Opening the doors to acceptance and understanding

Theland Kicknosway dances at the Day of Pink gala (Photo: Derek Hills Photography)

Expanding the narrative

Published Date: Sep 07, 2018

Photo: Theland Kicknosway dances at the Day of Pink gala (Photo: Derek Hills Photography)

Have you ever wondered what the colours on the rainbow flag mean or where they come from? How did Canadians legalize equal marriage, and how did we end up debating the inclusion of LGBTQ2+ identities in schools?

In 2021, the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity (CCGSD) will open its doors to a new space in Ottawa that will include North America’s first LGBTQ2+ museum. At 1,400 square metres (15,000 square feet), the space will be the first of its kind in the world – a holistic space where stories can be curated, history can be shared and memories can be made. The facility will be equipped with three museum galleries, a two-spirit healing art studio, a theatre, an educational space and an affordable community space (for meetings and community events). It will be a place where we can come together under one roof to celebrate our unique history and culture. For this new space, the CCGSD hopes to use the museum and exhibition space to enhance existing educational programming and further our mandate to address heterosexism, cissexism and transmisogyny. The other spaces will be used in partnership with other organizations.

As a queer and trans organization, the preservation, sharing and exhibition of LGBTQ2+ cultures is central to our work. For the last 14 years, we have presented in schools and communities from coast to coast to coast, sharing our history, heritage, stories and identities. By sharing who we are, we break down the barriers that create bullying, oppression and discrimination. This work happens in two ways. By connecting LGBTQ2+ folks to their history and community, we help build resiliency – a strong part of community. And, by working with cisgender and straight folks, we also help to build allyship (the role of being an ally) within the LGBTQ2+ communities.

Guests pose at the launch of the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity Museum (Photo courtesy of the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity)

The space is more than just a museum and educational facility. The new space will also include strong national components. Launching in October, the CCGSD will support schools, communities and businesses in building mini-museums that will offer new exhibitions every two or three months. Imagine mounting 13 frames with 12 images and an artist’s statement. We hope that, after launching the museum, each exhibition can continue to be documented and made available to be replicated in these mini-museums across Canada. This work will be paired with quality educational content and curriculum resources.

For more information about the CCGSD, visit our website at