“This monument will invite Canadians to reflect on this shameful time in our history and allow us to move forward together toward a future where all Canadians are respected for who they are.” #NOH8.
The C$8million memorial will remember a ‘cruel and unjust’ witch hunt of thousands of LGBT+ Canadians.
Todd Ross was one of the victims of the purge. He was serving in the Canadian Navy on the HMCS Saskatchewan in 1989. When they suspected his sexuality, they interrogated him and gave him six polygraph tests over 18 months.
Eventually he admitted he was gay. As a result, they forced the 21-year-old seaman out of his job. He returned to his home in New Brunswick ‘emotionally distraught’ and even attempted suicide.
He told the Washington Post he hopes the memorial will be a timeless commemoration. But he also notes the LGBT+ community has further to go in Canada and wants it to be ‘a celebration and almost a call to action’.
In the paranoid Cold War era, homophobic officials convinced themselves that the Soviet Union could entrap and blackmail gay men and women. In fact, there’s no evidence any foreign government ever managed to blackmail an LGBT+ Canadian into giving up government secrets.