Queer settler colonialism: Laura Hall, ‘Revisiting ’69 Celebrations and Challenging Settler Homonationalism in the (Un)Just Society’, Journal of Canadian Studies, 54, 2-3, 2020, pp. 228-244


Abstract: Narratives about queer Canada, or queering Canada, continue to normalize the nation-state and its settler-colonial roots. During the summer of 2019, the release of the Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls made it impossible to ignore settler colonialism in the Canadian context, and yet celebrations of 1969’s Criminal Codechanges attempted to frame the country as a safe haven for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer + (LGBTQ+) rights. This article will explore rhetoric surrounding Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau’s era including the Just Society, the criminal reforms of 1969, as well as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s moment as celebrations of the 1969 reforms unfurl. In particular, this article will look at the contrast in rhetoric between the Just Society and protests by Indigenous peoples for whom 1969 nearly ended with the passing of the white paper and subsequent extinguishment of Indigenous rights. Assimilation, and, therefore, disappearance, frames Indigenous experiences of the Just Society, while settler-colonial aspirations frame mainstream understandings of 1969’s LGBTQ+ Criminal Code reforms. At the same time, as Indigenous peoples reframe this moment, and as Canadians prepare to celebrate its meanings, a surging Far Right has announced itself across the country. In response to this problem and to the liberal problem of doublespeak and Just Society rhetoric, this article will centre the aspirations and voices of Indigenous women and Two-Spirit folks as temporal and spatial alter-Natives to the rise of homonationalism rooted in ongoing settler colonialism.

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