Martin Boyce, a Stonewall Riot activist, visited the Vancouver School District as part of his Stonewall Across Canada speaking tour. At Britannia Secondary and Churchill Secondary, Boyce encouraged students to continue to take a stand against discrimination by being true to themselves.
“Carry on. You have the chance to truly envision history and reclaim our history,” Boyce told students.
Martin Boyce was a regular of the Stonewall Inn, and on June 28, 1969, he was a participant in the Stonewall Riots (also known as the Stonewall Uprising). The Stonewall Uprising began when police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club located in Greenwich Village, New York City. The raid sparked a riot among bar patrons and neighbourhood residents, leading to six days of protests and violent clashes with law enforcement. The uprising is widely considered to constitute the most important event leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBT rights in the United States.
A group of Britannia students as well as District resource teacher – diversity SOGI, Béene Savage, were presented Stonewall Awards for their work on 2SLGBTQ+ advocacy, education, representation, and celebration.
During Boyce’s visit to Vancouver, John Oliver students Lance Brandon Cabrigas and Daria Dueck sat down with him for an on-camera interview about his experience at Stonewall and the work he’s done for LGBT rights since then.
“Even as someone who knows a lot about gay history, it’s been really helpful and informative to learn from someone who was actually there. To hear about his sacrifices and his experiences, but [learn] how it has made him who he is, has changed the whole future for us youth,” said Dueck.
Cabrigas agreed. “I think this interview provides us with a safe space for discussion. This experience has been wonderful and I think we should have more of it,” he said.
At the age of 74, Boyce sees his ongoing advocacy work as a way to help set 2SLGBTQ+ youth up for a happy future, free from the struggles he had growing up. “They are our future. I want to help build their foundation for a life of psychological security. I don’t want them to be threatened or bullied,” said Boyce. “People helped me and I think I should really help others.”
Watch Lance and Daria’s interview with Martin Boyce: