A bittersweet energy filled Toronto’s Buddies in Bad Times Theatre Jan 30, as queer activists, performers and guests gathered to bid farewell to the Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights in Ontario (CLGRO) and welcome its successor, Queer Ontario.
Founded in 1975, CLGRO factored hugely in the struggle for queer liberation in Ontario for nearly 35 years. But the coalition dissolved due to a lack of resources and membership.
Queer Ontario plans to employ internet tools like Twitter, Facebook and its website, queerontario.org, to gain community support and promote its mandate of “questioning, challenging and seeking reform to social norms and laws that regulate queer people.”
The evening’s first speaker was CLGRO founding member Tom Warner, who tearfully saluted the organization’s accomplishments, adding words of wisdom for future pioneers: “Just because we have same-sex marriage doesn’t mean we can stop there.”
Queer Ontario founding member Nick Mulé discussed how the new organization’s mission would differ from CLGRO’s: “We are an organization that is utilizing modern technology and social media outlets as tools to reinvigorate our movement in this province,” he said. “We will be moving forward based upon the liberationist perspective CLGRO lived by with a radical edge – hence the name.”
Queer Ontario member Justin Stayshyn introduced the new Queer Ontario website, Queerontario.org.
The speeches were followed by a series of performances by LAL, Kim Crosby, Troy Jackson and Ryan G Hinds.
A Queer Ontario Steering Committee meeting is scheduled for Wed, Feb 17 at the 519 Church St Community Centre for all who wish to get involved. For more, check out Queerontario.org.