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1995 – Safe Zone Initiatives of the mid-1990s, including the TDSB’s Triangle Program

January 27, 2010

I am including education initiatives of the 1990s under my list of the five most important cultural developments (or events) for numerous reasons. First, prominent LGBT scholar Miriam Smith heralds the TDSB’s initiatives as some of the more important local movements impacting LBGT rights and the public’s general perspective about the LGBT lifestyle. Prior to these initiatives, cultural manifestations of LGBT support groups in the form of posters and a modified, more diverse curriculum were virtually non-existent.

The Triangle Program is as much an example of cultural importance as much as it is social, because it is making visual the existence of LBGT youth, and takes into consideration a number of culturally significant rites of passage for teens—prom nights, for example (Sears 767). Culturally, then, the Triangle Program is essential because it brings together LBGT youth in a single, protective, educational setting. It has also had an impact on university campaigns that followed, including the Positive Space Campaign which began in 1998. These cultural campaigns are essential developments, because programs like TDSB’S Triangle and the University of Toronto’s Positive Space Campaign do their part as cultural manifestations and visual disseminations of this support, often in the forms of posters on public buildings.

The Positive Space campaign, along with other school campaigns in the 1990s, is essential to LGBT cultural history largely because of the posters it uses; these posters act as visual manifestations of acceptance. Imagine how school spaces would be perceived by LGBT youth if these posters were not posted on school walls.

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