Nova Scotia LGBT* Activism
The Nova Scotia Rainbow Action Project (NSRAP) was founded in 1995. Incorporated as a non-profit society on February 17, 2000, NSRAP has been working throughout Nova Scotia as a voice for the Rainbow Community. We believe in working collaboratively throughout the community and with government, business, institutions, and individuals to foster change. We have developed strong links with many government departments and non-governmental organizations, especially in the areas of education, human rights, policing, legal/political affairs, health care, faith & religion, and community development.
In the early 1980s, Radclyffe Hall, a small house on Macara Street in Halifax, held the office for Gayline, as well as the Gay Alliance for Equality (GAE) library. It was used for meetings of GAE and other gay-related organizations, for workshops, for alcohol-free social events, and one summer for a youth outreach project with two part-time employees. In 1985, Radclyffe Hall was sold to facilitate the purchase of a larger location for Rumours on Gottingen Street. In 1988 GAE was renamed the Gay and Lesbian Association of Nova Scotia (GALA). By 1994, its energies sapped by internal debates along with having to manage Rumours, GALA dissolved. The group’s publication, The Gaezette continued to publish under a new name, Wayves.
It was after the demise of GALA that NSRAP was formed.
Decades of Change
Many things changed in the years between the formation of Gayline (1972) and the founding of NSRAP (1995). Our community embraced its own diversity, identifying as the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Transgender, Two-Spirited, Intersex, Queer & Questioning Community (LGBTT2SIQQ*) or Rainbow Community. In 1988 Halifax celebrated its first Pride Week. In 1991 the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act was amended to include protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation. Throughout the 1980s and 90s, along with LGBT communities throughout the world, we faced the devastating impacts of HIV/AIDS. Despite terrible losses, Nova Scotia’s LGBT community continued to grow in strength and capacity, winning significant victories during those dark years – often in the face of strong political opposition.
In 2009, LGBT people around the world commemorated the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riot. It was a double anniversary for Canadians, as we also celebrated the 1969 decriminalization of homosexual acts by then Justice Minister, Pierre Elliott Trudeau. In 2009 Halifax Regional Council recognized Halifax Pride as one of the city’s Hallmark Events and Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter marched in Pride Parade.