Creating Space for All Members of the LGBTQ Community
Toronto is and was often viewed as an open and queer-friendly city ever since the gay liberation movement began in the 1960s; however, this was not always the case for people who did not fit into the mainstream image of the LGBTQ community. Many people were—and still are—marginalized and discriminated against within the predominantly white LGBTQ community based on their racial or cultural identities. As a result, the issues they faced throughout history were often minimized as the mainstream activist groups did not recognize their concerns. Various community groups such as Zami (the first Canadian group for Black and West Indian gays and lesbians), ACAS (the Asian Community AIDS Services), and Salaam: Queer Muslim Community were founded to provide support to marginalized members of the community whose needs were not being addressed by the mainstream organizations. These groups provided safe spaces where participants could participate, be heard, and freely explore their identities both culturally and regarding their sexuality and/or gender identity.
The following interview excerpts discuss issues of racism and community solidarity in Toronto.