The Pride Report

Looking Back: Hidden Histories Display at the Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery

My Moose Jaw talk September 6, 2015.
Location: The Moose Jaw Museum and Art Gallery.
Reason: the opening of a permanent LGBTQ (Q is for questioning which makes me smile the big smile) exhibit conceived and implemented by Joe Wickenhauser and the MJ Museum.
And yes, there was a good crowd including the Mayor, my wonderful family, new friends and dear old friends.

“You can take the boy out of the prairie but you can’t take the prairie out of the boy”

I have found this to be true.

Thank you Kelly Carty, Joe Wickenhauser and the Moose Jaw Museum and Art Gallery for allowing me to be here tonight for this historic occasion.

I have not thought about being gay in Moose Jaw or coming out in Moose Jaw for many years. Re-visiting those far away days has been interesting, enlightening and cathartic.

I first appeared in 1959 as part of a family of 4 that was soon to become a family of 3. My father died. My mother and sister in their grief and by way of compensation spoiled me almost rotten (Yes, there is a point to this back story). I was a demanding child, somewhat arrogant and very used to getting my way. In retrospect (and this is the epiphany) … this often sweet and often unpleasant little brat saved my life. You see, I had an ego or what used to be called, a chip on the shoulder. I went from RC Cola because of my thick glasses to tank because I was short and chubby, to faggot … but … the bullies never won. They never WON.

I made it through Prince Arthur, excelled at Peacock and went on to become the first person in my immediate family to attend university (better known to me as Rodney’s gay exodus). I have done many interesting and provocative things in my life, creatively, intellectually and emotionally … and will continue to do so.

In 1978 Anita Bryant, the vehemently anti-gay, evangelical, preacher slash singer and spokesperson for Florida orange juice had decided to bring her “Save the Children” campaign to Moose Jaw.

A first of its kind protest rally was organized. The logistics were challenging. As far as I knew, I was the only out gay person in or from here. The logical conclusion was to bus people to Main Street from the far reaching corners of the province – and that is precisely what happened. We began our march at the train station 95 bodies strong joined in exquisite solidarity. (look for the long legs at the beginning)

Education is the reason we are all here tonight. Educating oneself leads to educating others – the greatest hope for freedom and equality for all people.

Thank you.

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