty O’day, Vicki Charles, Jenny Maxwell (American) taken at Todd’s Sway Lounge. Given by Permission by Christina Collins)

The first reported case of AIDS and the first reported gay person to die of AIDS in Canada is reported in Windsor. 43 years old gay man.

First International Gay Games held in San Francisco. Windsor participates with someone competing in Tennis.

The first international LGBT conference in Canada entitled Wilde ‘82 is held in Toronto. Dr. Barry Adam (University of Windsor) presents a paper entitled “Where gay people come from.”

1980

1980

Jim Monk becomes chair of the Coalition for Gay Right’s In Ontario’s (CGRO)

Harold Desmarais becomes the Coalition for Gay Right’s In Ontario’s (CGRO) first executive secretary.

1979

1979

First local issue gay protest in Windsor. Members of the WGU were fired (Jim Davies and Harold Desmarais) from the Viscount Hotel for being gay.

Windsor/Essex County first openly gay politician. Cameron Frye runs for Mayor of Tecumseh. He loses the mayoral race by incumbent mayor Don Lappan who distributed hate literature that claimed Frye would promote "a gay lifestyle.” On his last day as Municipal councilor he comes out publicly as gay.

Club for Steam opens on Hall Street.

1978

1978

Members of WGU were distributing pamphlets and having a petition drive to include sexual orientation in HRC at the University when they were chastised and assaulted. In response “the Lance” the student newspaper had a six-week series on gay rights.

Gail Bezaire is given custody of her children but Judge Joseph McMahon rules that she can retain custody of her children only if she “refrains from entering into another lesbian relationship while the children were living with her.”

“Never Going Back.” Sept 2-4th CGRO conference in Windsor. It was seen by the city as a convention of gay people across Ontario. City council refused to recognise it. Alderman Don Clare stated, “I wouldn’t vote for a national straight week either.”

Crossdressing Magazine Tri-Ess: Femme Mirror includes coded names of Windsorites who are active in the Ann arbor meetings.

Jim Monk becomes the first openly gay person to run for school trustee in Windsor. He loses.

October 14, Canadian lesbians, and gays joined in a National Day of Protest against the federal government's program of wage and price controls. Members of local lesbian and gay groups participate.

First gay focused radio show in Windsor. Closets R 4 Clothes, CJAM Radio Show. Monday evenings. Hosts: Jim Monk, Kevin Bishop, Mike/Bob Christmas, and Cathy Jamieson.

The murder of black trans woman as reported in the Windsor Star, “black Transvestite” was found in a “woman’s dress and coat.” Four people were charged with first degree murder. It was than changed to three individuals getting charged (one accused died in car accident before trial) with manslaughter. She was misgendered in the Windsor Star.

1977

1977

Gay Students on Campus established at the University of Windsor and distributes literature to all faculty on “Helping Someone Gay.”

Windsor City Council passes a non-discrimination clause for city hiring. The third in the country to do this.

First Gay Rights protest in Windsor: October 22, 1977. Twenty-four people protested employment discrimination against gays and support for John Damien. They demonstrated in front of an Ontario government building before marching through the city market and along the main street.

OPIRG Windsor (Ontario Public Interest Research Group) is founded by Mike Ura. It is not till Jim Davies becomes coordinator in 1995 that LGBT issues are included in the group.

1976

1976

Windsor LG Phoneline: for Information and support of the queer community. Staffed by volunteers. Jim Monk thinks the phone line began in the office of WGU, in the basement of the building across from Victoria Park Place on Pitt Street. It was funded by the dances at the IBEW union hall. The phone line migrated to various peoples' houses, eventually Frank Butler’s, until its move in early 1990s to AIDS Committee of Windsor office on University Avenue.

MPP Ted Bounsall (Windsor-Sandwich) brings forward a private members bill to Parliament to include Sexual Orientation under the Ontario Human Rights Code (the first of its kind in Ontario). It was defeated.

