New exhibit aims to make the history of Windsor's LGBTQ community visible

·2 min read
Walter Cassidy created the new temporary exhibit. (Jason Viau/CBC - image credit)
Walter Cassidy created the new temporary exhibit. (Jason Viau/CBC - image credit)

The organizers of a new exhibit on the history of Windsor-Essex's LGBTQ community hope it will educate the public and encourage community members to continue to reclaim their past.

The temporary exhibit, Out of the Shadows, On to the Streets: 180 Years of 2SLGBTQIA+ Visibility in Windsor-Essex, opened Tuesday at the Chimczuk Museum, which is located on the first floor of Art Windsor-Essex.

Exhibit creator Walter Cassidy partnered with local artist Rachel Pieters to put together a timeline that highlights important milestones in the community, dating back to 1971.

"I very much believe that this is our history and queer and [transgender] kids should see themselves in schools and unfortunately there isn't anything that was created before, so this is a starting point to help change that, and also I think Windsor should be really proud of its history," Cassidy said.

"We have some actual national firsts that are not really talked about."

WATCH: Cassidy explains parts of the exhibit

Some of those firsts, Cassidy said, include a couple who were part of a group that fought for the right to get married.

A man in Windsor was the first person in Canada reported to have died of AIDS.

Cassidy said Pieters' designed artwork around certain events that don't have a lot of physical documentation.

Jason Viau/CBC
Jason Viau/CBC

Despite how many milestones the timeline covers, Cassidy said there's still a lot missing and voices he still hopes to hear from, including people from the Indigenous two-spirit community and people who are LGBTQ from the Black community.

"A lot of times things were thrown out, most of our buildings, our hangouts were destroyed by the city and we're trying to reclaim a lot of our history one piece at a time and this hopefully will be a method to change that," he said.

Cassidy added that his hope is the timeline will continue to evolve as more people contribute to it.

The exhibit runs until Sept. 4.

Jason Viau/CBC
Jason Viau/CBC
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