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OUR DEMANDS - The updated Demands of the We Demand Redux


2. Removal of “gross indecency” and “buggery” as grounds for indictment as a “dangerous sexual offender” and for vagrancy

Repeal laws that endanger sex workers!

Sex work is not illegal in Canada or Ontario, but laws prevent sex  workers from working from home and assessing prospective clients.  In  theory this is supposed to prevent exploitation; in reality, it forces  sex workers to practice their livelihoods in unsafe conditions.  In Toronto, this has been illustrated by a string of attacks on sex  workers.  These laws leave them open to harassment and abuse,  discourage them from going to the police for help, and place them  outside of aspects of the social safety net such as the Canada Pension  Plan.   The way to prevent exploitation is not through shame and criminalization, but through the recognition of sex work as a legitimate profession, with all the attendant rights,  
responsibilities, and protections.

3. A uniform age of consent for all female and male homosexual and heterosexual acts.

A uniform age of consent for all female and male homosexual and heterosexual acts.

 The age of consent for vaginal sex is 16 years of age. It was 14 years until 2008 when the government voted to raise it.  However, the age of consent for anal sex is 18 years of age and has been so since homosexuality was decriminalized.
According to section 159, subsection (1) of the Criminal Code of Canada: “Every person who engages in an act of anal intercourse is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years or is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.”

Subsection 2 makes exceptions for “husband and wife” or “any two persons, each of whom is eighteen years of age or more, both of whom consent to the act.”  These lasw purport to protect youth from exploitation, but instead only serve to stigmatize and frame queer sex as something dangerous or different from the norm.

4. The Immigration Act be amended so as to omit all references to homosexuals and “homosexualism.”


End Homophobia and Heterosexism in the immigration system!

In 2007, Alvaro Orzoco’s claim for refugee status was denied as it was deemed that his appearance was “not gay enough”, despite the fact that many LGBT people face persecution and violence regardless of their appearance.  As a boy in Nicaragua, Orozco had been severely beaten and threatened with death by his father and was forced to escape the country in order to find safety.  More recently, this past May Orzoco was racially profiled by Toronto Police and re-arrested on immigration charges and faced imminent deportation.
The queer community stood up and put pressure on Immigration Minister Jason Kennedy and the Canadian government, and in the end Alvaro was granted his Humanitarian and Compassion Ground and was allowed to stay in our community.  However, many people still face deportation and other violence from the immigration system based on archaic ideas what what queer people “look like”.
Furthermore, the Canadian Immigration system continues to discriminate against people living with HIV and other persons with disabilities, considering their presence to be a “drain on resources”.  (1)
We need to send the message that all queer asylum seekers and persons with disabilities are welcome members of our communities and to challenge the homophobic, racist and anti-immigrant agenda of the Harper government.



9) All legal rights for homosexuals which currently exist for heterosexuals                                   (3) they are brought up under an education system which either through commission or ommission [sic] fosters both a narrow and prejudicial view of homosexuality;


Challenge homophobia and transphobia in the education system by allowing all schools to form Gay-Straight Alliances

In January of 2011 Halton District Catholic School Board banned
Gay-Straight Alliance clubs, saying they are contrary to the teachings
of the church. HCDSB Chair Alice Ann LeMay rationalizes the ban saying
“We don’t allow Nazi clubs either.”

Currently, Catholic schools allow “diversity clubs” instead of GSA’s. These clubs
focus simply on promoting inclusivity, but are not allowed to use the
word gay in any events, materials or names.  Catholic schools eventually say they will allow anti-bullying groups, but not Gay-Straight
Alliances. Students at St Joseph Catholic Secondary School in Mississauga started an unofficial Gay Straight Alliance club, and on June 3, the students
attempted to hold a fundraiser, but were told they could not because
rainbows were banned inside the school because they are “associated with the Gay Pride Parade.”

Despite much public outcry, The Catholic Schooling authorities refuse to allow
GSA’s, stating they are contrary to the teachings of the church and that diversity clubs are good enough.


