About 100 young Lesbians, Gay men and allies descend on Parliament to make public a brief called We Demand. At the same time, a larger group of some 150-200 people in Vancouver take to the courthouse steps to show support for the Ottawa event. These are the first-ever official Canadian Gay demonstrations.
A demand for recognition, made at the doors to Parliament by a coalition of Gay groups, was the first major statement by the Gay community as a community. A parallel demonstration was held in Vancouver at the same time.
A thirteen page brief with ten demands was prepared by Toronto Gay Action, co-ordinators and instigators of the demonstration. Among the speakers were Charlie Hill in a TGA guise, and George Hislop and Pat Murphy on behalf of CHAT.
The rally took place in a steady drizzle. TGA and CHAT had chartered a bus from Toronto to Ottawa. Another bus or two delivered people from other cities. On the Hill they huddled around the portico of the East Block, hesitant, waiting for the appointed hour, wondering if any onlookers or media would show up. It looked lonely, nobody to be seen but the demonstrators. Finally they raised banners and placards, and started up the hill to the Parliament Buildings. Once they showed signs of life the reporters and photographers began appearing out of nowhere. They had been waiting for the group to move and it became news across the country.
A proclamation to the country of Gay people’s presence as a community, was equally and importantly the announcement to other Gay people of our existence in Canada as a movement. On the anniversary of the legal changes it was declared that those changes would not do, that society itself would have to change, that we would in fact force it to change. Which they did. They got farther than most ever thought they would in those days, and of course not nearly far enough.