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May 25, 2012

Winnipeg Pride 2012 l Chris Vogel and Richard North


Rainbow flag will fly high over City Hall!

Kick off Pride Week with the official rainbow flag-raising ceremony at 
City Hall, 510 Main Street on Friday May 25! 

This free, all-ages event features brief remarks, the flag-raising, and free Pride cake courtesy of Chocolate Zen Bakery. 
We are honoured to be joined for the second year in a row by His Worship, 
Mayor Sam Katz, who will bring greetings on behalf of the City of Winnipeg. 

You can also pick up a Pride Guide, and talk to members of the Pride committee about all the great activities planned for the week to come! 

The ceremonies begin at 12:15 pm sharp. 

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Pride Winnipeg is pleased to announce that community leaders and  human rights activists Chris Vogel and Richard North will lead this year’s Pride Parade on June 3. 

Chris and Richard will also speak at the rally at 11:30 am on the grounds of the Manitoba legislature, to kick off the parade through downtown.  

Here are some of the highlights of their contributions: 
Chris and Richard became involved in the Campus Gay Club at the University of Manitoba 1973 just as the organization was evolving into Manitoba’s first gay liberation organization, Gays for Equality, which introduced queer rights issues to Manitoba politics in the provincial election of 1973.  

The movement for human rights protection continued with little success for 12 years. Chris and Richard’s involvement culminated in a 59-day hunger strike in 1985 to protest the failure of the government to include sexual orientation as a  prohibited ground for discrimination in the Manitoba Human Rights Act.  

In 1974 they were married in the Unitarian Church of Winnipeg. They took the  provincial government to court when the Registrar of Vital Statistics refused to register their union. This was the first case in Canadian law to challenge the  exclusion of same-sex couples from civil marriage in Canada. They were  subsequently involved in the legal campaign for spousal benefits, which began  with a human rights complaint in 1982.  

Chris and Richard were involved in organizing gay pride celebrations, with speakers, films, and discussion panels at the Universities of Manitoba and Winnipeg in 1974 and 1975. They also helped organize the 2nd National Gay Conference, which was held in Winnipeg in 1974 and included the first gay march  in Winnipeg.  

In 1978, they helped establish the Council on Homosexuality and Religion and the weekly radio program “Gay Christian Forum,” later “Gaysweek,” on CJUM-FM.  This radio program ran from 1978 until 1980. Chris then hosted a weekly cable  television program “Coming Out,” from 1980 until 1994.  

In 1980, they helped found the Oscar Wilde Memorial Society, which operates Gio’s (originally called Giovanni’s Room after James Baldwin’s classic gay novel). Gio’s was originally part of the Winnipeg Gay Community Centre, and opened in 1982 on Sherbrook Street across from Happenings. 

Media contact:  Scott Carman, Director of Media & Communications Pride Winnipeg 
Phone: (204) 805-3553

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