1975

1975

Windsor is one of the founding members of the Coalition for Gay Rights in Ontario (CGRO) [which later changes its name to Coalition from Lesbian & Gay Rights in Ontario (CLGRO), which is now called Queer Ontario]. They begin an eleven-year struggle for inclusion for sexual orientation in the Ontario Human Rights Code.

Windsorite: John Damien is fired from the Ontario Racing Commission in Toronto because he is gay. This becomes a rallying cry for the CLGRO.

The Ontario NDP adopts a motion put forward by Windsor activist Harold Desmarais to add the inclusion of sexual orientation in the OHRC as part of their Party Platform.

WGU opens a drop-in centre with the financial backing of local Doctor Ray Bluett.

The Ritz Hotel opens as Windsor’s first “official” gay bar.

1974

1974

Local 195 of the CAW Human right committee lead by Les Dickirson recommends that all CAW bargaining units revise the anti-discrimination clause in their collective agreement to include sexual orientation.

Windsor Gay Unity Newsletter starts. It published till 1979.

1973

1973

The Windsor Homophile Association change their name to Windsor Gay Unity.

(Two examples of Windsor Gay Unity logos. Walter Cassidy personal collection)

Windsor has its first gay-focused public event. “Gay Dance” at Alumni Lounge University of Windsor.

(Walter Cassidy personal collection)

National Gay Pride Week: Windsor participates by having a petition to include sexual orientation in the Human Rights Code and a gay-themed dance.

Windsor sends representative at the First Gay Conference held in Quebec.

WGU decided to put an ad in the Windsor Star to get even more exposure to their already popular dances. The ad said “Gay Dance. Saturday 8:00 Pm Alumni Lounge U. of Windsor.” The ad was rejected. The editor at the time Mr. O’Callaghan said it “exploited sex and was in bad taste.” WGU decided to fight the decision and reported to the papers Press Council. O’Callaghan defended his position with many homophobic statements like, “We have no intention of lowering our standards on good taste.” The Press Council agreed that the Windsor Star discriminated against WGU. Windsor Star continued to refuse the ads even though they lost. This was not officially resolved until 1979.

1972

1972

Tracy Starr advertises as Windsor’s First Female Impersonator

(Windsor Star 27 April 1972 p29)

Founding of the Windsor Homophile Association at the University of Windsor. Windsor’s first Gay Liberation group. Founders: Steve Lough and Jim Davies. Lough called a meeting at the University, which was attended by Lough, Davies and one other university student. Jim Monk was at the 2nd meeting, and Harold Desmarais joined soon afterward.

Dr. Tom Clark finishes his PhD at University of Windsor. His thesis is one of the works that caused the American Psychiatric Association to state that homosexuality should no longer be considered a psychiatric disorder.

L. Paterson (chosen name unknown) is believed to be the first male to be convicted of prostitution in Canada since changes to the criminal code widened the offense to include both male and females.

“The continuum from heterosexuality to homosexuality.” University of Windsor Department of Sociology and Anthropology have speakers from gay liberation, the sexual freedom league and the gay peoples church.

Canada's earliest politician to come out as gay (1980) Cameron Frye, is elected to the municipal council in Tecumseh.

1970

1970

Pat Noonan (Straight ally) starts the Woman’s Liberation group in Windsor. Lesbians are welcome to attend.

1969

1969

Douglas Sanders (one of the founders and second president of Canada’s first Gay organization ASK) moves to Windsor. He leaves two years later.

1968

1968

First example of a professional Canadian written play with a queer subject matter to perform in Windsor: the play “Fortune and Men’s Eyes” is performed in Windsor as part of the Dominion Drama Festival. The author John Herbert comes to Windsor to see the show.

(Windsor Star 21 May 1968)

Dr. Mark R. MacGuigan. Dean of Law at the University of Windsor. Special legal adviser for Justice Minister Pierre-Elliot Trudeau in 1968. Member of the Canadian Parliament for Windsor-Walkerville. He was part of the changes of criminal code related to homosexual activity.

1965

1965

Etna’s Steam Bath becomes Vesuvio Steam Bath. It closes around 2009.

1964

1964

Canada’s first Bathhouse raid happens at Etna’s Steam Bath on Brant Street.

