Writer and communications strategist who leverages personal narratives to promote social causes.
Ron Levy is a writer and communications strategist with 20 years experience promoting social causes. Throughout his career, he has leveraged personal narratives to provide unique insights into issues that support community well-being.
For the past two years, Ron has been researching and developing a first-of-its kind publication on Canadian LGBTQ+ history. It draws on two centuries of rare archival documents and visually rich artefacts, as well as dramatic accounts amassed from interviews he conducted with people who participated in this historic civil rights movement.
He looks forward to presenting fascinating, inspiring — and often little-known stories — about people who overcame fear and discrimination to take action and promote a culture of respect for diversity that benefits all Canadians.
This Sunday, the 88th annual Academy Awards will air. One film that will garner considerable attention at the ceremonies will be Carol, which earned an impressive six Oscar nominations in categories that include Best Adapted Screenplay. The movie is an adaptation of The Price of Salt, a 1952 romance novel by Patricia Highsmith, which was written at a time where lesbian fiction could be deemed obscene and seized by the authorities if the women were not portrayed as misguided, making choices that led to a bad end.
I am often reminded of Martin Luther King, who uniquely demonstrated that eloquence trumps bigotry, when researching Canada's earliest LGBT activists. They, like King, were at the forefront of a dramatic civil rights movement, making powerful and persuasive arguments for social justice in the face of sometimes brutal suppression.
Prior to the 1970s, house parties were an essential element of the homosexual social scene. Photographs of these private affairs are rare. The few that are available in archival collections memorialize a history of forced seclusion. One of the most tantalizing photographs I've come across in my research of Canadian LGBT history is of a trio of men attending a Christmas party in 1956. Standing in front of a decorated tree, a young man with a then-stylish pompadour delights in opening his gift while another man, who has his arm around him and another gentleman, looks on.
December 10 is celebrated internationally as Human Rights Day. It is therefore an ideal time to reflect on how Canada's LGBT were once so feared and loathed that -- until surprisingly recently -- discriminating against them was both common and legal.
Every November 11, we honour those who risked or lost their lives defending their country. Rarely acknowledged in these annual commemorations are those who served honourably but were nevertheless dishonoured because of their sexuality.
Throughout most of history, homosexuality or lesbianism was so taboo that it was kept well hidden from public view. No wonder such forms of carnal or romantic pleasure were referred to as "the love that dare not speak its name." In reality, however, society was anything but mute on the topic.
A minority is defined as dangerous by a segment of society that clings to traditional views of acceptability. They fail to recognize prejudices inherent in their views until a hard-won fight for equal rights and shifting zeitgeist forces them to move on, foisting their fears on the next marginalized group.
Consider the butterfly effect. Wings flap and set off a hurricane. Canada's most dramatic civil rights movement was set in motion by one man who quietly and privately pursued his carnal pleasures. His libido ignited a chain of events that continue to profoundly shape and redefine sexual, gender and cultural identities today. The butterfly in question was a mechanic named George Klippert.