The Pride Report

LGBT Purge Survivors Talk History & Compensation in SK Visit

Survivors of Canada’s LGBT purge will be sharing their personal experiences of discrimination and encouraging others to file a claim for compensation in a series of public film screenings and talks to be held in Regina & Moose Jaw next week.

From the 1950’s to the mid-1990’s, thousands of LGBT members of the Canadian Armed Forces, the RCMP, and the federal public service were systematically discriminated against, harassed, and often fired as a matter of policy and sanctioned practice. They were followed, interrogated and abused in a shameful practice now known as the LGBT purge.

Michelle Douglas and Wayne Davis both serve as board members for the non-profit “LGBT Purge Fund” and are travelling to Saskatchewan to raise awareness about the upcoming deadline for LGBT Purge survivors to access compensation.

Michelle Douglas served as an officer in the Canadian Armed Forces in the Military Police Branch of the Air Force from 1986 – 1989. Despite an exemplary service record, she was fired from her post in 1989 as part of the military’s LGBT purge. She launched a landmark legal challenge against the military’s discriminatory policies and her lawsuit resulted in the ending of Canada’s formalized discriminatory policies against LGBT members of the military in 1992.

Douglas, who is scheduled to speak at the Canadian Forces Base in Moose Jaw about her personal experience in the military, has come a long way since her wrongful dismissal.

“There was once a time that I would have feared speaking about these issues on a military base,” Douglas said. “But now I see this opportunity as an important indicator of the progress that has been made across Canada on LGBT issues and equality. I welcome the chance to talk about this journey, and to meet with folks from Moose Jaw – home of 15 Wing.”

Wayne Davis joined the RCMP in 1967 and attained the rank of Staff-Sergeant. After a successful career, he was discovered to be gay and was forced out of the RCMP as part of the LGBT purge.

“It is with joy and sadness that I look forward to returning to Saskatchewan, the home of RCMP Depot Division,” Davis said. “Joy because I was honoured to be starting a career there in an organization I admired, and sadness because 18 years later that career abruptly ended as part of the LGBT purge. I return with the hope that sharing my story will help others who have not yet dealt with a similar painful experience.”

A class action lawsuit launched by survivors of the LGBT purge reached a settlement with the Canadian government in June 2018 with up to $110 million set aside for the payment of damages to LGBT purge victims.

This historic settlement also included funds for “reconciliation and memorialization measures.” Between $15 – $25 million has been set aside for grants and contributions for use in “projects that will memorialize the LGBT purge and/or provide support to those affected.”

For any members of the public wanting to learn more about the LGBT purge or the LGBT Purge Fund, Douglas and Davis will be speaking in Regina on Fri. March 15 and in Moose Jaw on Sat. March 16.

Moose Jaw Pride and the Saskatchewan Pride Network are co-presenting the Regina events with the UR Pride Centre for Sexuality and Gender Diversity and Queen City Pride and co-presenting the Moose Jaw events with 15 Wing – CFB Moose Jaw.

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Events

Fri. March 15 @ 2:30pm
The Fruit Machine – Film Screening & Discussion
RPL Film Theatre
Regina Public Library Central and Children’s Branch
2311 12 Ave, Regina
More information forthcoming

Fri. March 15 @ 7:00pm
Fruit Machine: A Discussion About Canada’s LGBT Purge
With Michelle Douglas & Wayne Davis
Education Building – Room 191, University of Regina
More information forthcoming

Sat. March 16 @ 4:30pm
The Fruit Machine – Film Screening & Discussion
15 Wing Theatre
64 Nato Drive, CFB Moose Jaw
(Parking Available in Front of Red Knight Arena)
Click Here for More Information

Also happening in Moose Jaw:
Show and Tell with Pride
Western Development Museum – Moose Jaw
Sat. March 16 @ 2:00pm

Contact

For more information about the upcoming events, please contact:
Joe Wickenhauser, Executive Director, Moose Jaw Pride
306.692.3388
joe@moosejawpride.ca

To arrange a media interview (in-person or by phone) with Michelle Douglas, Wayne Davis or another member of the LGBT Purge Fund (English or French), please contact:
info@lgbtpurgefund.com

For more information about the LGBT Purge Class Action Lawsuit, visit:
http://lgbtpurge.com/

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