1963

1963

Windsor Little Theatre perform “The Children’s Hour.”

(Windsor Star 05 Feb 1963 p12)

1962

1962

Etna’s Steam Bath opens on Brant Street.

1961

1961

Sun Parlor Playhouse perform “Tea and Sympathy.”

(Windsor Star 15 July 1961 p17)

1960

1960

First Example of a professional play with a gay theme to be performed in Windsor/Essex. Sun Parlor Playhouse performs “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.”

(Windsor Star 18 July 1960 p7)

1957

1957

Windsor Star 17 June 1957 p12. Storme DeLaviere was involved in the Stonewall uprising. She is considered the person who gave the first punch at Stonewall.

(Windsor Star 17 June 1957 p12.)

1953

1953

First documented local Professional Female Impersonator: Peter P Curran is arrested for stealing fur coats. It is stated that he was a local professional female impersonator in Windsor. He went by the name of “Bobby” or “Bette Davis.”

1952

1952

Pansy Craze Starts in Windsor: Professional groups perform in various places in Windsor including La Gloria Jean: First example of a black Female Impersonator performing in Windsor’s Thomas’ Inn. Also performing are the Jewel Box Review at Canada Tavern which they continue to come back to Windsor 3 times. Other performers include; Mr. Adrian Ames, Leslie Roberts, Portraits in Black Revue, The Continentals, and the Turnabout Follies Revue in 1968.

(Windsor Star November 1, 1952, Page 14)

1946

1946

The slasher attacks continue with Alexander Voligny, and Joseph Gelencser. They were the last two victims. The murderer is caught in September.

From January to September: Frontiersmen are given Special Constable ability to arrest men in parks.

17 members of the Parks Department after taking the oath as auxiliary constables. Windsor Daily Star, 10 Sep 1946.

In September, 20 Parks employees are given the power to arrest and the start of the “War Against Sex Crimes Campaign” begins.

1945

1945

First serial killer in Canada who targets queer men. The first of the Windsor Slasher Murders are discovered. The killer approached queer men in Riverside parks and stabbed them repeatedly in the back. George Mannie, Frank Sciegliski and Sgt. Hugh Blackwood Price were the first three victims.

1944

1944

Local Windsorite: John Bickle becomes the dance director for the Royal Canadian Air force (RCAF)’s show “All Clear”. The show tours the globe to entertain troupes around the world.

1941

1941

Unnamed individual is arrested on disorderly conduct. The paper stated that the individual was not arrested “for wearing women’s clothing but because he was causing a breach of the peace…they saw him wave kisses at a crowd on Ouellette Ave.” The individual was first placed in women’s detention then was moved into men.

1936

1936

Pansy Craze. The Pansy Craze was a phenomenon that started in New York. One of those original performers moved to Detroit (Karyl Norman) and the Pansy Craze expanded to Detroit. The shows first started to be advertised in the Windsor paper. This continues to be advertised until 1940.

(Windsor Star 17Feb 1940 p 16)

1930

1930

Windsor Steam Bath opens on Mercer St. Closes in 1957.

(Windsor Star 17 Sept 1938 p9)

1924

1924

Red Allan: First recorded example of a local Female Impersonator. Performed in the play “Hokum” at Walkerville Theatre as well as the Windsor Armories. It included blackface.

1923

1923

Dumbells Craze. A World War One troupe that toured the world to entertain the Ally soldiers. The troupe included female impersonators. After the war, they toured around North America. The Dumbells first came to this area in 1921 with the show entitled “Biff, Bing Bang” in Detroit’s Shubert Theatre. The show included a Windsor night performance. After that, they came to Windsor 10 times. Windsorite John Lougheed was part of the original troop who played in the musical pit. Please note that they also did blackface.

(The Windsor Star 07 Oct 1927 p18: Ross Hamilton of the Dumbells)

A black drag ball is reported in the Windsor Star. This ball happened in Detroit. “11 strong-arm Negroes, dressed as women” were arrested supposedly enticing men into alleys and robbing them.

