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Against the Mythologies of the 1969 Criminal Code Reform - Carleton University, March, 22-24, 2019

Wed, 2018-11-21 23:19 -- manager

Revised Call for Papers

Anti-69 is taking place on the unceded territories of the Algonquin nation.

In June 1969, amidst the rhetoric of the “Just Society,” the White Paper on the extinguishing of Indigenous sovereignty, and the early years of the initiation of state ‘multiculturalism,’ the Canadian government passed an omnibus Criminal Code reform bill. The Omnibus Bill is often celebrated based on the idea that it legalized or entirely decriminalized homosexuality, that Pierre Elliott Trudeau was trying to bring about equality for lesbians and gays, or that the reform established the right of women to access abortion and reproductive rights. None of these claims are true. To be sure, the legislation covered a wide range of changes including: reforms to the ‘homosexual’ offences of ‘gross indecency’ and ‘buggery’ that removed the criminal prohibition from acts committed in ‘private’ and involving only two people aged 21 and over; the decriminalization of limited access to abortion on ‘health’ grounds, if approved by a therapeutic abortion committee; and, in a related bill, the decriminalization of contraceptive information. However, after the reform, police charges against ‘homosexual’ sex increased, access to abortion and reproductive rights continued to be severely restricted, and barriers to accessing birth control continued.

2019 is the 50th anniversary of the Omnibus Bill and a series of public events and installations are being organized to celebrate it. We think it is crucial that space also be provided for critical voices.

Anti-69 is being organized to provide a forum for scholarly and activist work critical of the mythologies and limitations of the 1969 Criminal Code reform. Although focused on the Criminal Code, we intend to look at the reform—and the struggles around it—in its broader social, historical, colonial, classed, racialized, gendered and sexualized contexts.

Topics could include:

  • The Wolfenden report and the public/private, adult/youth strategy of sexual regulation/policing
  • Critical perspectives on Trudeau’s ‘Just Society’ project
  • The relation between the 69 reform and the White Paper on extinguishing Indigenous sovereignty
  • Birth control, abortion, and the 69 reform
  • Policing and sex workers
  • The impacts of the public/private strategy and the construction of the ‘public’ indecency of queer sex on the regulation of sexually explicit materials
  • Lesbian identity, lesbian liberation and/or the social and legal construction of lesbians and lesbianism
  • The treatment of queer people, gender nonconforming people, and sex workers in the prison system
  • The impacts of the 69 reform on Black, Indigenous and people of colour (BIPOC) 
  • The relation between criminal law reform efforts and shifts away from an explicitly White Canada immigration policy
  • The limitations of state multiculturalism and the 69 reform
  • The impact of the reforms in smaller urban centres and rural areas
  • The national security campaigns and the 69 reform 
  • Transnational discussions of the 69 reform
  • The construction of the 'private' responsible homosexual through the 69 reform
  • The impacts of the 69 reform on the gender binary and on trans people 
  • How the reform led to an escalation of sexual policing against gay sex in the 70s and 80s 
  • Early organizing efforts against the limitations of the 69 reform including the Abortion Caravan and the We Demand demonstration
  • The use of the free-standing abortion clinic strategy in challenging the limitations of the 69 reform
  • The use of the mythology of the 69 reform in the 2017 apology process
  • We are asking all people interested in presenting at the event to submit individual proposals of 150 words or proposals for panels, roundtables, and workshops of no more than 250 words. Please also attach a brief biography and send to by November 30, 2018. The venue is wheelchair accessible. Registration fees will be on a sliding scale, with no fee for low-income people.

    Organizing committee: Tom Hooper, Lara Karaian, Gary Kinsman, Suzanne Lenon, Cassandra Lord, Danielle Normandeau, Karen Pearlston

    Anti-69 is supported by the Faculty of Public Affairs at Carleton University. Feb. 24-Mar. 24, 2019 is FPA Research Month. See