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CLGRO Celebrates 25 Years
Speaking Out and Forcing Change
ONLINE:  FRIDAY JANUARY 21, 12:21 PM (GMT-5).

ON January 19, 2000, CLGRO marked its 25th anniversary, making it Canada's oldest provincial organization for gays, lesbians and bisexuals.  "We are proud of what we've achieved since we started in 1975," says founding member Tom Warner.

Among CLGRO's successes have been:

  • Leading an 11-year campaign, ending with success in December 1986, to have sexual orientation added to the Ontario Human Rights Code.
  • Organizing the first community responses, including demonstrations and a huge rally, to protest the 1981 police raids on gay bathhouses in Toronto.
  • Breaking new ground in 1989 by launching the first concerted advocacy campaign in Canada to secure legal recognition of same-sex relationships through legislative change.  For the next 10 years, CLGRO led province-wide efforts to amend Ontario laws, achieving victory in October 1999 with the adoption of Bill 5 that added "same sex partner" to 67 laws.
  • Conducting a comprehensive four-year study into the health care and social service needs of sexual minorities in Ontario, funded by Health Canada, that resulted in the 1997 report, "Systems Failure," containing 78 recommendations for governments, educational bodies, professional associations, and health care and social service agencies.

We ... intend to be around for a good long while yet.
- founding member Tom Warner
 
 
"Much progress has been made since 1975," notes CLGRO's Christine Donald.  "But much more remains to be done.  Heterosexism and homophobia have not vanished, particularly in the education system and in the fields addressed in 'Systems Failure'".

CLGRO is planning anniversary events throughout the year:  a monument in downtown Toronto celebrating and honouring the achievements of the lesbian, gay and bisexual communities;  a documentary video profiling CLGRO's history in the forefront of the struggle for lesbian and gay rights;  a short printed history of CLGRO;  and, a public forum on the historical significance of the lesbian and gay movement.  Applications to fund these events have made to the Toronto Arts Council, the federal government's Millennium Bureau of Canada, Ontario 2000: Special Projects Program, and the Lesbian and Gay Community Appeal of Toronto.

"We want to celebrate 25 years of progress, and intend to be around for a good long while yet," says Warner.  "We want to continue to speak out and force change."

For more information contact:  Tom Warner or Christine Donald at (416) 405-8253.