glbtq: an encyclopedia of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender & queer culture
social sciences
special features
about glbtq


   member name
   Forgot Your Password?  
Not a Member Yet?  

  Advertising Opportunities
  Permissions & Licensing
  Terms of Service
  Privacy Policy





social sciences

Alpha Index:  A-B  C-F  G-K  L-Q  R-S  T-Z

Subjects:  A-E  F-L  M-Z

Bookmark and Share
page: 1  2  

Cosmopolitan Vancouver, nestled on Canada's west coast in a picturesque triangle between English Bay, Burrard Inlet, and the Fraser River, has developed in less than 200 years from a frontier outpost in an untamed land to one of the fastest-growing cities in North America.

With a constant influx of immigrants and a vigorous and adaptable economy, Vancouver is a progressive city with a large and active community. That community began organizing in the 1960s, with the founding of Canada's first organization, and has continued into the 2000s, as activists work to protect queer rights and develop queer culture.

Sponsor Message.

With its sheltered location, fertile farmland, and rich inland waterways, the southwestern corner of British Columbia's mainland attracted settlers from a variety of native cultures for over three thousand years. More than twenty tribes, including the Tsawwassen and Musqueam, comprised the Stó:lo Nation, the "People of the Water," who farmed and fished the Fraser River Valley before the arrival of European explorers in the late eighteenth century.

From the first European trading post, established by the Hudson Bay Company in 1827, the small community soon grew into a boomtown with a thriving economy based on its lumber and mining industries, fisheries, and agriculture. By the late 1800s, the settlement had become a hub for a newly developing railroad network, and in 1886, the City of Vancouver was incorporated. The city grew rapidly, tripling its population within a few decades and spawning a construction boom in the early 1900s.

A century later, Vancouver remains a world-class port city, whose lumber mills, mines, and fisheries are now supplemented by modern industries such as biotechnology, alternative energy, and media production. The city has become the third largest film production center in North America, earning the nickname "Hollywood North."

Vancouver is also a gay-friendly city, with the largest queer community of any city in western Canada. Many gay Vancouverites live in the so-called "gay village" in the city's densely populated West End. In the East End, Commercial Drive, known locally as "The Drive," is a popular neighborhood for Vancouver's lesbian community.

Gay-centered events are scheduled throughout the year, including a week-long pride festival and dyke march at the beginning of August and a "Queerwood" film festival called Out on Screen that is Canada's largest gay arts event.

Influenced by its progressive largest city, the province of British Columbia has protected glbtq people from discrimination for years. A Court of Appeals ruling legalized same-sex marriage in British Columbia on July 8, 2003.

Gay Organizing in Vancouver

Gay organizing was in its infancy worldwide when the Association for Social Knowledge (ASK) formed in Vancouver in 1964. The homophile organization published a monthly newsletter from 1964 until 1968 and opened the first gay community center in Canada in 1966.

In the summer of 1969, as the New York Stonewall Rebellion signalled a growing militance among gay men and lesbians in the United States, Canada's Parliament--at the behest of charismatic Attorney General Pierre Trudeau--followed Great Britain's example and approved legislation decriminalizing homosexuality.

Vancouver gay men and lesbians soon formed a number of political organizations, such as the Vancouver Gay Liberation Front in 1970 and the Gay Alliance Toward Equality (GATE) in 1971. GATE began strategizing to gain civil rights for gay men and lesbians, organizing the first gay march in Vancouver in solidarity with a demonstration in Ottawa.

In 1973 GATE began publishing a magazine called Gay Tide. In 1974, when the Vancouver Sun refused to print an advertisement for Gay Tide, GATE filed suit against the paper, initiating the first gay rights case ever taken before the Supreme Court of Canada.

GATE won a British Columbia Human Rights Commission complaint on the matter and a subsequent challenge by the Sun in the British Columbia Supreme Court, but the decision was reversed in the federal Court of Appeals. Finally, in 1979, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in the Sun's favor. However, times had changed and the Sun voluntarily altered its policy and agreed to print Gay Tide's ad. GATE disbanded in 1980.

Pride Celebrations

In 1980, many gay men and lesbians worked to elect Vancouver's first queer-friendly mayor, Michael Harcourt, and in 1981 Harcourt officially launched Gay Unity Week. Though there had been demonstrations and marches in support of gay pride since 1973, the 1981 celebration featured the city's first pride parade. (Harcourt would later become Premier of British Columbia.)

    page: 1  2   next page>  
Contact Us
Join the Discussion
Related Entries
More Entries by this contributor
A Bibliography on this Topic

Citation Information
More Entries about Social Sciences
Popular Topics:

The Arts

Drag Shows: Drag Queens and Female Impersonators
Drag Shows: Drag Queens and Female Impersonators

Photography: Gay Male, Pre-Stonewall
Photography: Gay Male, Pre-Stonewall

Erotic and Pornographic Art: Gay Male
Erotic and Pornographic Art: Gay Male

New Queer Cinema

White, Minor

Halston (Roy Halston Frowick)


Winfield, Paul

McDowall, Roddy
McDowall, Roddy

Cadinot, Jean-Daniel
Cadinot, Jean-Daniel




This Entry Copyright © 2006 glbtq, Inc. is produced by glbtq, Inc., 1130 West Adams Street, Chicago, IL   60607 glbtq™ and its logo are trademarks of glbtq, Inc.
This site and its contents Copyright © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.
Your use of this site indicates that you accept its Terms of Service.