I’m a human rights advocate focusing on LGBTQ rights since I came out in 1980.
I’m also the only surviving member of the team that did the first major Alberta government-sponsored study into equal rights for the gay community. As you know, the Alberta government had been very conservative for almost half a century, so this was a study that was unprecedented and caused quite a bit of a stir.
In 1992, the Alberta Human Rights Commission began a study involving the IRPA and run by Trevor Edwards, with me as the other member of the team, and we were joined eventually by Mary Crunkilton (who was a professional editor).
It was called a “A Projected Case Load Study, Should Sexual Orientation Become A Protected Category Within The Individual’s Rights Protection Act“.
A long title, but basically we took calls and complaints as though sexual orientation was protected. It was an interesting initial “peek” into political issues for me, as we received calls from time to time throughout the study, by right wing magazines trying to “discover” that public money was being spent (i.e. on wages for us, etc.).
Disappointing I suppose for them to discover that it was all totally volunteer. Of course there was paper and ink used. but that was it.
At the end, we compiled the information and it was published and sent it to various stakeholders. Interestingly, after it was done and sent out on schedule, one of the “higher up” members of the government tried to “cancel” it – but the deadline had passed, and the report was out.
I held onto my copy for about 30 years.
Our friend Michael Phair was at our house for a holiday dinner, and when this report came up, he was very interested in seeing it. He said that he’d get it donated to the City Archives on my behalf. It was exciting to learn a short while later that he had donated it.
Currently that copy of mine is housed in the City of Edmonton Archives (Gay and Lesbian section). (Donation # A2012-114)
GALA fonds (MS-595) Box 6 – Civil Rights – Issues
Since it was made, Trevor passed away from AIDS and Mary passed away from cancer (she knew she had limited time, but had said she’d wanted to do something important with the time she had – and she did).
At any rate, we all, as citizens try and do our own little “bit” to advance human rights. This was the “bit” that started my journey into human rights.
You can download and read a copy here.