69 Positions: Decriminalization in the Queer Canadian + Quebec Archive in Film + Beyond

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69 Positions: Decriminalization in the Queer Canadian + Quebec Archive in Film + Beyond

On May 19, 2019, the 50th Anniversary of Bill C-150, The Criminal Law Amendment Act 1968-1969 will be recognized. In the context of resounding present-day calls to decriminalize Indigenous resistance, drug use, immigration status, and sex work, what does this half-century of so-called ‘decriminalization of homosexuality’ mean for our communities? Be transported back in time at 69 Positions at the SUM Gallery and take in a physically and emotionally delicious tripartite display of media, memorabilia, ephemera, and documentary films. Examine the post-decrim decade in an unabashedly politicized, naughty, nuanced and nerdy retrospective of queer lives circa 1969.

We are here to set the record queer. 

As the powers-that-be gear up to recognize the 50th Anniversary of Bill C-150, the Criminal Law Amendment Act, this exhibitions questions what this milestone really meant for LGBTQ2+ communities. In the context of resounding present-day calls to decriminalize drug use, immigration status, sex work, and Indigenous resistance, what does this half-century of so-called ‘decriminalization of homosexuality’ mean for our communities?

To commemorate and problematize the 50th Anniversary of this milestone, the Queer Media Database Canada-Quebec (MEDIAQUEER) presents an unabashedly politicized, naughty, nuanced and nerdy retrospective of queer lives circa 1969 through an archival exhibition of the history of and around this shift. This is a look at history with a physically and emotionally delicious set of objects which looks at the post-decriminalization decade, embracing for its Vancouver iteration the first stirrings of queer sexual liberation up to the advent of AIDS. Although it would be decades before the government would apologize for prosecuting and entrapping its own citizens, the 1969 Omnibus remains a watershed moment in the social, political, sexual, and artistic history of this country. As the federal government applauds 50 years of progress, we are here to set the record queer with a close look at archives from across the country.

Curated by Kaschelle Thiessen (Vancouver) and Jordan Arseneault (MediaQueer Coordinator), along with co-curators Jenna Lee Forde (Toronto) and Jamie Ross (Montréal), “69 positions” transports you back in time to the highpoint of the sexual revolution, in a tripartite collection of media, memorabilia, ephemera, and documentary films.

We invite you to SUM Gallery for the opening of 69 Positions on May 14 at 6PM to enjoy drinks, music and musings around our socially-engaged and visually striking installation.

Please also join us for a panel on May 30, at 6PM: “The SUM and Remains of 69” – a salon-style conversation with curator Kaschelle Thiessen, video artist Paul Wong, Two-Spirit artist luminary Chief Byron Longclaws, and sex-worker advocate Jamie Lee Hamilton, moderated by MediaQueer founder Thomas Waugh.

Also, join us at the Vancouver Queer Film Festival Sunday, August 18th at 7pm, at the SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts at 149 West Hastings Street, Vancouver for a special vintage film screening: Toni, Randi and Marie by Ron Hallis,

“69 Positions” is a cross-Canada exhibition series based on an original idea and coordinated by Jordan Arseneault for MediaQueer.ca with generous funding from the Canada Council for the Arts. MediaQueer thanks the Canada Council for the Arts, VIVO Media Arts, the SUM Gallery/Queer Arts Festival, Montréal Arts Interculturels, the City of Vancouver Archives and BC Gay & Lesbian Archives founder/donor Ron Dutton, and the Archives gaies du Québec for supporting this project.

For a full list of events, please see www.mediaqueer.ca/events