9) All legal rights for homosexuals which currently exist for heterosexuals
    (7) Since sexuality is not covered under the Canadian Bill of Rights, homosexuals are excluded from protections which are guaranteed to other minority groups such as those of race, religion, or national origin.


Inclusion of ‘gender identity’ and ‘gender expression’ in the Canadian Human Rights Act and Criminal Code.

Bill C-389 is an Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code of Canada to include gender identity and gender expression. This Bill will acknowledge and protect transgender individuals by providing official protection against discrimination and unlawful treatment. It is important to pass this Bill as transgender Canadians are often treated unfairly, compromising their health and wellbeing. For example, 55% of trans people have an annual income of less than $20,000 with an additional 40% being unemployed. Approximately 43% of trans people have attempted suicide. Transphobia, on both an institutional and social level affects transgender individuals when they try to access health care, education, housing and employment. This treatment is unacceptable and we demand change!




Original flyers from the We Demand March in 1971 - Found at the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives.



For Immediate Release
June 20, 2011
The Art Gallery of York University (AGYU) Dreams BIG at Pride Toronto this year! AGYU and artist Matthew-Robin Nye team up with the Trans, Bi, Lesbian, Gay Alliance at York (TBLGAY), York Federation of Students (YFS), and the SexGen York Committee for the We Demand Redux with a booth at the Pride Street Fair on Saturday July 2nd to Sunday July 3rd and a specially designed float in the 31st annual Pride Parade on Sunday 3rd July 2011, starting at 2pm at Bloor and Church Street.
This year marks the 40-year anniversary of the ‘We Demand’ March in Canada. The march was comprised of about 150 men and women on a rainy day on Parliament Hill in Ottawa with placards stating ‘We Demand!’ with a list of ten required amendments to the Canadian constitution on items related to sexuality.

We Demand Redux is a series of actions, which bring attention to issues facing the Queer community today. Functioning as an education campaign, We Demand Redux honours the history of the Gay Rights and affiliated movements over its 40-year history in Canada. This open-ended campaign is an homage to the leaders of this community both present and past who have shaped one of the most progressive democracies in world history. We Demand Redux empowers the audience to create their own demands, give voice to their frustrations, and issues of interest during the Pride Parade.
The We Demand Redux demands your attention and participation! With a custom designed float and message campaign - visible through tshirts, placards, ballots, and the York University booth – the We Demand Redux looks at the past and forward to the future of Queer activism in Canada. Backing up the redux, DJ Produzentin and Mary Messhausen perform live, bouncing the truck with a heavy, house-pop remix.

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Original Demands

WE DEMAND (Source:
1. The removal of the nebulous terms “gross indecency” and “indecent act” from the Criminal Code and their replacement by a specific listing of offences, and the equalization of penalties for all remaining homosexual and heterosexual acts; and defining “in private” in the Criminal Code to mean “a condition of privacy.”

2. Removal of “gross indecency” and “buggery” as grounds for indictment as a “dangerous sexual offender” and for vagrancy

3. A uniform age of consent for all female and male homosexual and heterosexual acts.

4. The Immigration Act be amended so as to omit all references to homosexuals and “homosexualism.”

5. The right of equal employment and promotion at all government levels for homosexuals.

6. The Divorce Act be amended so as to omit sodomy and homosexual acts as grounds for divorce; moreover in divorce cases homosexuality, per se, should not preclude the equal right of child custody.

7. The right of homosexuals to serve in the Armed Forces, and therefore the removal of provisions for convicting service personnel of conduct and / or acts legal under the Criminal Code; further the rescinding of policy statements reflecting on the homosexual.

8. To know if it is a policy of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to identify homosexuals within any area of government service and then question them concerning their sexuality and the sexuality of others; and if this is the policy we demand its immediate cessation and destruction of all records so obtained.

9. All legal rights for homosexuals which currently exist for heterosexuals.

10. All public officials and law enforcement agents to employ the full force of their office to bring about changes in the negative attitudes and de facto expressions of discrimination and prejudice against homosexuals.