1922

1922

First time that a local newspaper (Windsor Star and its earlier titles) publishes peoples’ full name who were accused of queer activity. Starting in 1933 the Windsor paper started including their home address for being arrested for having been caught breaking the law (which could be as simple as holding hands or engaging in sex with the same gender). This practice led to many local Windsorite’s to move out of the city or commit suicide. This practice lasted till 1972.

(Windsor Star 10 November 1923 p3)

1916

1916

First time the word Trans is published in Windsor: The incident happened in Anderdon and Colchester South: Three men were seen “masquerading in female attire.” The newspaper reported them as German spies who “were going about the country in trans-sexes attire” to shoot Major Balfour. Other reports do not include the assignation attempt or their supposed German spy connection.

(Windsor Star 27 Oct. 1916 p2)

1913

1913

First Professional Male Impersonator to perform in Windsor: Ollie Chapoton at the Empire Theatre.

(Windsor Star 26 Dec 1913 p4)

1912

1912

First example of a professional Female Impersonator performing in Windsor: Vaudeville Show that included the Great Westin & Company that did a Female Impersonation of Queen Victoria. Performed at Windsor Theatre.

(Windsor Star 14 Dec 1912 p4)

1904

1904

A local example of female name change being accepted to someone identified as biologically male.

(Windsor Star 20th Jan 1904 p4)

1896

1896

First article on the history of Trans experiences internationally: Article in Evening Record (Windsor Star) Entitled: Strange People: Some Who Have Changed Their Sex Apparently

1893

1893

First example of a possible gay/trans bashing (gone right): A person (possibly black) who was called “Sissy Petticoats” is attacked but successfully fights back. As recounted by “old man McCurdy.”

First example of local Gender non-conforming incident in Essex; “Two prominent young ladies in Essex promenaded the streets of that town in male attire.”

(Windsor Star 04 Nov 1893 p8)

1884

1884

After a robbery in Sandwich as stated in the Windsor newspaper article: William Callehan and Matthew Kennedy were caught. While they were in jail in Sandwich it was reported that both escaped while in women’s clothing and escaped to Detroit. One person was caught the other was not found.

1859

1859

Reverend Thomas Franchon President of Assumption Collage left in a scandal.

1851

1851

Earliest example of gender non-conforming behaviour: There are a few reports of former enslaved people who left the United States by dressing in the opposite gender than what they were assigned at birth:

  • A former slave called Aunt Nancy escaped from New Orleans. It was reported in the Fugitive: “He was dressed in female attire and was commanded to answer to the name of Aunt Nancy. The lady (who helped Aunt Nancy escape) would then put her infant child in the arms of Aunt Nancy and make her take care of it.” Most of the article used female pronouns “by the spirit of freedom she was wafted to Canada, where she has donned, substantially and literally, the habiliments of true manhood as an independent freeman and thorough going British Subject.”
  • Reported in the Fugitive: “Woman wearing the breeches.” One fugitive coming from the south had her enslaver “pass her on the highway, in a free state, in hot pursuit making her a polite bow in passing, but not recognizing her, even in his own suit.”
1842

1842

Canada’s first men documented conviction of “homosexual sex between two consenting adults.” Lance Corporal Samuel Moore and Private Patrick Kelly of the 89th Regiment. There is no record of the two of them at Fort Malden, but their regiment is recorded to be at Fort Malden at the time. Their trial was convened in Sandwich town, and they were to be put to death on July 15th. Instead, the Governor General got involved and commuted their sentence to life in prison. Both were sent to the Kingston Penitentiary. Moore was released in 1849 and Kelly were released in 1853. Both stayed in the Frontenac Ontario Region until their deaths.

(Western Harold August 12, 1842)

1833

1833

Treaty #35 signed with Huron-Wendat.

1790

1790

Treaty #2, known as the McKee Purchase, was signed with 50 representatives.

1763

1763

The title of and rights of the Walpole Island First Nation (Bkejwanong First Nation) to its Territory affirmed by Royal Proclamation.

1701

1701

Start of colonization by Jesuit missionaries and French explorers.

 
 
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Windsor Essex Pride Fest

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